CU Receives Innovation Award

Molly Pereira Featured News

December 19, 2012

The University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine received the Outstanding Innovation Award by an Academic Dental Institution as a part of the 2013 William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation, and Achievement (Gies Awards).  Only one dental school is selected per year for this honor.  The school was recognized for the development of an innovative interprofessional (IPE) curriculum that prepares graduates for future team-based practice, and provides a model for other dental institutions embracing IPE.

The School of Dental Medicine partners with the CU schools of medicine (medicine, physical therapy and physician assistant programs), pharmacy and nursing to bring the IPE curriculum to life.  The CU program is the first interprofessional team training program of this type that has been designed to incorporate dental students and dental faculty into all aspects of the program. The first case that all students consider together is a dental case.

“The CU Anschutz Medical Campus was intentionally designed to foster interprofessional collaboration, but it has been the efforts of dedicated faculty champions and students who have been willing to put in the effort to develop the unique programs that we have today,” said Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Richard Krugman.  “This award identifies the CU School of Dental Medicine as a model for dental schools and other health professional schools throughout the country.”

There are two distinct program elements of the IPE activities.  First, the dental students participate in the Anschutz Medical Campus interprofessional education program through REACH (Realizing Educational Advancement for Collaborative Health).  The program’s curricular threads focus on team dynamics and communication in both preclinical training and clinical practice, and begin the first day that the 700 students come to campus and continue until graduation.  REACH has been mandatory for all incoming health professions students on the campus since the Fall 2011 semester.

Second, the School of Dental Medicine’s Frontier Center Project focuses on collaborative education and practice around oral health and preventive practices in primary care. Dental students learn about diagnostic tests for chronic diseases from Dr. Mark Deutchman and other MD faculty and students, while medical and physician assistant students receive training from dental students and faculty about how to perform oral exams and recognize oral disease.

The Gies Awards, named after dental education pioneer William J. Gies, Ph.D., honor individuals and organizations exemplifying dedication to the highest standards of vision, innovation, and achievement in dental education, research, and leadership.