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Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal
SJR: 0.123

ISSN Imprimir: 2151-805X
ISSN En Línea: 2151-8068

Ethics in Biology, Engineering and Medicine: An International Journal

DOI: 10.1615/EthicsBiologyEngMed.2012004455
pages 107-114

Bio-Ethics in Dental Education: Dental Public Health Residents' Perspective

Evelyn Lucas-Perry
Office of the Director, Office of Science, Policy and Analysis, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892
Aderonke Akinkugbe
Office of the Director, Office of Science, Policy and Analysis, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

SINOPSIS

Recently, disparate views regarding the role and value of ethics in the dental curriculum have been published in dental literature. Some authors have stated that the time and approach to teaching ethics calls for serious consideration. They argue teaching ethics early in the dental curriculum makes students perceive ethics as an unimportant aspect of professional practice and hence not to be taken seriously as they would technical skills. More so, ethics courses are not targeted towards effecting behavior change, hence defeating the purpose of ethical professionalism.
Other authors agree that the ethics curriculum in dental education, although needing improvement, is accomplishing what is intended−that is, to instill knowledge and elicit a sense of moral obligation through critical reasoning. Bioethical dilemmas per se are not clearcut; hence, every ethical dilemma requires critical contemplation, which ethics education provides through didactic, case-based learning and small-group discussions. They argue that the decision about a change in behavior be left to the individual.
Two dental public health residents at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research present their views on what the focus of ethics education in dental schools should be−change behavior or provide knowledge for critical reasoning. One opines that the teaching of ethics should be behavior driven, analogous to the expectations of clinical dentistry requiring an actionable behavior−patient care. The other urges that the teaching of bioethics be geared towards instilling critical reasoning skills for contemplation as expecting otherwise would be considered indoctrination.