Effect of a dementia friends information session on health professional students’ attitudes and knowledge related to dementia

Michelle J. Berning, Amy Parkinson, Katelyn M. Tessier, Laura Pejsa, Teresa C McCarthy, Edward R. Ratner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite the growing prevalence of dementia, few models of training for health professional students on this topic have been formally evaluated or widely disseminated. The Dementia Friends (DF) initiative is part of a global movement to improve the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. The impact of these sessions on the dementia-related knowledge and attitudes of health professional trainees has not been adequately assessed. Health professional students (medicine n = 70, physical therapy n = 30, pharmacy n = 28) participated in one-hour DF information sessions, offered in-person or via videoconference. The Dementia Attitudes Scale (DAS), a validated 20-item questionnaire, was administered before and after each session. Pre- and post-session DAS scores were compared using a paired t-test. Students’ dementia-friendly action plans were analyzed qualitatively. Of 128 students, 102 (80%) completed both the pre- and post-DAS. The mean DAS score increased significantly from 105.8 (12.3) to 120.8 (10.5) following the DF sessions (p <.001). Students’ dementia-friendly action plans included improving communication, promoting quality of life, and learning more about dementia. The DF information session model significantly increased the knowledge and positive attitudes of health professional students toward those living with dementia. Further use and study of this model is appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalGerontology and Geriatrics Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Dementia education
  • dementia friends
  • healthcare education

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of a dementia friends information session on health professional students’ attitudes and knowledge related to dementia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this