Undergraduate geriatric education through community service learning

Gerodontology. 2012 Jun;29(2):e1222-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2010.00444.x. Epub 2011 Jan 16.


Introduction: Despite the exponential growth of the elderly population worldwide, geriatric education has been a formal component of only a few dental schools' curricula.

Objective: To describe the geriatric community service learning (CSL) component of the professionalism and community service (PACS) module, and to explore a CSL project carried out by a group of first year dental students at a long-term care facility.

Methods: A literature review was performed to present and describe the CSL component of the PACS module. Students' personal reflections were used to illustrate some of the joys and challenges of experiencing a long-term care facility environment.

Results: The newly developed PACS module combines community service learning with the long-term care experience. Students develop, apply and evaluate an educational health promotion activity in a long-term care facility.

Conclusions: The PACS module has encouraged students to acquire comprehensive knowledge and awareness of the needs and dynamics of a long-term care as they collaboratively interacted with personnel from the facility to develop their projects. The authors would like to engage other schools in discussing the need to integrate community-based geriatric education into their dental curricula.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • British Columbia
  • Community Dentistry / education*
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Dental*
  • Geriatric Dentistry / education*
  • Health Education, Dental
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Needs Assessment
  • Oral Hygiene / education
  • Planning Techniques
  • Preceptorship*
  • Problem Solving
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation