The North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) has selected a proposal from Beau Meyer, DDS, MPH, to receive a Campus Innovation Grant. His proposal, “Preparing Dentists for Medicaid Reform: Planning Oral Health Policy, Advocacy and Leadership Curriculum Revolution within the School of Dentistry,” will receive nearly $40,000 in funding.
The goal of the Campus Innovation Grant Fund is to help drive innovation within the UNC-Chapel Hill health professional schools. This year, NC AHEC sought proposals that highlighted four themes: 1) enhancing diversity, 2) expanding opiate education, 3) getting learners ready for Medicaid reform, and 4) developing clinical sites in Tier 1 and 2 counties. NC AHEC received 27 applications requesting $1.1 million, but the organization only had $550,000 to award.
NC AHEC prioritized proposals based on several factors including, how the proposal related to this year’s themes; innovativeness; the importance of the clinical or education problem addressed; collaboration with other schools/disciplines; plans for evaluation; dissemination and sustainability; and relevance to AHEC’s mission.
Meyer’s project relates to NC AHEC’s mission to transform health care education and services in North Carolina by using a team-based and open-minded approach to generate, test and evaluate new and relevant curriculum ideas.
The project will also emphasize supporting themes such as population health and the efficient, transparent use of personal, community and system resources. The primary outcome of the project will be a dental Medicaid reform module ready for pilot testing.
“One of my favorite parts of residency was the formalized advocacy training I received,” said Meyer. “I took advocacy and Medicaid reform coursework during my MPH at Gillings [School of Public Health] and then had the chance to apply those skills during the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Public Policy and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., three years in a row.”
“It’s this kind of knowledge and experience that I’d like to share and build into the curriculum for our students. Graduates who have these experiences and skills will be better able to tackle oral health policy and advocacy issues in the real world.”
Meyer’s proposal utilizes the School of Dentistry’s strategic plan, “Moving Beyond Excellence,” and seeks to introduce opportunities into the curriculum for policy, advocacy and leadership related to Medicaid reform.
The project aims to provide dental students with personalized and experiential learning experiences. Meyer plans to incorporate diverse learning methods to reinforce and improve student knowledge and comfort with being advocates for their patients and their profession.
“The grant will include a significant needs assessment: what students know, what they want to know; what faculty teach and what they think they teach; what skills do external stakeholders wish we would build into the curriculum,” said Meyer. “From here, we’ll work on developing coursework accompanied by experiential learning to provide students with the best experience possible.”
Other collaborators include Lewis Lampiris, DDS, MPH, Jack King, DDS, and Vicki Kowlowitz, as well as faculty from the UNC-CH Gillings School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management.