Alleged breaches of infection control practices by an Arkansas dentist who recently may have sedated about 100 patients with a drug possibly contaminated with infectious material and an Oklahoma oral surgeon who potentially exposed thousands of patients to bloodborne viruses, are reinforcing national efforts to better prepare the next generation of infection control experts.
In an effort to engage dental and dental hygiene students early in their careers, the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) is awarding University of Louisville dental hygiene student Hollie Brookman and dental student Tyler Jury scholarships to attend the Annual Infection Prevention & Safety Symposium June 13-15, 2013 in San Diego.
OSAP executive director Therese Long, MBA, CAE, said the organization chose the UofL School of Dentistry (ULSD) for its inaugural student awards because of UofL administration and faculty support in the area of teaching infection control and prevention. One of our strategic goals is to foster and identify leadership regarding the future of infection prevention. It is critical for OSAP to do what it can to promote education, and these two awards represent an important step forward in connecting with dental education, Long says. Our goal is to prevent breaches like the ones that occurred in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
This is a unique opportunity for our students to become involved before they graduate, and it is important to seek out leaders who will move the science of prevention forward. We look for practical applications in our teaching approach, and the expectation is that our students will practice in a similar manner, says Theresa Mayfield, associate dean for clinical affairs, UofL School of Dentistry.
Technology has changed drastically over the past 20 years in how practitioners receive information and communicate it to patients; we hope our students will help pave the way in making infection prevention information more applicable to patients, says Patty Bonasso Byrd, RDH, BS, director of infection control, UofL School of Dentistry.
After learning about the new scholarships, UofL School of Dentistry alumnae Sharon Baker, DMD, has decided to join the effort in bringing more attention to patient safety and increased awareness of OSAP by donating the cost of OSAP memberships for several UofL students.
Infection prevention curriculum is incorporated in multiple courses for dental health profession students including microbiology, oral pathology, oral radiology, and periodontics, to name a few. ULSD also evaluates written preclinical, clinical and laboratory protocols to ensure adequate asepsis, infection and hazard control and hazardous waste disposal.
UofL dental school faculty, students and staff receive training on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standards, OSHA hazard communication standards, Centers for Disease Control guidelines for the dental setting, Environmental Protection Agency and Kentucky Board of Dentistry infection control requirements, and other state and local waste management regulations.
Source: Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP)