New core competencies in dental education will combat opioid misuse

2 min read

On Feb. 11, Harvard School of Dental Medicine Dean Bruce Donoff, along with the deans of Boston University and Tufts schools of dental medicine, gathered at the State House for an announcement by Gov. Charlie Baker about new dental education core competencies for the prevention and management of prescription drug misuse.

“Educating our dental providers on prescribing practices for opioids is a critical step toward preventing drug misuse as we continue to combat this public health crisis,” said Baker. “We are thrilled to stand with the Commonwealth’s dental schools and the Massachusetts Dental Society to introduce our second set of core competencies that are bound to educate our students and help curb this epidemic.”

The set of cross-institutional dental core competencies follow similar curriculum changes recently made by Massachusetts medical schools. The core competencies are designed to support future dentists, over the course of their dental education, with both skills and a foundational knowledge in the prevention of prescription drug misuse and the effective management of pain.

More than 1,800 enrolled undergraduate dental students and 550 advanced graduate dental students in the state will receive enhanced training in primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies regarding prescription drug misuse.

“Dentists are in a particularly unique position to have an impact, as they typically have regular contact with their patients and commonly address issues of preventive health and wellness in their oral health regimes,” Donoff said.