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CODA votes to establish accreditation process for dental therapy education

August 07, 2015

By Kimber Solana

Commission on Dental Accreditation logo

The Commission on Dental Accreditation authorized Aug. 7 the establishment of an accreditation process for dental therapy education programs.

The authorization comes after CODA voted that further information sought — through written documentation submitted through June 1 — by the commission on Criteria 2 and 5 of the “Principles and Criteria Eligibility of Allied Dental Programs for Accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation” satisfied the criteria.

The ADA, while fully supporting CODA and its role in assuring high quality standards for dental education, remains firmly opposed to allowing nondentists to perform surgical procedures, according to a statement. To read the full statement, click here.

The commission also voted to form an ad-hoc committee to evaluate the next steps in establishing the process of accreditation for dental therapy, which includes drafting a self-study guide; outlining a formal application process; sending out a call for site visitors and training these individuals; and formally assigning review of the dental therapy education programs to a CODA review committee.

Because of the time and effort required to complete the necessary steps, however, the earliest an existing or developing dental therapy program could be accredited is estimated to be January 2017.

CODA adopted accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs during its Feb. 6 meeting at ADA Headquarters.

However, further information on Criteria 2 and 5 were needed to ensure the criteria are satisfied before the commission will implement an accreditation process for dental therapy education programs.

Communities of interest with information on Criteria 2 and 5 were asked submit written documentation demonstrating that the two criteria and elements within the criteria are met through June 1. The criteria are as follows:

2: Has the allied dental education area been in operation for a sufficient period of time to establish benchmarks and adequately measure performance?

5: Is there evidence of need and support from the public and professional communities to sustain educational programs in the discipline?

CODA began development of the accreditation standards in 2012, following a request by the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry which resulted in the appointment of the Task Force on Development of Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs.

In Minnesota, the state dental board is currently accrediting the dental therapy education programs. CODA, established in 1975, is nationally recognized by the United States Department of Education as the sole agency to accredit dental and dental-related education programs conducted at the post-secondary level. CODA’s mission is to serve the oral health care needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality.