Online cultural competency training for dentists

As oral health disparities among cultural minority groups persist in the U.S., culturally and linguistically appropriate services are increasingly recognized as an important strategy for improving quality of care for diverse populations.

The ADA Council on Access, Prevention, and Interprofessional Relations recommends a free online educational program to equip oral health care professionals with the knowledge, skills and awareness to best deliver oral health services to all patients, regardless of cultural or linguistic background. The target audience includes dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental specialists and any other oral health professional interested in cultural competency. The program is based on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Minority Health's National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards).

Course 1 of the three-part curriculum covers the fundamentals of CLAS, including an overview of oral health care disparities. Course 2 covers specific strategies for providing CLAS in oral health practice and management, including how to increase awareness of patients’ cultural beliefs and needs. Course 3 covers culturally and linguistically appropriate communication, including barriers and facilitators to verbal, nonverbal and written communication.

Program participants will gain the knowledge and skills to:

  • Expand their patient base by providing appropriate care to a greater diversity of patients.
  • Deliver a higher quality of care to help patients meet their oral health care goals, while honoring and respecting their cultural beliefs and practices.
  • Decrease clinical errors that may arise due to cultural and linguistic differences in communication and differences in oral health literacy.
  • Help recognize and lessen the racial and ethnic health care disparities that persist in oral health.

The program can be taken at any time and offers six ADA CERP-approved credits. 

Register or learn more.

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For those who missed attending a course at CDA Presents in San Francisco, four individual courses are available for purchase on-demand at CDA’s multimedia library. An “Entire Conference” package is also available. Dental professionals who seek additional learning opportunities may purchase correspondence courses from conventions dating back to the 2014 CDA Presents in Anaheim.

A dental practice welcomes many people through its doors with different backgrounds and ethnicities. It is important for the dentist and staff to understand different communication methods. Each dental office should have an implementation strategy that has a vision of how they will offer their services to a diverse population.