Interprofessional Education and Collaboration as an Approach to Overcoming Perceived Barriers in Improving Oral Health
Lorinda Coan, RDH, MS/Amanda R. Reddington, LDH, BS MHA, CDA
The primary objective of this article was to systematically review the literature in order to document the oral-systemic links in health issues and the resulting importance of oral health to overall health, as well as to demonstrate the need for oral health education in all health professions due to the significance of these identified systemic links. The history of interprofessional education (IPE) and successful examples of collaboration between medical/allied medical and dental/allied dental programs is presented; specifically, instances in which emerging professionals learn together about the significance of oral-systemic links and about oral health as an important consideration in achieving overall national and global health objectives. Of special interest were examples of interprofessional experiences designed, where possible, to include direct patient contact. Searches were performed using electronic databases of the National Library of Medicine and Medline/PubMed using keywords and MeSH terms with a variety of related terms associated with oral-systemic links (“diabetes,” “cardiovascular disease preterm low birth rate,” and “ventilator-associated pneumonia”). The terms “interprofessional education,” “IPE,” “interprofessional collaboration,” “IPCP,” and “medical dental collaborations” were also searched. Furthermore, general websites and internet resources were explored for disseminated posters or presentations that shared individual program accomplishments implementing IPE initiatives. Results were limited to English language, but year of publication was not limited in order to provide a more robust background on the topic of interest. Bibliographies of relevant manuscripts and review articles with similar objectives that were published from 2000 to 2016 were also used. Evidence related to oral-systemic links and results that would contribute to the understanding of interprofessional collaboration occurring in educational settings, as well as practice between emerging and working professionals dedicated to meeting global and national health care initiatives associated with oral health, were actively retrieved. The search yielded 97 usable sources.