The integration seminar: A first-year dental course integrating concepts from the biomedical, professional, and clinical sciences

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This study describes the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a seminar course designed to facilitate discussion and understanding of cross-disciplinary concepts by first-year dental students. Dental and medical schools are implementing integrated curricula in which clinical courses are taught early in the curriculum and the clinical and basic sciences are taught not only concurrently, but in an integrated manner. This first-year course, Integration Seminar, was developed to cross traditional subject and departmental boundaries with the intent of fostering dental care providers who understand the interdependence of the major concepts within these areas. This report describes the development and structure of the Integration Seminar. Furthermore, student perception of this course was determined by evaluating year-end course surveys, and student performance outcomes were measured by comparing student scores on the National Board Dental Examination Part I (NBDE-I) prior to and after the inception of this course. We determined that a substantial majority of students recognized the integrated nature of the course. In addition, NBDE-I scores were significantly higher for the cohorts of students who had participated in the course, although this observation is likely dependent upon many other factors. This report may thus provide a course model for other schools with a similar goal of achieving an integrated curriculum.