The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine has received the Outstanding Innovation Award by an Academic Dental Institution as a part of the 2013 William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation, and Achievement (Gies Awards). Only one dental school is selected per year for this honor.
The CU School of Dental Medicine was recognized for the development of an innovative interprofessional (IPE) curriculum that prepares graduates for future team-based practice, and provides a model for other dental institutions embracing IPE.
“The William J. Gies Awards are truly a high honor in the field of dental education,” says Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H., President of the ADEAGies Foundation and Executive Director of ADEA. “By shining a light on the extraordinary work of dental educators, academic institutions, and our partners—the best and the brightest in academic dentistry—the ADEAGies Foundation recognizes those who blaze a path for a new generation of leaders in dental education.”
“As the dental dean on the Anschutz Medical Campus, I have been privileged to witness the ‘creation, evolution and application of contemporary ideas’ about interprofessional education develop into a comprehensive interprofessional education program designed to prepare our students to practice collaboratively and improve patient safety and health outcomes,” said Dean Denise Kassebaum, DDS, MS. “I sincerely appreciate the efforts of Dr. Mark Earnest and his IPE leadership team, along with the IPE Faculty Advisory Committee’s efforts to create unique IPE experiences that the dental students can participate with the other campus schools.”
The School of Dental Medicine partners with the CU Schools of Medicine (Medicine, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant programs), Pharmacy and Nursing to bring the IPE curriculum to life. The University of Colorado program is unique because it is the first interprofessional team training program of this type that has been designed to incorporate dental students and dental faculty into all aspects of the program. The first case that all students consider together is a dental case.
“The CU Anschutz Medical Campus was intentionally designed to foster interprofessional collaboration, but it has been the efforts of dedicated faculty champions and students who have been willing to put in the effort to develop the unique programs that we have today,” said Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Richard Krugman. “This award identifies the CU School of Dental Medicine as a model for dental schools and other health professional schools throughout the country.”
There are two distinct program elements of the School of Dental Medicine’s IPE activities. First, the dental students participate in the Anschutz Medical Campus interprofessional education program through REACH (Realizing Educational Advancement for Collaborative Health). The program’s curricular threads focus on team dynamics and communication in both preclinical training and clinical practice are shared across all AMC health schools, and begin the first day that the 700 students come to campus, and continue until graduation. REACH has been mandatory for all incoming health professions students on the AMC beginning in the Fall 2011 semester.
Secondarily, the School of Dental Medicine’s Frontier Center Project, funded by Delta Dental of Colorado’s Foundation, focuses on collaborative education and practice around oral health and preventive practices in primary care. Dental students learn more about diagnostic tests for chronic diseases from Dr. Mark Deutchman and other MD faculty and students, while medical and physician assistant students receive training from dental students and faculty about how to perform an oral exam and recognize oral disease.
The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine is a comprehensive, research-intensive dental school that increases access to innovative education programs, life-improving research and excellent clinical care programs that enhance oral and systemic health. Founded in 1973, the school is home to a DDS program, an international student dental program (ISP), a general practice residency program, an orthodontics residency program, a graduate periodontics residency program and an affiliated pediatric dentistry residency program (located at Children’s Hospital Colorado).