Oral Health for Older Adults: An Interprofessional Workshop for Medical Students

Publication ID Published Volume
10572 April 19, 2017 13

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Introduction: Because many older adults lack dental insurance and have limited or no access to dental care, it is essential to train future physicians to conduct brief oral health assessments on them. Likewise, interprofessional educational experiences are crucial in teaching medical students the skills necessary to provide comprehensive, team-based care to complex and vulnerable populations. Thus, this workshop was designed to increase fourth-year medical students’ knowledge and confidence in performing oral health examinations on older adult patients using an interprofessional and hands-on approach. Methods: The curriculum includes an online presession self-study module followed by a 75-minute workshop. The workshop is comprised of a brief introduction (5 minutes), a lecture about the impact of oral health on older adults (30 minutes), a hands-on skill session practicing a focused oral exam led by dental students (30 minutes), and a large-group debrief and wrap-up (10 minutes). Results: A pre-/postsurvey assessed learners’ knowledge, attitudes, and confidence in oral health skills. The results were compared to a lecture-only format that was in place prior to the implementation of the workshop. In comparison to medical students who received the lecture-only format, those who participated in the workshop showed a greater increase in confidence and skills over time. The medical students also expressed interest in more frequent opportunities for collaborative learning experiences with dental students. Discussion: This workshop was successful in introducing an interprofessional experience to medical students in order to ensure more comprehensive and coordinated care for older adult patients in the future.


Kaufman LB, Soto A, Gascon L, et al. Oral health for older adults: an interprofessional workshop for medical students. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2017;13:10572. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10572

Educational Objectives

By the end of this workshop, learners will be able to:

  1. Recognize the connection between oral health and quality of life in older adults.
  2. Identify associations between systemic disease and oral disease.
  3. Perform a focused oral health assessment on older adult patients.
  4. Work collaboratively with interprofessional team members to ensure the appropriate management of older adult patients with common oral health conditions.


  • Oral Health, Interprofessional, Interprofessional Relations, Older Adults, Frail Elderly, Geriatrics


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ISSN 2374-8265