Comparing fourth-year dental student productivity and experiences in a dental school with community-based clinical education

J Dent Educ. 2007 Aug;71(8):1020-6.


Reports and articles by the Institute of Medicine, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (CCI), and the Macy Foundation have examined the challenges confronting dental education and reached the conclusion that U.S. dental education is on the brink of major change. A recent "case for change" article by the CCI makes the argument that dental education, as currently structured, is quickly becoming obsolete, overpriced, and lacking in its ability to provide the education that future practitioners will need. The Ohio State University College of Dentistry (OSUCOD) began a major reorganization of its clinical education program upon receipt of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored Pipeline, Profession, and Practice grant. In our fourth year of the five-year grant program, known as the OHIO Project (Oral Health Improvement through Outreach), our fourth-year dental students approached the sixty-day target of time spent in community-based clinical education. The purpose of this report is to describe the productivity of students and the characteristics of the patient pool they care for in community-based sites as compared to our school-based clinics during that final year. This report reflects the activity of 102 students in the graduating class of 2006. Attendance (clinic utilization) was estimated to be 94 percent at OSUCOD and 99 percent at OHIO Project sites. In the aggregate, the OHIO Project-based students treated a total of 11,808 unique patients and completed 26,882 procedures in the community during their 41.9-day community experience. This translates into 116 unduplicated patients and 264 procedures per student in the community-based sites for the period studied. In comparison, the same students treated 19,344 unique patients and completed 28,680 procedures during ninety-three clinic days at the school. Each student treated 190 patients and completed 281 procedures. Fourth-year dental students completed as many procedures and generated similar revenue-equivalents in community sites as they did in a dental school clinic in half the time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Community Dentistry / education*
  • Dental Clinics*
  • Education, Dental / methods*
  • Education, Dental / standards
  • Educational Measurement
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Models, Educational
  • Ohio
  • Preceptorship*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students, Dental / psychology*