OBJECTIVE: The curriculum for graduating dental and dental hygiene students must prepare them to contribute to the improvement or maintenance of health for individual patient’s and the public’s health. The objective is to describe the background for and the process used to develop a core Dental Public Health Curriculum for such students.
METHODS: The process used was to solicit and review existing dental public health curriculum in dental and dental hygiene schools; review curriculum for other health professionals; identify the themes needed to frame the curriculum; select usable materials and identify gaps in existing curricular materials; and develop appropriate curriculum materials that would embody the competencies developed for undergraduate dental and dental hygiene education.
RESULTS: Twenty-three topics were identified as embodying the eight competencies. Based on these topics, six courses, Principles of Dental Public Health, Evidence-Based Dentistry, Ethics and Dental Public Health, Dental Public Health Policy and Advocacy, Oral Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and Oral Health Literacy and Dental Public Health, were prepared. Each course includes syllabus, PowerPoint presentations, student assignments and activities, instructor guide, and classroom discussion points. Depending on the hours available in the existing curriculum at the dental or hygiene school, lecture presentations and take home assignments/discussions may be used independently or in combination with presentations from other courses. In addition, individual discussions and activities may be used to integrate dental public health materials into other courses.
CONCLUSION: A flexible curriculum is available at the AAPHD website to enable the incorporation of DPH topics into the curriculum.