Dentists' preparedness for responding to bioterrorism: A survey of Hawaii dentists

Alan R. Katz, Dawn M. Nekorchuk, Peter S. Holck, Lisa A. Hendrickson, Allison A. Imrie, Paul V. Effler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The authors conducted a survey of dentists in Hawaii to assess their knowledge of, perceived readiness for and willingness to respond to bioterrorist (BT) events. Methods. Using a cross-sectional study design to access a random sample (n = 240) of all licensed dentists residing in the state of Hawaii (N = 1,016), the authors mailed study participants an anonymous survey up to three times during June and July 2004. Knowledge-based questions were taken from accredited Internet-based free continuing medical education offerings. Results. Of 234 deliverable surveys, 133 were returned (response rate of 56.8 percent). Only 2.3 percent of respondents reported having received prior BT preparedness training. A total of 14.5 percent felt able to identify and recognize a BT event, and 9.2 percent indicated they were able to respond effectively to a BT attack. A total of 73.8 percent expressed willingness to provide assistance to the state in the event of a BT attack. Dentists scored a mean of 62 percent correct (5.6 of nine questions) on the objective knowledge-based questions. Conclusions. A low prevalence of prior training coupled with a high degree of willingness to provide assistance indicates the need for additional BT preparedness training. This should be provided as continuing education offerings to practicing dentists and incorporated into the dental school curriculum. Clinical Implications. Dentists have the basic knowledge and experience to perform a number of key roles in a BT event; however, additional training must be provided to develop BT preparedness competencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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