Determinants of Oral Health Assessment and Screening in Physician Assistant Clinical Practice

Authors: Margaret Langelier, MSHSA | Simona Surdu, MD, PhD | Jingya Gao, MS | Jean Moore DrPH, MSN, FAAN | Anita Glicken, MSW

Topics: Oral Health, Primary Care

Research Center: Oral Health Workforce Research Center

December 1, 2016

There is greater general recognition of the linkages between physical disease and oral pathology. This has resulted in calls for medical professionals to incorporate oral health assessment, counseling, and early intervention into their routine clinical activities. However, actualization of the integration of oral health services in medical practice is difficult, due to the siloed structure of oral health and health delivery systems. One strategy to bridge that gap is interprofessional education that prepares medical professionals to screen for oral disease and to effect referrals to dental professionals. The Oral Health Workforce Research Center (OHWRC), in cooperation with the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) fielded a survey to a sample of physician assistants (PAs) to describe their current clinical practices related to oral health service delivery.

This report discusses PA practice characteristics, the extent and source of PA education in oral health, and facilitators and barriers to the integration of oral health service in practice.

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