JDE outlines best practices for oral health policy programs

A new article in the Journal of Dental Education examines a replicable program model for student involvement in oral healthcare advocacy to offer best practices for future implementation at other institutions (December 2012, Vol. 76:12, pp. 1572-1519).

It describes the planning, sequential improvements, and outcomes of the Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) Annual Oral Health Policy Forum, a one-day program introducing students to the health policy process.

Instituted in 2005 in conjunction with the Indiana Dental Association and Children's Dental Health Project (CDHP), IUSD's one-day forum invites fourth-year dental students to prepare and present arguments on oral health policy scenarios before a legislator. In the afternoon, students tour the Indiana State House, observe deliberations, and meet with lawmakers.

As reported in the journal article, nearly half of participating students expressed an increased interest in becoming involved with the political process as a result of the forum. Among other data, the case study provides best practices for program implementation.

The article notes the effectiveness of universities cooperating with dental associations to plan a forum that will foster a well-rounded future workforce. Additionally, engaging university faculty and administrators and providing incentives for student participants drove greater attendance.

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