Important Work in Progress

The University of Manitoba received the Gies Award for the curriculum project entitled Oral-Systemic Health Education for Non-Dental Healthcare Providers, launched by its International Centre for Oral-Systemic Health (ICOSH).

Casey Hein
Inspired by the growing body of research that demonstrates clear links between oral and systemic (overall) health, Casey Hein approached Anthony M. Iacopino, Dean of the College of Dentistry of the University of Manitoba in 2007 with her vision to develop an innovative curriculum that teaches non-dental health care providers (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians) how to screen for, recognize, and co-manage diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. Hein was appointed Director of Education of ICOSH with a mandate to fulfill her vision for inter-professional education in oral-systemic science.

About the Curriculum Project: Oral-Systemic Health Education for Non-Dental Healthcare Providers

Click below to read about the grant awarded by the Manitoba Government to help fund the development of the curriculum, “Oral-Systemic Health for Non-dental Healthcare Providers”.

Groundbreaking Educational Initiative Brings Oral Health Education to Nondental Health Professionals

Click here to see the brochure about this curriculum project: Oral-System Health Education for Non-Dental Healthcare Providers: Bridging the Gap Between Dentistry and Medicine

All courses and materials in the companion toolkits that are developed within this curriculum are hosted at These courses are offered free of charge to practitioners. Upon successful completion, participants are awarded continuing medical education and continuing dental education credit.

Click here to read about the information posted by Journal of the Canadian Dental Association about the Oral-Systemic Health Education for Non-Dental Healthcare Providers in Oasis, an online discussion forum

The University of Manitoba Hosts First-ever Oral-Systemic Health Day

L to R: Oral-Systemic Health Day speakers Anthony Iacopino, Dean, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Manitoba; Travis Nelson, University of Washington; Casey Hein, Director of Education, International Centre for Oral-Systemic Health, Faculty of Dentistry, and Director of Interprofessional Continuing Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba; Susan Müller, Emory University; and Bruce Martin, Associate Dean, Students, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba.

Manitoba-based physicians, nurses and other non-dental healthcare providers (HCPs) will be better prepared to recognize and refer certain oral diseases and conditions thanks to a first-of-its-kind collaborative clinical practice education day focused on oral-systemic health.

Oral-Systemic Health Day was hosted by the Faculties of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Manitoba on Feb. 7. 2014. The full-day event was part of the Bannatyne Continuing Professional Development Series for Physicians, and it attracted more than 200 healthcare and human services providers from across the province. Dentists, dental hygienists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and medical rehabilitation therapists were among those in attendance.

Presenters Dr. Susan Müller of Emory University and Dr. Travis Nelson from the University of Washington addressed many of the risk factors associated with oral diseases. Course participants were taught how to screen for dental caries in children and adolescents and how to recognize cancerous and precancerous lesions of the oral cavity and oropharynx.

During a working lunch, participants engaged in facilitated round-table discussions, where they considered one of two hypothetical case studies and discussed how dental and non-dental HCPs can collaborate to improve patient outcomes. Common take-away messages included:

  • Addressing issues of access to care and appropriate referral processes;
  • Ensuring oral-systemic health knowledge and information for non-dental HCPs is available, meaningful and consistent;
  • Having appropriate knowledge and protocols in place for screening and early detection of oral diseases and conditions;
  • Ensuring there is good communication, coordination and collaboration among dental and non-dental HCPs; and
  • Addressing social determinants in order to break down barriers of education and social isolation.

A number of participants were interviewed following the roundtable discussions, and they provided positive feedback about the overall learning experience and the opportunity to network and collaborate with peers.

More than 50 people stayed for the afternoon optional hands-on workshop, where they reviewed and practised how to screen for caries and oropharyngeal cancer. Oral-Systemic Health Day also resulted in some impromptu teaching points. Dr. Nelson demonstrated on a standardized pediatric patient how to conduct an oral examination by holding the toddler knee-to-knee with the patient’s mother. A Manitoba-based doctor then suggested and showed how physicians might use the same positioning for a follow-up ear examination, with the mother still holding the child.

Oral-Systemic Health Day was part of an innovative curriculum in Oral-Systemic Health Education for Non-dental Healthcare Providers — a continuing education project funded by industry and the Manitoba Government. The Curriculum offers evidence-based peer review education in oral health to help non-dental HCPs assess, refer and co-manage high-risk populations with limited access to dental care. The first course will be available online at, which is expected to launch in June 2014.

Oral-Systemic Health Day
Click here to link to the 4 page brochure about Oral-Systemic Health Day.

Click here to access webpage for the event which includes photographs, lectures, handouts, case studies, findings from the interprofessional case studies, videos of participant interviews, and promotional materials.

American Dental Education Association (ADEA) bulletin of Education that highlights Oral-Systemic Health Day at the University of Manitoba

Click here to read the article Oral-Systemic Health Day in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene.