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Evidenced Based Education in Dentistry: Can it be Implemented in India?

Durgesh N Bailoor

Durgesh N Bailoor. Evidenced Based Education in Dentistry: Can it be Implemented in India? International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology; 2011:2(2):44-45. ©International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Published by Publishing Division, Celesta Software Private Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Received on: 25/02/2011 Accepted on: 01/06/2011

Introduction

The current method of dental and medical training is dependent on Professors, Obsolete Text books and opinion of the seniors who are often dogmatic and unresponsive to new ideas. Such a method is insufficient to carry on life long clinical practice in a very competent manner.

The younger doctors are computer savvy, inquisitive and want to know more. In this climate the old system of education stifles them and kills their creativity. We in India are known for hard work, logical reasoning and cultural strengths. We have to incorporate this evidence based education into our mainstream medical, dental and nursing education if we are going to maintain and provide the personnel for the whole global village.

The critical feature of EBES (Education Based Education system) is that the dentists, when faced with any problem in the clinical context of a patient, should be able to: perform a literature search; identify the evidence available pertaining to the clinical condition; critically evaluate it and determine the “Best Evidence” to diagnose / treat / manage the patient.

The crux of the matter in this cycle is the ability of the dentist to search and retrieve the literature in the shortest possible time in an efficient manner and apply it in practice.

Global scenario

The term EBM became more widely used in the early 1990s, and was later formally defined by Sackett et al. in 1996.1

The American Dental Association (ADA) has defined EBD as follows

Evidence-based dentistry (EBD) is an approach to oral health care that requires the judicious integration of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence, relating to the patient's oral and medical condition and history, with the dentist's clinical expertise and the patient's treatment needs and preferences (Fig 1).2

Indian Scenario

In India the British system of education is strong in our veins, the belief in rote learning, lectures, and assessments which emphasize on memorization. The senior professors are now slowly seeing that time has come to change, shift to student centered learning, self-search of articles of relevance, and getting research into learning and subsequently into practice. Thus encouraging creativity into our defunct teaching system will be our savior; this creativity must come in form of Evidence Based Education.

Figure 1: The three components of Evidence based dental practice.

Perceived Road Blocks in India

Our teachers are not trained for this, we just don’t have the time, or our universities will not allow it are the common refrain that we hear around us in India whenever the idea of evidence base education is mooted. Another most important objection mentioned is that in India we do not have enough research going on to enable analysis of Random Controlled Trials (RCTs) as applied locally. Of course most of us know that we

do not have enough funding in India for research.

Suggested Solutions

We have in India, many of the professors who are committed to Evidence Based Education. These persons should take initiative and train the teachers and the students into this system. We can make the time required for it if we have the will. The Universities will not object once they know that the levels of competencies are improving in the graduates of dentistry and medicine. As more research is done in India more RCTs will be available as evidence. As the government and private partnerships flourish in education, research funding can be made available to graduate students and researchers.

The Change is always painful, but ultimately rewarding. I am very optimistic that in years to come most colleges and universities will accept the changing method of imparting knowledge to the next generation in both the dental and medical specialties.

Summary

The concept of vertical integration of knowledge domains, integration of basic and clinical sciences and the acceptance of Evidence Based Education as our dominating Mantra, will result into a qualitative improvement in our teaching processes and also increase student participation actively into learning and the research process.

References

1. Sackett DL, Rosenberg WM, Gray JA, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ. 1996 Jan 13;312(7023):71-2.
2. American Dental Association. Chicago: American Dental Association; c1995-2006 [updated 2003 April 4; cited 2006 Oct 24]. Available from: http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/positions/statements/evidencebased.asp
3. Derek Richards : 10 years after Evidence-Based Dentistry 2004;5:87.

Corresponding Author

Dr. Durgesh N Bailoor, MDS, M.Phil., MBA,

Director, Post graduate studies & Research,

Karnavati School of Dentistry,

Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.

Ph: +91 9712974104

Email: durgeshbailoor26@gmail.com

Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None Declared.

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