New OSAP Training Video Ponders "If Saliva Were Red"

January 14, 2003

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- In his landmark study from the 1970s, University of North Carolina researcher and professor Dr. James Crawford used red poster paint and a mannequin head to bring cross-contamination in dentistry into focus. Now, thanks to a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP) brings his message about the importance of infection control and safety precautions to student and employee training programs around the world.

Named for Crawford's original study, the OSAP-produced video, "If Saliva Were Red" uses real dental professionals to walk viewers through patient seating, examination and ultrasonic scaling, carefully presenting common infection control and safety mistakes, colorfully demonstrating the pervasive contamination that can result from routine dental treatment, and effectively showing how proper precautions protect dental workers and patients. Filmed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, the OSAP-CDC presentation updates and expands on a 1986 video produced by the late Herman Langkamp III, MS (University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine), in collaboration with Crawford.

The new video contains three segments highlighting (1) common infection control and safety flaws, (2) the cross-contamination dental workers would see if saliva were red, and (3) how controlling contamination with proper engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment reduces the risk of exposure.

OSAP Foundation Board member and Forsyth Institute instructor Kathy Eklund, RDH, MHP, served as the video's primary content expert from the project's inception. Describing the new video, she notes, "It's an awareness tool meant to facilitate acceptance of infection control procedures in clinical settings and beyond."

Developed not as a standalone teaching tool but as a complement to an instructor-driven training program, the video contains no voice track, just demonstration. Trainers must guide students through the video presentation, stimulating discussion, presenting background information, and tailoring instructions on appropriate infection control and safety techniques to the individual practice setting.

"Because it uses visual rather than verbal cues to stress the need for procedure-specific infection control, it can be used in many diverse language settings," explains Eklund.

Due for release early this year, the new video can be used in classrooms and practices around the country and around the world to train dental personnel on infection control and safety techniques. An eight-page trainer's guide complements the video program, providing educators, consultants, and in-practice instructors with visual cues and talking points from the video, answers to common questions, a checklist of the elements of a comprehensive student/employee training program, and lists of Web-accessible resources that can be used to supplement and support dental infection control and safety principles.

Priced at $69.95 ($55.95 for OSAP members), the "If Saliva Were Red" Video Training Program includes the trainer's guide and video presentation on both VHS videotape and CD-ROM.

OSAP is the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures. Founded in 1985, the non-profit association is dentistry's premier resource for infection control and safety information. Through its publications, courses, website, and worldwide collaborations, OSAP and the tax-exempt OSAP Foundation support education, research, service, and policy development to promote safety and the control of infectious diseases in dental healthcare settings worldwide. For more information on OSAP activities, visit