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Interprofessional education: the inclusion of dental hygiene in health care within the United States – a call to action

Authors Vanderbilt AV, Isringhausen KT, Bonwell PB

Received 23 July 2013

Accepted for publication 11 August 2013

Published 30 October 2013 Volume 2013:4 Pages 227—229

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S51962

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Allison A Vanderbilt,1 Kim T Isringhausen,2 Patricia Brown Bonwell2,3

1Center on Health Disparities and School of Medicine, 2Department of Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach, School of Dentistry, 3Dental Hygiene Program, School of Dentistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Abstract: There is a lack of access to oral health care in the United States for rural, underserved, uninsured, and low-income populations. There are widely recognized problems with the US health care system, including rapidly increasing costs and access to oral health. During the last decade, there has been a huge influx and push toward interprofessional education programs; however, these programs conveniently leave out dental hygiene. Interprofessional education can bring forth the collaboration, communication, and teamwork necessary to provide a comprehensive health care plan to treat oral health care needs in patients. As the advanced practice for dental hygiene emerges, it is imperative that the educational qualifications of dental hygienists are sufficient to enable them to safely provide the scope of services and care encompassed in these new expanded roles and to effectively participate as an interprofessional team member.

Keywords: interprofessional education, dental hygiene programs, dental hygiene education, oral health education

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