Students trained in community-based settings, rather than solely dental school clinics, are exposed to the challenges and rewards of treating underserved populations. In order to deliver cross-cultural care, students need special preparation in cultural awareness, communication skills, and the social and behavioral sciences.
Dental students need to understand the economic, educational, social and cultural backgrounds of patients who may be working poor, unemployed, elderly, disabled, immigrants or incarcerated. They must develop communications skills based on empathy, curiosity, intellectual flexibility, highlighted awareness, and willingness to respect, listen and learn from the patient.
To develop these skills, University of North Carolina uses simulated patients and videotapes student interactions for analysis by students and instructors. Students are encouraged to be mindful of their experiences and reflect on issues, feelings and their own reactions to patients whose backgrounds may be very different than their own. They write short reports about their most moving encounters during a week, and longer first-person narratives about their community experience. They also create photographic scrapbooks and attend post-rotational seminars.
In this article appearing in a special issue of the Journal of Dental Education, the authors indicates that as a result of the Dental Pipeline program, the average amount of time dental students spent in community rotation increased from 40 days to 59 days. Students reported increased confidence and interest in treating underserved patients.
- 1. Foreword to Special Supplement of Journal of Dental Education
- 2. Organization and Management of Community-Based Dental Education Programs
- 3. Infrastructure for a Community-Based Dental Education Program
- 4. Management of Experiences in Community-Based Dental Education
- 5. Financial Impact of Community-Based Dental Education
- 6. The Impact of Community-Based Dental Education on Students
- 7. The Experiences of Community Dental Clinic Directors with Dental Students and Dental School Collaborations
- 8. Reflections on the Dental Pipeline Program's Efforts Regarding Community-Based Dental Education
- 9. Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Recruitment and Enrollment Programs
- 10. Components of Effective Outreach and Recruitment Programs for Underrepresented Minority and Low-Income Dental Students
- 11. Effective Admissions Practices to Achieve Greater Student Diversity in Dental Schools
- 12. The Role of the Dental School Environment in Promoting Greater Student Diversity
- 13. The Role of Enrichment Programs in Strengthening the Academic Pipeline to Dental Education
- 14. Reflections on the Dental Pipeline Program's Efforts Regarding Underrepresented Minority Dental Students