Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: None
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • The students will apply theories of communication and culture to interpersonal, small group, and electronic contexts in healthcare and dentistry.
  • The students will analyze communication, health, and oral health resources regarding cultural issues, diverse populations, literacy and health literacy levels, working with English learners, and addressing disparities in the delivery of health and oral health care.


Health communication and multicultural issues unique to the dental and medical fields. Topics include intercultural communication; health literacy; interpersonal, small group, electronic, and nonverbal communication; listening; persuasion, caring for limited English proficient people; and working with interpreters. Intended for students in the Dental Hygiene Baccalaureate Degree Program; enrollment is limited to students accepted in the completion track.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Understand the importance and value of communication competence in healthcare.
B. Apply cultural theories in interpersonal and group relationships.
C. Identify and create health education resources for low literate people.
D. Cite the factors of non-verbal communication when working with English Limited Proficiency patients and using interpreters.
E. Analyze the importance of listening skills in the healthcare environment using evidence based literature.
F. Apply knowledge of major areas to interpersonal communication studies in a healthcare setting for diverse populations.
G. Evaluate the issues related to group dynamics and effective communication tools for small group communication.
H. Develop patient appropriate materials to explain the concepts of patient privacy, patient rights, and finding reliable information about health topics.
I. Assess communication techniques that facilitate a successful interview in the healthcare sector.

Course Content

A. Introduction to the course and the health communication field
1. Communication axioms
2. Advantages of competent communication in healthcare
3. Patient-centered care
4. Therapeutic communication
B. Intercultural communication
1. Characteristics of culture
2. Cultural self-awareness
3. Cultural principles from the communication field
4. Cultural principles from the nursing field
5. Intercultural communication principles in practice
6. Highlights of health beliefs and practices in specific cultures
7. Disparities in healthcare
C. Health literacy
1. Fundamentals of literacy, health literacy and oral health literacy
2. Numeracy
3. Plain language
4. Readability of patient education materials
5. Translation and interpretation in healthcare
6. Working with interpreters
7. Caring for low health literate people
8. Caring for English learners
D. Nonverbal communication
1. Principles and importance of nonverbal communication in healthcare
2. Areas of nonverbal communication
a. Appearance
b. Olfactics (smell)
c. Chronemics (use of time)
d. Paralanguage (vocal expression)
e. Kinesics (body movements)
f. Haptics (touch)
3. Cultural issues in nonverbal communication
E. Listening and persuasion
1. Importance of listening in healthcare
2. Fundamentals of listening
3. Listening to diverse people
4. Ethics of persuasion
5. Fundamentals of persuasion
6. Persuasion in healthcare
F. Interpersonal communication
1. Models, principles and elements of interpersonal communication
2. Relationship development
3. Clear personal expression
4. Conflict in interpersonal communication
G. Small group communication
1. Fundamentals of group dynamics
2. Leadership
3. Followership
4. Discussion
5. Problem solving
6. Influence of culture on small group communication
H. Electronic communication in healthcare
1. Using the internet, email, texting, and social media in healthcare
2. Patient privacy and security
3. HIPAA and electronic health records
4. Disparities in electronic health communication
5. Teaching patients how to find reliable health information online
I. Interviewing in healthcare
1. Patient interviewing
2. Interviewing difficult people
3. Overview of motivational interviewing
4. Cultural issues in interviewing
5. Job interviewing

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

On-going access to a computer or personal device with internet. This course is taught online.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Weekly quizzes and final exam
Class participation
Two presentations/oral reports
Weekly writings regarding class assignments and activities in a reflection journal

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Individual and collaborative activities
Research and writing assignments

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Young, Lance Brendan, Cynthia Rozek O'Toole, and Bianca Wolf. Communication Skills for Dental Health Care Providers. 2015.

Adams, Toni S.. Health Communication and Persuasion in Dentistry: Book 1 of the Dental Communication Brief Book Series. 2011.

Adams, Toni S.. Intercultural Communication in Dentistry: Book 2 of the Dental Communication Brief Book Series. 2011.

Adams, Toni S.. Verbal Communication in Dentistry: Book 3 of the Dental Communication Brief Book Series. 2011.

Adams, Toni S.. Nonverbal Communication in Dentistry: Book 4 of the Dental Communication Brief Book Series. 2011.

Adams, Toni S.. Listening in Dentistry: Book 5 of the Dental Communication Brief Book Series. 2011.

Although these textbooks are over five years old, they are the best resources for the course/content. When a new edition is available we will use the newer editions.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Read from relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journals, and current periodicals, approximately 50-100 pages per week
B. Find and evaluate patient education resources appropriate for diverse people
C. Use Plain Language principles to revise a health education passage so that it is readable by diverse people. Write a 2 page paper on the process and report to the class
D. Final assignment/term project: work with a small group to prepare and present a presentation on the health practices of a given culture


Dental Technology