Interprofessional Education in Dental Hygiene: Attitudes, barriers and practices of program faculty

Susan L. Tolle, Marlo M. Vernon, Gayle McCombs, Gianluca De Leo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Interprofessional education (IPE) experiences are an essential component in preparing dental hygiene students to participate in future interprofessional (IP) collaborations to support comprehensive patient care. The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes, barriers and IPE practices in a national sample of dental hygiene faculty. Methods: A 25-item, researcher-designed, electronic survey was sent to 1,800 dental hygiene faculty members to determine attitudes, collaboration and practices involving interprofessional education (IPE). Descriptive statistics, Mann Whitney U and the Kruksal Wallis Test of Independent Samples were used to analyze and compare data. Results: The response rate was 22% (n=449). Results suggest faculty have positive attitudes toward IPE and most faculty (73%) incorporated IPE in their programs; however, time constraints were reported as the greatest barrier to IPE participation. A majority (85%) of respondents indicated a desire for greater emphasis on IPE in the curricula. Ethics (37%) was ranked as the most important IPE competency and teamwork the least (19%). Respondents from bachelor’s degree programs were more likely to agree that learning with students in other health professions helps students become more effective members of a healthcare team than those from associate’s degree programs (p = 0.025). Additionally, respondents from bachelor’s degree programs were less likely to agree that clinical problem solving can only be learned when students are taught within their individual schools than those from associate degree programs (p = 0.022). Conclusion: Most of the dental hygiene faculty surveyed considered IPE important, incorporated it into student experiences, and wanted greater curricular emphasis on IPE. Time and institutional support may limit expansion of IPE activities and more collaboration amongst program faculty may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH / American Dental Hygienists' Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • dental hygiene education
  • healthcare practice models
  • interdisciplinary teams
  • interprofessional collaboration
  • interprofessional education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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