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Journal article illustrates IU School of Dentistry's oral health policy program

Published:

January 3, 2013

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An article published in the December issue of the Journal of Dental Education, a scholarly publication from the American Dental Education Association, examines a model for student involvement in oral health care advocacy and offers best practices for implementing the program at other institutions.

“Oral Health Policy Forum: Developing Dental Student Knowledge and Skills for Health Policy Advocacy,” written by Karen M. Yoder and Burton L. Edelstein, describes the planning, sequential improvements and outcomes of Indiana University School of Dentistry’s Annual Oral Health Policy Forum.

IU School of Dentistry’s one-day forum invites fourth-year dental students to prepare and present arguments on oral health policy scenarios before a legislator. In the afternoon, students tour the Indiana Statehouse, observe deliberations and meet with lawmakers. As reported in the journal, nearly half of participating students expressed increased interest in becoming involved with the political process as a result of the forum.

“Developing advocacy skills helps dental students understand that they are treated as experts by legislators; they have social capital that can help those who don’t,” said Yoder, director of civic engagement and oral health policy and a professor of preventive and community dentistry at IU School of Dentistry. She also points out that the forum directly complements and enhances the dynamic work many dental students carry out in community clinics. “The forum helps students see that they can turn their activism into social change through well-crafted health policy advocacy.”

The case study provides best practices for program implementation.

Access the full article on the Journal of Dental Education website.