Affiliation: School of Dentistry, Division of Allied Dental Education, Dental Hygiene Master's Program
In 2019, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) changed its standard from “assessing treatment needs” to require “providing dental hygiene care” for dental hygiene students to obtain competency in the treatment of patients with special needs. The study’s purpose was to evaluate accredited U.S. dental hygiene programs’ preparation of their students treating patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). A 25-item Qualtrics® survey was sent to 325 dental hygiene directors. Survey topics included curriculum content and structure, curriculum changes in response to new CODA standards, didactic and clinical experiences in treatment of patients with IDD. Descriptive statistics were calculated and comparisons were made using chi-square tests. The response rate was 29.5% (n=89/301 delivered surveys). Results indicated the need for improving program directors’ understanding of the new accreditation requirement and increasing some programs’ clinical education for dental hygiene students in treating patients with IDD.