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Release issued 4th June 2009
Dental patients become the teachers in a unique research program designed to increase awareness, empathy and understanding of patient's perspectives.
A research study submitted by Barry Schwartz, Richard Bohay, and Judy McCormick from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry proposed was selected by Teaching Support Centre as this year's recipient of the Fellowship in Teaching Innovation award.
The unique project is entitled, "Evaluating the Introduction of a Patient's Voice in Dental Education Through Reflective Experiential Learning and Self Reported Changes in Empathy.
No other dental school in Canada uses patients as teachers to enhance the ethics and inter-personal communications.
Schwartz, Bohay and McCormick will film patients sharing their stories and these will be shared with dentistry students as part of classroom discussions on topics such as access to care, dentists in society, dental treatment error and marginalized patients. The goal is to assess the effectiveness of this method on student empathy for patients.
Patients who will be recruited for the study include those who are HIV positive and who have felt marginalized by the attitudes of dentists or dental staff; have been subjected to perceived sexual harassment by dentists; experienced cultural insensitivity by dentists and dental staff; and have difficulty accessing dental care, such as those on government funded social assistance dental plans.
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