A needs assessment for a master’s program in dental public health in Jeddah Saudi Arabia
Dania E Al Agili
Department of Preventive Dental Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Objectives: The Faculty of Dentistry at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is planning a master’s program in dental public health (DPH) to address the lack of adequate DPH professionals in the country. A needs assessment survey or situational analysis is typically recommended as the foundation of any curriculum development process. We conducted this survey to understand the level of DPH expertise existing in the country, to identify needs and gaps, and to explore perceptions in the area of DPH.
Methods: A DPH competency based survey was emailed to all onsite Saudi faculty members, all DPH practitioners in Jeddah city, and a random sample of dental interns (n = 122). The questionnaire collected information about participants’ demographics, knowledge of DPH, preferred method for gaining knowledge about DPH, perceptions about a new master’s program in DPH, preferred teaching and delivery methods, prerequisite education, and self-assessment of participants’ own DPH competency levels. Descriptive statistics, chi-square or Fisher’s exact statistics, and proportional odds ratios were calculated to analyze data.
Results: There was a total of 105 respondents (86.1%). About 98% had some knowledge of DPH. The most preferred method to gain knowledge on DPH was seminar series (47.6%). The most preferred methods for teaching instruction were using a “list of discussion topics” and “providing examples,” and the most preferred method for delivery of coursework was “face-to-face classroom activities with online readings and assignments.” The most preferred prerequisite education was having a bachelor’s degree in dentistry. Most participants considered themselves as having moderate experience and basic range of knowledge of DPH practices and competencies.
Conclusion: The survey has helped assess the participants’ views on the need for a graduate program in DPH. It is a preliminary step in designing a well-structured program, which will address the needs and gaps in oral public health in the country and inform the development of course content.
Keywords: needs assessment, situational analysis, education, dental public health
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