Oral Health and PA Education: A Primer

The oral health movement has gathered momentum in recent years in response to increasing recognition of the linkage between oral and systemic health. This has resulted in policy and program initiatives to broaden the oral health workforce and reach the nearly 50 million people living in areas where accessing dental care is difficult.

Starting with Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General in 2000, the oral health movement has called for equipping non-dental providers with oral health competencies to increase access to care. In 2010, the PA Leadership Initiative in Oral Health brought the Four Orgs together to work toward a shared goal of reducing disparities and eradicating dental disease — and we continue to work together to battle this often neglected disease.

The oral health movement has motivated PA educators and students alike because we believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to be healthy — and oral health is a key component of overall health and social equity. With this in mind, PAEA has developed a new series of online modules with an oral health focus.

PAEA member programs already have access to the learning management system (LMS) and  the first two modules: Item Writing for Beginners and Developing High-Quality Exams, both of which are core competencies in academia.

Now, we are excited to announce the launch of our third module in the series: Assessment & Evaluation of Your Curriculum Using Oral Health as the Exemplar. This module is divided into five main sections:

  • Section 1 explains the importance of integrating oral health into the curriculum.
  • Section 2 discusses how to discover opportunities to teach oral health in the curriculum.
  • Section 3 covers integrating oral health topics in a sustainable way.
  • Section 4 describes how to evaluate and improve health outcomes.
  • Section 5 ends with advocating for meaningful changes.

Once again, this module features narrated slides covering pertinent information with a pre- and post-survey that we ask you to complete. You can complete the modules at your own pace, saving and coming back to them if you need to step away. You can also return at any time to modules you have completed to refresh your memory.

This course was supported by the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH) with funding from DentaQuest Foundation and the Arcora Foundation.

To access the LMS:

  • Visit the website and click “forgot password.”
  • On the Password Recovery screen, enter your professional email address, the one on file with PAEA.
  • Follow the link sent to your email to create your new password and start learning!

We’d also like to hear your thoughts on the module. While you’re logged in, you will see an icon in the top right corner that says “feedback.” Clicking this link will allow you to submit your ideas and feedback to the course administrator.

We hope you enjoy the third LMS installment. Keep your eyes peeled, as we plan to launch our fourth series of modules in the coming months.


Amanda Gunter, PAEA’s instructional specialist, also contributed to this article and the creation of this module.