BACKGROUND: Pediatric oral health has traditionally been solely the focus of dental professionals with an emphasis on surgical dental care instead of preventive care in addressing Early Childhood Caries (ECC). However, pediatric oral health is not solely a dental concern but rather an element of overall well-being and must be addressed by other health professionals such as pediatricians and nurses. There has been a recent shift toward preventive services in addressing ECC. Pediatric providers are in a unique position to deliver preventive dental care during well child checks, though often lack the knowledge and education act as a barrier. Interprofessional education (IPE) programs can fill this gap and offer further professional development based on Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice from the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC).
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to examine current methods of evaluation among IPE programs in order to improve the IPE component of pediatric dentistry curricula.
METHODS: A review of literature was completed focusing on “interprofessional education in dentistry.” The inclusion criteria required that IPE programs included in the final study: (1) satisfied the World Health organization’s definition of IPE, (2) included students in the field of dentistry, and (3) have some form of evaluation.
RESULTS: Of the 40 IPE programs evaluated, four domains of program evaluation were identified: (1) Barriers to IPE, (2) Attitudes and Perceptions, (3) Skill Development, and (4) Interprofessional Collaboration. Among the 40 IPE programs, 5% evaluated Barriers to IPE, 68% evaluated Attitudes and Perceptions, 30% evaluated Skill Development, and 30% Interprofessional Collaboration.
CONCLUSION: The evaluation of IPE programs, both new and existing, is essential in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of pediatric dentistry curricula. The four domains of program evaluation identified in this study should be utilized to evaluate IPE programs.