Volume 9 • 2022 • Issue 6

Evolution of dental education There has been a shift in curriculum delivery with a move away from traditional lectures with more hybrid and active learning methods. Comprehensive patient care delivery models simulating private practice is replacing disciplinebased patient care delivery models in most dental schools. Evidence-informed dentistry has increased in importance. 3D technologies and digital dentistry have become mainstream. There has been increased emphasis on oral health care for vulnerable Canadians and social awareness and responsiveness. This includes increased need for more geriatric oral health content and provision of care in longterm care settings. There is increased recognition of the importance of student wellness and management of stress and work-life balance. The COVID pandemic has resulted in a shift to asynchronous and hybrid learning models. This provides opportunity for dental schools to partner and share teaching resources. Creation of more virtual or simulated learning experiences is required to help our students gain experiences our patient pool cannot. The emphasis on professionalism and social accountability needs to continue to grow and expand. We are proud of the commitment and dedication of our faculty and staff to our mission. This was extremely evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when our team members showed incredible courage and resilience to mitigate and manage the challenges and changes we endured. There has been increased emphasis on oral health care for vulnerable Canadians and social awareness and responsiveness. School pride We are excited about the transformative innovation we are implementing intoour curriculumrelated toour educational programs. This past summer, major renovations and construction have been taking place. Through the vision of our strategic plan, IMPACT 2020-2025: Trailblazers in Oral Health for British Columbia and Beyond, we have added technology-enhanced student learning through simulation and the addition of digital dentistry in both our graduate and undergraduate programs. Challenges A major issue for dental education is the high cost of oral health professional programs and the financial constraint these place on students and their career choices, potentially limiting the diversity of students to aspire for a career in dentistry. Across Canada, a shortage of certified dental assistants has impacted dentists in the community and dental facilities. In addition, the American Dental Education Association reported a documented shortage of faculty members in North American dental schools. Another challenge is an increasing and everchanging curriculum to be delivered in the same amount of time with clinical models that reflect the reality of dentistry within the community while serving the educational philosophy. Evolution of dental education A significant change has occurred related to the delivery of care with a more patient-based approach that is comprehensive. Dentistry has always been a discipline that embraces advanced technologies allowing certain classic procedures to become elective or be removed from the curriculum while adding more advanced treatments. Competencies and curriculum may need to be reviewed based on future patient needs and the demographic of the population— what we treat now may not be required in the future. University of British Columbia Dr. Mary MacDougall, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry 31 Issue 6 | 2022 | Issues and People