Integrating social determinants of health into dental curricula: An interprofessional approach

Emily Sabato, Jessica Owens, Ann Marie Mauro, Patricia Findley, Sangeeta Lamba, Kim Fenesy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Approaching patient care from a holistic perspective, incorporating not only the patient's medical and dental history but also psychosocial history, improves patient outcomes. Practitioners should be trained to provide this style of care through inclusive education, including training working on interprofessional teams. A component of this education must incorporate social determinants of health into the treatment plan. Social determinants of health include income, race/ethnicity, education level, work opportunities, living conditions, and access to health care. Education regarding social determinants of health should be woven throughout dental curricula, including hands-on application opportunities. This education must extend to patient care situations rather than be limited to didactic settings. This article explains the need to incorporate social determinants of health into dental education and illustrates how social determinants education is being addressed in two U.S. dental schools' curricula, including how to weave social determinants of health into interprofessional education. These descriptions may serve as a model for curricular innovation and faculty development across the dental education community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


  • Dental education
  • Interprofessional education
  • Patient-provider relationship
  • Person-centered care
  • Social determinants of health


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