June 2016

Volume 33, Issue 2

Overcoming structural inequalities in oral health: the role of dental curricula

Authors: L.A. Foster Page V. Chen B. Gibson J. McMillan
doi: 10.1922/CDH_3719Foster05

Abstract

Overcoming structural inequalities in oral health: the role of dental curricula L.A. Foster Page, V. Chen, B. Gibson and J. McMillan1 Abstract: To date the role of health professional schools in addressing oral health inequalities have been minimal, as attempts have focused principally upon systemic reform and broader societal obligations. Professionalism is a broad competency that is taught throughout dental schools and encompasses a range of attributes. Professionalism as a competency draws some debate and appears to be a shifting phenomenon. We may ask if professionalism in the dental curricula may be better addressed by social accountability? Social accountability directs oral health professional curricula (education, research, and service activities) towards addressing the priority health concerns of the community, in our case oral health inequalities. Although working toward dental schools becoming more socially accountable seems like a sensible way to address oral health inequalities, it might have limitations. We will consider some of the challenges in the dental curricula by considering some of the political, structural, social and ethical factors that influence our institutions and our graduates. Key words: social accountability, oral health inequalities, dental curricula, professionalism, ethics

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