Cultural competency in dental education: developing a tool for assessment and inclusion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose/objectives: This study aimed to assess the cultural competency content in selected Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) courses and to explore the use of an assessment tool that may be used to standardize the integration of cultural competency in the dental school curriculum. Methods: A survey was sent to course directors to determine the inclusion of four topics related to cultural competence, the mechanisms of inclusion, and their comfort level in teaching the topics in their courses. A scan of the same courses was conducted with the use of a tool developed from an Expert Panel's recommendations for knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA) to be included in curricula for teaching cultural competence. Results: Twenty-one course directors responded. Fifteen reported they include social determinants of health and twelve include health inequities in their courses. Faculty reported an average of 8.67 comfort level in teaching these topics but there was less comfort level in teaching cultural humility and implicit bias. Course directors used assignments, case studies, lectures, quizzes, and patient care (clinical courses) to include the topics. The scan of courses showed that the use of the Competencies for General Dentists in course syllabi covered the recommended knowledge, skills, and attitudes for cultural competence. Conclusions: The rubric was suitable for assessing cultural competency content. The Competencies for General Dentists in course syllabi will allow the integration of the recommended KSA in dental courses to teach cultural competence. However, dental faculty may need training in the integration of KSA items in course objectives and content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-595
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Journal of Dental Education published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Dental Education Association.


  • assessment
  • case studies
  • competencies for general dentists
  • cultural competence
  • dental education


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