Reforming dental education: faculty members' perceptions on the continuation of pipeline program changes.J Dent Educ. 2008 Dec; 72(12):1472-80.JD
In 2002-03 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) established the Pipeline, Profession, and Practice: Community-Based Dental Education program to change dental education in the United States. In partnership with The California Endowment, the RWJF awarded grants to fifteen U.S. dental schools that would support them in efforts to recruit more underrepresented minority/low-income (URM/LI) students, add cultural competence training, and increase extramural rotations to sixty days. As the program evaluator, the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health (UCLA-SPH) conducted a survey of dental faculty in 2006 related to the goals of the Pipeline program. In this article, we report faculty perceptions pertaining to the extramural rotations and URM/LI recruitment. The survey was conducted in fourteen U.S. dental schools that received Pipeline grants and had an overall response rate of 60 percent (n=1,027) from the 1,713 faculty members who received the survey. A majority (57 percent) of faculty members strongly agreed that extramural rotations should continue as an integral part of students' education; 51 percent felt the same about the continuation of URM/LI recruitment programs. Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that faculty type, perception of extramural rotations being a positive experience, increased student productivity, and school culture were significant determinants of support for continuation of the extramural rotation programs. Determinants of support for continuation of the URM/LI recruitment programs were faculty type, perception of URM/LI recruitment effectiveness, perception of students from diverse backgrounds improving educational experience, and having a school mission statement that supports URM/LI recruitment. Pipeline schools should ensure that their extramural faculty remain key players in the Pipeline programs, widely publicize the programs' successes, and develop a service-oriented culture in order to build and sustain faculty perceptions that these programs should continue as integral parts of the schools' educational mission.