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CODA seeks written documents on dental therapy education

March 02, 2015

By Kimber Solana

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The Commission on Dental Accreditation is seeking written documentation through June 1 before proceeding with a process of accreditation for dental therapy education programs.

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 of the “Principles and Criteria Eligibility of Allied Dental Programs for Accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation” is needed to ensure all elements of the criteria are fully satisfied before the commission will implement an accreditation process for dental therapy education programs.

“At this time, CODA has not received substantive documentation that specifically addresses Criteria 2 and 5,” said Dr. Perry Tuneberg, CODA chair. “CODA takes seriously its responsibility to ensure all criterion are met, for protection of students and the public within the accreditation process. Consequently, the commission has postponed the implementation of education standards for dental therapy until it has determined that all criteria have been satisfied.”

Communities of interest with information on Criteria 2 and 5 may submit written documentation demonstrating that the two criteria and elements within the criteria are met. 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?

Should information on the criteria be submitted, the commission will then consider, at its Aug. 6-7 meeting, whether the submissions show that the criteria have been met. The discussion will occur during the open portion of the meeting.

If the commission believes at the summer meeting that the submissions fully satisfy the issues as outlined in Criteria 2 and 5, then CODA would authorize the establishment of a process of accreditation for dental therapy education programs. This process 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, the earliest an existing or developing dental therapy program could be accredited is estimated to be August 2016.

However, if the commission does not receive documentation or the information it receives does not adequately address the two outstanding criteria, the accreditation standards will remain unimplemented and existing dental therapy programs will not be accredited by CODA.

CODA began development of the accreditation standards in 2012, following appointment of the Task Force on Development of Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education Programs.

CODA, which serves the oral health care needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality improvement of dental and dental-related educational programs, directed the task force to draft standards in 2012 in response to a request from the University of Minnesota. 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.

Send written documentation regarding the criteria to CODA director Sherin Tooks, Ed.D., 211 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 or by email at tookss@ada.org. For a copy of the Accreditation Standards for Dental Therapy Education programs, go to ADA.org/en/coda/accreditation/accreditation-news.