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ATSU-MOSDOH reports quarterly milestones in HRSA-funded project

A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH), supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has revised its predoctoral curriculum to address care of patients with medically complex conditions. 

The HRSA-funded project aims to address social determinants of health by adopting a transformative approach to predoctoral dental education. This project will entrench social determinants of health into dental training through interprofessional collaboration and integrated strategies/case studies. It is believed strong collaboration with primary care and community organizations, paired with efforts to diversify the oral health workforce, will help transform dental education and ensure the delivery of culturally responsive, team-based  care to the nation’s most vulnerable populations.

The project, initiated in 2022, is currently in its second year. Noteworthy achievements during 4th Quarter, Year 1, include: 

1. A partnership between ATSU-MOSDOH and Saint Louis University focuses on care for transgender patients. ATSU-MOSDOH and Saint Louis University established a partnership for interprofessional collaboration focusing on the provision of care for transgender patients. A workshop is scheduled Oct. 13, 2023, bringing together allied health and mental health professionals to discuss the role of health professionals in caring for transgender patients, with  the aim of improving patient satisfaction and health outcomes. 

2. Two Dreamline Pathway programs provide learning experiences for high school students in the health professions. Twenty-two high school students, representing 16 schools in the St. Louis  area, visited the St. Louis Dental Center, June 15, 2023, and participated in ATSU’s Dreamline Pathway program offering them the opportunity to explore dentistry as a career. Students completed a hands-on activity that consisted of them performing a one-arch impression using donated dental molds. Nine third-year (D3) dental students representing ATSU-MOSDOH’s class of 2025 and six fourth-year (D4) dental students from the class of 2024 assisted with the activity. 

As part of Dreamline Pathways programming, ATSU also provided participating high school students transportation to Kirksville, Missouri, to attend a weeklong learning experience June 25-30, 2023, known as ATSU and Truman Healthcare Academy. The academy was hosted by ATSU-MOSDOH and Truman State University allowing students to learn about careers in the health professions with hands-on experiences. Students visited ATSU’s campus June 29 where they participated in a variety of activities ranging from a dental simulation to ultrasound lab activities. They were accompanied by two second-year (D2) students representing ATSU-MOSDOH’s class of 2026. 

Special care dentistry training experiences were held for ATSU-MOSDOH faculty. Thirty-nine faculty members participated in the two-day session. The training, which included a didactic presentation and focus discussion, provided a platform to cross-pollinate ideas. The workshop taught faculty members how to manage special needs populations in dental settings and provided a forum to discuss the challenges of managing medically complex cases. 

Sixty D2 students participated in a survey to gain their perception of the social determinants of health. A total of 60 students from ATSU-MOSDOH’s class of 2025 participated in a self assessment survey used to enhance the Biomedical Sciences and Dental Sciences course for incoming D2 (class of 2026) students. A case study was developed for the D2 students’ course, Biomedical Sciences and Dental Sciences. The case study infuses social determinants of health into biomedical complexities associated with dental care. This enhanced course will be offered in the fall 2023 semester. 

4. Alumni-student interaction is fostered through the Dexter Mission. The biannual Dexter Mission took place this quarter. Ten ATSU-MOSDOH alumni participated in the event which provided an opportunity for ATSU-MOSDOH alumni to interact with current students in patient care and  management. ATSU-MOSDOH is working on developing a more robust alumni ambassador mentorship program. 


This project, “Addressing Social Determinants of Health and the Oral Health Needs of Vulnerable Populations: A Transformative  Approach to Predoctoral Dental Education,” is supported by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $299,456 with 0% financed with non-governmental  sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, HRSA,  HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit


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