Tobacco Dependence Education: A Survey of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools. ( 0/2016 )
As tobacco use is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality and a significant oral health problem, dentists must learn how to address tobacco use and dependence with patients. However, tobacco dependence education (TDE) has not been consistently integrated into pre-doctoral education. This study assessed the content and extent of TDE and intervention skills in North American dental schools. Methods: In 2013, the Academic Deans of the 74 accredited North American dental schools were contacted to confirm the appropriate tobacco ‘champion’ at their institutions. An introductory letter, with a hyperlink to a 51-item survey, was e-mailed to each school’s tobacco champion. Each institution also received a thank-you packet consisting of DVDs on oral cancer screening, a 6 week electronic tobacco dependence curriculum, and a tobacco treatment medications decision tree. Two follow-up reminder emails were sent with a link to the survey. Results: The response rate was 66% (N=50). TDE was taught at 92% of schools; 89.5% of respondents indicated faculty were confident / extremely confident with teaching tobacco-related pathology. Only 47.4% reported this level of confidence in teaching students how to help patients quit tobacco. TDE is taught in periodontics (81%), pathology (76%), clinic (67%), oral diagnosis (58%), public health dentistry (55%), pharmacology (53%), oral medicine (51%), and other disciplines (<50%). Conclusions: TDE is not a curricular component in all North American dental schools. Faculty are most confident in teaching tobacco-related pathology, but many lack the interest and skills needed to integrate TDE as part of patient care.