Using Dentists to Diagnose Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Patients

Kate Frantz

Kate Frantz, Awareness Program Manager of The International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation, discusses their program of reaching out to dental students/schools to raise awareness of pemphigus and pemphigoid.
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We have a program right now to decrease diagnostic delays among pemphigus and pemphigoid patients and we do this through outreach to the dental community.
Why the dental community?
We know with Pemphigus and pemphigoid, they're rare autoimmune blistering diseases, and about two-thirds of patients actually get symptoms in the mouth first and very often lead them to their dental professional many times the dentist is the first clinician contact and so there's this unique opportunity among dental professionals to get patients an early diagnosis.
Teaching dental students about pemphigus and pemphigoid
We recruit patients who have very compelling stories with an emotional appeal and we work with the patients to develop their story and we have several patient presenters that go out and share their story with dental students across the country so currently we have 2 patient educators who have presented at roughly 15 dental tools and we're actually asking for one hour of oral pathology curriculum time so this is a really huge deal to be asking professors for one hour of their classroom time and the feedback so far has been extremely positive.  Students think that it will help them to remember information about pemphigus and pemphigoid in the future and change clinical decision making.
How does sharing a patient’s story contribute to raising awareness?
For the average patient, it takes them 5 doctors and 10 months to get a diagnosis and by sharing patient stories with dental students, were putting it on their radar and encouraging them to remember this in their practice.
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