Case for Change in Dental Education Curricula

The American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI) was created to serve as a focal meeting place where dental educators and administrators, organized dentistry, and the licensure, accreditation, and examining communities could meet and coordinate efforts to improve dental education and the nation’s oral health.

An objective of this commission is to guide dental schools by discussing systemic efforts to foster change and innovation in dental education. As a facilitator of change, ADEA CCI is committed to providing leadership and oversight for a collaborative and continuous process of innovative change in the education of general dentists so that they enter the profession competent to meet the oral health needs of the public and to function as important members of an efficient and effective health care team. To that end, the Commission created two landmark articles published in the Journal of Dental Education, which is published by ADEA

The two articles, “The Case for Change in Dental Education” and “Educational Strategies Associated with Development of Problem-Solving, Critical Thinking, and Self-Directed Learning” address the rationale for change while examining a number of mounting issues, including the high cost of education, the need to promote the provision of oral health care to all Americans, and current students dissatisfaction with the state of dental education.

Answering these questions begins with determining best practices for helping dental students acquire skills necessary for their careers in dentistry, and ultimately become experts through lifelong learning. These papers offer ADEA CCI’s first recommendations on benchmarks that faculty and academic planners can use to assess the degree to which their curricula include learning experiences associated with attaining mastery of the dental profession for future graduates. “Scientific advances driving the delivery of health care are taking place at lightning speed. We can no longer afford to base our education programs on the memorization of present day facts. Programs developing tomorrow’s health care providers must concentrate on the creation of lifelong learners capable of providing evidence-based care that meets the need of society,” said Dr. Kenneth L. Kalkwarf, ADEA President and ADEA CCI Chair.

ADEA CCI’s activities are based on four guiding assumptions:

Assumption 1: Diversity of dental school curricula is a strength of dental education;

Assumption 2: Dental education has been and must remain firmly rooted in scientific discovery;

Assumption 3: Dental education must change in significant ways to develop students into lifelong learners;

Assumption 4: Achieving meaningful change and innovation in dental school curricula is a systemic process.

The Commission consists of representatives from ADEA, dental schools, the ADA Board of Trustees, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure, the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations, the dental licensure community, the ADA Foundation, and allied and advanced dental education programs.

SOURCE: AScribe Newswire

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