A Closer Look at a Major Public Health Problem

Mar 21, 2018

UW health sciences students discuss how to address
the complex causes of pediatric dental caries.

The Foundations of Interprofessional Practice Series held the “Interprofessional Partnerships to Promote Population Health” event on February 28, 2018. More than 400 health sciences students and 65 interprofessional facilitators participated. This is the second of three Foundations of Interprofessional Practice Series events planned for this academic year.

The “Interprofessional Partnerships to Promote Population Health” session focused on multiple levels of intervention for pediatric dental caries. Pediatric caries is the primary chronic preventable childhood disease. Although it is a major public health problem, this disease is often overlooked by those outside of the dental professions. It is a complex, multifactorial condition with many health disparities linkages.

To start the session, students reviewed a pediatric dental caries case after which students discussed their professional roles is in caring for a similar patient or in preventing similar cases in the future. Students had the opportunity to share their prior experiences in public health, advocacy and policy. After the case discussion, teams transitioned to a series of activities aimed at identifying the root causes of pediatric dental caries in general, potential upstream interventions that affect the multi-level causes of pediatric caries, and expansion of health care teams to include those who can implement such interventions.

“This interprofessional education session brought concepts and approaches to the forefront that aren’t often taught in pharmacy,” said facilitator Jennifer Danielson, PharmD, MBA, Director of Introductory Practice Experiential Education and Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy. “I know the pharmacy students gained a new perspective on public and community health efforts and how they impact overall health. They had the opportunity to put their heads together with their colleagues in a new way today. We all learned together how to impact health upstream rather than reacting to care for patients who are already sick.”

The Foundations of Interprofessional Practice Series is funded by the University of Washington Board of Health Sciences Deans and coordinated by the Center for Health Sciences Interprofessional Education, Research and Practice. This series provides students with hands-on, interactive learning opportunities that meet IPE accreditation standards for medical, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant, and social work programs at the UW. The next Foundations of Interprofessional Practice Series event, “Interprofessional Error Disclosure,” is on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 from 3:30–5:20 PM.

For more information about pediatric dental caries visit the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research Dental Caries web page at https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/dental-caries

For more information about the Foundations of Interprofessional Practice Series, contact chsie@uw.edu.

To learn about the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice required to meet medical, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant and social work accreditation standards at the UW, go to https://www.ipecollaborative.org/resources.html.