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House of Delegates approves new commission to recognize dental specialties

November 03, 2017

By Kimber Solana

Atlanta — In an effort to reduce potential or perceived bias and conflict of interest in the decision-making process for recognizing dental specialties, the ADA 2017 House of Delegates voted Oct. 23 to establish a new commission to oversee the process.

Resolution 30H-2017 called for an amendment to the ADA Bylaws, and creates the ADA National Commission on Recognition for Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.

Following the House of Delegates decision, the ADA Board of Trustees in December is expected to consider nominations and make appointments for the ADA’s nine general dentist appointees to the new commission. The ADA is also requesting that the sponsoring organizations of the nine recognized specialties make their appointments. The new commission is expected to hold its first meeting in 2018, likely in spring or summer.

The establishment of the new commission will enhance the specialty recognition program that sets requirements designed to help dentists excel throughout their careers and the public ascertain the importance of educationally qualified and board certified dental specialists, according to the ADA Board of Trustees report that accompanied the resolution.

Previously, the ADA House of Delegates determined the recognition of dental specialties, organizations and certifying boards. According to the report, that process carried financial and reputational risks.

The Board report stated that “while the process will be grounded in the existing ADA Requirements for the Recognition of Dental Specialties and national Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists as approved by the ADA House of Delegates, the decision to grant or deny recognition to a dental specialty must rest with a new commission.”

The Board’s decision to explore a new commission was made after it charged the Task Force on Specialty and Specialty Certifying Board Recognition to evaluate the process and criteria by which specialties and specialty certifying boards are recognized.

The Board and task force created a list of principles that guided them in developing a proposal to revise the process. These principles included:

  • The process must be grounded in objective standards that protect the public, nurture the art and science of dentistry and improve the quality of care.
  • The process must serve to reduce potential bias or conflicts of interest, or the perception of bias or conflicts of interest, in the decision-making process.
  • The process must include multiple steps, including provisions for appeal.

The creation of the ADA National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards can accomplish those principles and others, according to the approved proposal.