Date of Award



© 2016 Cristina Casa

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Carey Clark

Second Advisor

John Lustig

Third Advisor

Maureen Tsokris


The health care system has undergone transformation, implementing an interprofessional approach to patient care. Professionals have formed collaborative practice groups that effectively respond to the intricacies of today’s medical industry. Dental hygienists are underemployed in these teams. This has a direct effect on dental hygiene academia because education is the basis for practice. Interprofessional education (IPE) has been proposed as the strategy to adequately address this issue; however, many dental hygiene programs do not focus on shared teaching and learning.

This mixed methodology study documented the perspectives of dental hygiene administrators and faculty at higher education institutions in the Northeast region of the United States about the value of IPE within dental hygiene curricula. An electronic survey and a focus group interview were utilized to obtain data. Descriptive statistics suggest that administrators and faculty favor interprofessional pedagogy. Inferential statistics demonstrate and elucidate a significant correlation between positive convictions towards IPE and one’s understanding of it, as well as the extent to which this educational methodology is applied. Emergent qualitative themes reinforced and explicated quantitative findings. Exposure to collaborative education heightens the recognition of its worth. The sentiments of dental hygiene leaders prove to be in alignment with the aspiration to expand interprofessional practices. Implementation will effectively prepare dental hygiene students to become a part of modern health care groups, ultimately benefitting patients. This study supports the inclusion of IPE in dental hygiene curricula as a strategy to improve professional, student, and community needs.


Ed.D. Dissertation