Reaching a common goal through multiple patient-care perspectives
Dr. Brennan Scott Cheek, radiation oncologist
Brauman-Bell speakers stress importance of multidisciplinary collaboration for treatment of oral-systemic conditions
“We look at things in a different perspective,” Dr. Luis Piñiero said during the 2011 Brauman-Bell Alpha Omega Lectureship regarding the dental versus medical approach to cancer patient care.
Alluding to the impact of cancer treatment on oral health, Piñiero said, “The good news is a lot of these patients are cured, so more and more we have to deal with the long-term damage caused by the treatments we provided.” As director of the Marrow Processing Laboratory and Apheresis Lab at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Piniero witnesses firsthand the invariable mucosal damage caused by chemotherapy and radiation given to patients fighting cancer.
“We need the help from someone else to provide that different perspective,” he said. “Our interaction with this field [dentistry] is very important.”
“I think dentists and physicians have enjoyed a long history of collaboration
in order to best manage their patients.” —Dr. John Wright
While dentists and medical doctors may have different approaches to patient care, the tone at the lectureship took on a definitive stance: For medical professionals to provide quality patient care, a dialogue with dentists and dental professionals is necessary.
“As survival increases with head and neck cancer patients, so do quality of life issues,” said Dr. Brennan Scott Cheek, radiation oncologist for Texas Oncology at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas. He listed preventive care measures, tooth-sparing radiation technology and increased interaction between health care professionals as possible solutions.
Dr. Terry Rees, professor in the college’s Department of Periodontics and director of the Stomatology Center, touched on other health concerns, such as diabetes and cardiovascular concerns related to periodontal disease.
Multi-discipline collaboration and students
The trend of multi-discipline collaboration takes on new relevance at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, considering the first cohort of 23 Health Science Center medical students will arrive at Baylor University Medical Center next month, with a welcome reception slated for Dec. 8.
Dr. Terry Rees, professor in the college’s Department of Periodontics and director of the Stomatology Center, and Dr. Luis Piñeiro, director of the Marrow Processing Laboratory and Apheresis Lab at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas
The medical students may be seen around TAMHSC-BCD, as agreements with BUMC allow the medical and dental schools to share a number of facilities and services with the hospital.
Total enrollment for clinical medical training in Dallas could reach 80 students. In addition to the flagship BUMC campus, medical students will rotate at other Dallas-area Baylor Health Care System facilities.
The Brauman-Bell lectureship moderator, Dr. John Wright, Regents Professor and chair of diagnostic sciences, says that as the population continues to age, it becomes increasing important for dentists to graduate with an understanding of and ability to diagnose oral-systemic interactions.
“I hope the beginning of the HSC medical student training at Baylor can be an opportunity to impact these relationships at the student level,” Wright says.
He points out that, ultimately, TAMHSC-BCD is only able to impact the dental curriculum and not that of the medical college, but he recognizes the longstanding partnership between the two disciplines.
“I think dentists and physicians have enjoyed a long history of collaboration in order to best manage their patients,” Wright says. “The dental curriculum has matured over the years to assure that our students understand oral-systemic interaction, and in fact, CODA requires that we do so today.
“It only requires a cursory knowledge of biology to see the interrelation of biologic processes and organ systems,” he adds. “No tissue or organ in the body exists independently.”