Teaching Cultural Competence in Dental Education: A Systematic Review and Exploration of Implications for Indigenous Populations in Australia

Cathryn J. Forsyth, Michelle J. Irving, Marc Tennant, Stephanie D. Short, John A. Gilroy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Indigenous and other minority populations worldwide experience higher rates of disease including poor oral health than other populations. Cultural competence of practitioners is increasingly being recognized as fundamental to health care and quality of life in addressing these disparities. The aims of this study were to conduct a systematic review of the literature about teaching cultural competence in dental education and to explore the particular relevance of that teaching for the oral health care of Indigenous populations in Australia. A systematic review employing the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement was conducted of published studies that explored cultural competency interventions in dental curricula. A total of 258 studies from 2004 to 2015 were identified; after removing duplications and applying criteria for exclusion, 12 were selected for analysis, involving 1,360 participants. The principal themes identified in the qualitative analysis of these studies were curriculum content, curriculum delivery, community service-learning, reflective writing, and evaluation. Students need knowledge of health disparities and community health to better understand the perspectives of culturally diverse populations and to communicate effectively with people from various cultures. The principal strategies that improved cultural competence in the articles examined in this study were educational seminars, community service-learning, and reflective writing. These findings suggest that integration of cultural competency curricula using a combination of didactic or online training, community engagement, and reflective writing may increase the cultural knowledge and skills of dental students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)956-968
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Volume81
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

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