Academics from Peninsula Dental School have recently returned from the USA after sharing their pioneering work with counterparts across the Atlantic.
Visiting Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, the team shared its experience of inter-professional education (IPE) and the fully integrated BSc (Hons) Dental Therapy and Hygiene (DTH) degree at the University of Plymouth.
IPE, when two professions learn with and from each other, is currently being widely considered in healthcare globally for its ability to improve patient care and team working. To highlight its success and inspire future collaboration, the Plymouth team presented ‘The Peninsula Dental School approach to integration – a UK perspective’, at Harvard University’s symposium entitled ‘Healthcare Education: 150 Years of Learning to Teach’.
Led by Clare McIlwaine, Programme Lead for DTH, the team included Dr Louise Belfield, Lecturer in Biomedical Science; Jane Collingwood, Clinical Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences; Dr Zoe Brookes, Clinical Lecturer in Undergraduate Dental Studies; and Dr Daniel Zahra, Lecturer in Assessment Psychometrics.
Having cemented its success as one of the UK’s leading dental schools for teaching, the visit was designed to help develop global networks, opportunities, and broaden the impact of the University of Plymouth around the world.
Dr Louise Belfield said:
“Delegates were interested to hear about our pioneering curriculum and the teaching of life sciences in an integrated approach. In contrast to many dental schools in the UK, and globally, the underpinning science is embedded throughout our course in a spiralling curriculum and DTH students receive the same life science teaching as dental students (BDS Dental Surgery) wherever their scope of practice overlaps.”
Clare McIlwaine said:
“We are extremely grateful to Harvard and Tufts for their warm welcome and the opportunity to meet with them. Our visit to Boston is extremely timely as the state of Massachusetts is currently voting on a bill on the introduction of dental therapists, which are not currently widely used in the US, and our American colleagues were keen to hear how an integrated curriculum can be used as an effective DTH training programme. It is clear Peninsula Dental School can certainly contribute to the conversation on how dental therapists can be utilised effectively as part of the dental team and improve patient care.”
Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of Peninsula Dental School, added:
“We are extremely proud of our multi-disciplinary team. They have developed a unique integrated dental undergraduate curriculum, and shared Peninsula’s experience, expertise, and knowledge of best practice, whilst establishing promising links with other institutions which I hope they continue to cultivate into exciting international collaborations.”