This study describes the inclusion of oral health in physician assistant (PA) education programs in 2017. A 2014 study found that 78% of responding programs (n = 98 of 125) had integrated this content into their curriculum. The current study represents a partnership between the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health, the Center for Integration of Primary Care and Oral Health, and the PA Leadership Initiative in Oral Health. The PA profession was one of 14 health professions surveyed to assess the quantity and quality of oral health integration, including barriers to and facilitators of change.
An electronic cover letter explaining the research purpose was emailed to all US PA education program directors along with a link to a web-based survey. Most questions were followed by predefined response options; some questions offered an opportunity to include narrative responses or comments.
There was greater inclusion of oral health curriculum in 2017 than in 2014, for both the number of programs including oral health education and the breadth of their curriculum.
Efforts to equip PA faculty to integrate oral health core clinical competencies into their curriculum should continue, because existing strategies appear to be sustainable and effective in expanding oral health content across PA programs.