Dentistry, Physical Therapy Collaborate on ‘Making Safe Moves’

“Making Safe Moves” made big moves on the Florida campus and is garnering attention across the country. The interprofessional education course in UF’s College of Dentistry reflects collaboration at the highest level between the College of Dentistry and the Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Public Health and Health Professions (PHHP) at UF Health. 

The demand for interprofessional education is at an all-time high, but logistical challenges in meeting curricular and scheduling requirements frequently create barriers and deterrents. Dentistry and physical therapy embraced the obstacles at the University of Florida, and the result was “Making Safe Moves,” an innovative peer-learning experience where physical therapy students taught dental students how to safely transfer patients with assistive devices into and out of the dental chair.

A peer-reviewed article in Collaborative Healthcare, a publication of the Jefferson Center for Interprofessional Education, details the hour and a half “Making Safe Moves” event in its winter volume.

Venita Sposetti, D.M.D., associate dean for education in dentistry.

Venita Sposetti, D.M.D., associate dean for education in dentistry, and Kim Dunleavy, P.T., Ph.D., O.C.S., director of professional education and community engagement in the department of physical therapy in PHHP, joined forces to make the interactive practical experience a reality and win-win opportunity for all.

READ: Interprofessional Peer Teaching: Physical Therapy Students Teaching Dental Students to Transfer Patients

“It was so great working with Dr. Dunleavy in PHHP on ‘Making Safe Moves,’” Sposetti said. “We’re so proud that others see the value in this particular interprofessional education collaboration. This is only the beginning; we know that our interdisciplinary efforts with other educational units will only continue to flourish.”

The one-on-one interactive experience met curricular objectives for both the dental and physical therapy groups and addressed some of the barriers to interprofessional education. On a scale of 0-10, all physical therapy and dental students who took the course believed that learning how to perform transfers, appropriate body mechanics, and how to address needs for those with mobility deficits were very important.

After the experience, 79 percent of D.M.D. students reported being confident or very confident assisting patients with mobility needs to the dental chair, while 100 percent of the Year 1 Doctor of Physical Therapy students reported being confident or very confident teaching other professionals in their environments.

Sposetti will speak about “Making Saves Moves” during a session at the upcoming American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session in Long Beach, California, March 18-21.