Implementation of STFM's "Smiles for Life" oral health curriculum in a medical school interclerkship

Fam Med. Jul-Aug 2009;41(7):487-91.


Background and objectives: While oral health is an important topic for medical education, it is often not covered in medical school. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has recently set guidelines for oral health training in medical education. Our objective was to demonstrate how a mandatory interclerkship (half-day workshops taught between third-year clerkships) that covers pediatric, urgent care, examination skills, and prevention topics in oral health can lead to an increase in knowledge for medical students.

Methods: Teaching methods included the use of interactive lectures, an audience response system, and small-group workshops taught by medical and dental educators. The curriculum was based on the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Smiles for Life National Oral Health Curriculum. Students were given pretests and posttests, including a 6-month follow-up test.

Results: Students showed a significant improvement in knowledge between pretesting and immediate posttesting across a range of topics. Long-term knowledge retention was more limited. The majority of students reported enthusiasm for this topic and found the materials essential for their training.

Conclusions: A brief interclerkship can improve medical students' oral health knowledge and be engaging. More research is needed to evaluate means to sustaining the knowledge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Family Practice / methods
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Oral Health*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Students, Medical