Education: Physical Therapy Meets Dentistry in Interprofessional Education

Students in clinicThe value of interprofessional research and education is at an all-time high in today’s academic climate. Yet, logistical challenges—such as meeting curricular and scheduling requirements—can make it difficult to achieve in the real world.

UF Health is unusually suited to creating valuable interprofessional opportunities for its students since all six health colleges are co-located on the Gainesville campus. In addition, all of the major research centers, institutes and most clinical enterprises are located within a half-mile radius of one another, and are adjacent to the main UF campus.

The relatively new “Making Safe Moves” course is a great example of an interprofessional offering that is a win-win opportunity for UF dental and physical therapy students. Making Safe Moves is an interactive, practical, peer-learning curriculum in which physical therapy students teach dental students how to safely transfer patients with assistive devices into and out of a dental chair.

In 2016, a peer-reviewed article in Collaborative Healthcare, a publication of the Jefferson Center for Interprofessional Education, detailed the hour and a half “Making Safe Moves” course.

Thought to be the first of its kind in the country and the only of its kind at UF, the one-on-one interactive experience meets curricular objectives for both the dental and physical therapy groups and addresses some of the barriers to interprofessional education.

Collectively, physical therapy and dental students who took the initial course agreed that learning how to perform transfers, appropriate body mechanics, and how to address needs for those with mobility deficits were very important.