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J Dent Hyg. 2018 Apr;92(2):50-56.

Treatment of a Culturally Diverse Refugee Population: Dental hygiene students' perceptions and experiences.


Purpose: Dental hygiene professionals need to be prepared as part of their entry level education process, to treat the wide range of culturally diverse patients they may encounter in the United States. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of a cohort of senior dental hygiene students in regards to their preparedness to treat a culturally diverse patient.Methods: A purposeful sample of second year dental hygiene students (n=18) participated in semi-structured group interviews before and after the treatment of a culturally diverse patient. Data was gathered and analyzed using a thematic analysis. Demographics were enumerated using frequency percentiles, means, and summary statistics.Results: Prior to the dental hygiene care appointment, the participants reported feeling confident and prepared to treat culturally diverse patients. Following the dental hygiene care appointment, participants reported feeling that more education and an increased number of clinical experiences were needed with culturally diverse patients.Conclusion: Exposing dental hygiene students to diverse patients in a clinical setting as part of the curriculum was an effective method towards building cultural preparedness.


cultural competency; cultural diversity; curriculum; dental hygiene education; health disparities

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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