Serving the public good: challenges of dental education in the twenty-first century.

Elaine L. Davis, Denice C.L. Stewart, Marcio Guelmann, Alvin G. Wee, Josette L. Beach, Karen M. Crews, Richard S. Callan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of the roles and responsibilities of dental education in serving the public good, and the extent to which they are being met, from the vantage point of leaders at the university and state level. Five questions were developed to gather views on dental education's success in meeting the expectations and needs of the public. Fifty-one interviews were conducted with leaders at seven institutions and with public officials in six states. Overall, dental education was perceived as fulfilling its public purpose in promoting oral health, providing access to care, and conducting relevant research. However, significant areas for improvement were noted including better communication of accomplishments to key stakeholders, graduating a more socially aware, culturally sensitive, and community-oriented dental practitioner, and being a committed partner with other community leaders in improving access to care for all citizens. Current programs aimed at addressing these gaps (e.g., Pipeline, Profession, and Practice program) are discussed. Dental education can address these perceptions only by producing graduates who desire to fulfill their obligations to society and serve the public good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1019
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


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