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J Dent Educ. 2010 Dec;74(12):1319-26.

Dental professionals' knowledge and perceived need for education in bioterrorism preparedness.

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Department of Health Policy Services and Research, Division of Dental Public Health, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston University, USA.


Dental professionals should be well prepared to provide care during bioterrorist events. In this study, we assessed the knowledge, opinions about playing various roles during a bioterrorist event, and perceived need for education of dental professionals (dentists and dental hygienists) from one region (Oregon) that had been exposed to bioterrorism and from another region (New England) not exposed. This cross-sectional study used an eighteen-item pretested, self-administered questionnaire distributed at the 2005 Oregon Dental Conference (n=156) and 2005 Yankee Dental Conference (n=297). Dental professionals' knowledge and perceived need for education on bioterrorist preparedness were quantified by multivariate linear and logistic modeling. More than 90 percent of the dental professionals were willing to provide care during bioterrorist events. Perceived knowledge was high; however, actual knowledge was low. Dental professionals who wanted to attend a continuing education course and who thought dental professionals should play more roles during a bioterrorist attack had higher actual knowledge. Willingness to provide care was not supported by adequate knowledge. No significant differences between New England and Oregon dental professionals were observed in terms of actual knowledge or perceived need for bioterrorism education. Integrating training and education into the predoctoral dental and dental hygiene curricula and developing continuing education courses would improve knowledge and better prepare dental professionals to effectively perform American Dental Association-recommended roles during any future bioterrorism events.

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