The purpose of this study was to evaluate physician assistant (PA) student knowledge after integrating an oral health curriculum longitudinally into a PA program and to assess student perceptions of the oral health curriculum.
This study was a 2-group longitudinal study comparing differences between the groups at 2 points in time. Cohort I (n = 60) took an oral health pretest and then, after completing oral health training, took a posttest. Cohort II (n = 49), which had not received oral health training, took identical testing on the same time interval. The students in Cohort I assessed the value of the oral health curriculum by answering a standardized perception survey.
Cohort I had a statistically significant increase (p ≤ .0001) in posttest assessment scores compared to Cohort II (control group). The students who were exposed to the oral health curriculum reported a deeper understanding and appreciation of oral health disease and increased confidence in oral health clinical application.
A greater awareness of the importance of oral health and chronic disease has evolved within PA education over the past 2 decades. Despite this progress, there is still a need to expand this curriculum and improve PA students' depth of knowledge in oral health. This study presents a novel and effective approach to incorporating an oral health curriculum into a PA program.