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J Allied Health. 2011 Spring;40(1):19-24.

Integration of an oral health curriculum into a physician assistant program.

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Department of Dental Hygiene, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0043, USA.



The purpose of the study was twofold: to evaluate the implementation of an oral health curriculum to physician assistant (PA) students through interdisciplinary education with dental hygiene faculty; and identify which parts were most important in changing the PA students' knowledge regarding oral health.


Didactic and laboratory sections were offered. Data collected were from a pre/post-test of 24 items answered on a 5-point Likert scale, reflecting an attitudinal measure of students' (n = 43) ability to apply and understand the oral health curriculum. Chi-squared analyses determined if a relationship existed between answers on the same instrument before and after instruction.


Students perceived they improved their level of understanding on all topics. Data were organized from the largest change in perceived competency (≥ 70%) from pre to post-test (8 items), moderately changed (60-69%) (6 items), and least changed (35-59%) (10 items). The items with the largest change included monitor impact of medications on oral tissues, recognize caries and oral lesions that require referral, and recognize signs/symptoms of gingivitis and periodontal disease.


The curriculum enhanced the perceived oral health competency of these PA students and their ability to recognize oral signs/symptoms that may impact a patient's general health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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