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Letters: Specialty application

December 10, 2012

It was with much dismay and noted incredulity that I read the recent headlines in the Nov. 5 ADA News. Dr. Robert A. Faiella, recently installed president of the ADA, in his address to the ADA House of Delegates on Oct. 23 is quoted in the headline: "It's not loyalty but principle that drives our policies." The ADA House of Delegates rejecting the application to recognize anesthesiology as a specialty within dentistry contradicts this statement and headline in the ADA News.

The application for recognition of anesthesiology as a specialty has now come up several times and gone through the ADA's process of extensive review by the Council on Dental Education and Licensure using criteria set by the ADA. Again, as in times past, CDEL, the Committee on Recognition of Specialties and Interest Areas in General Dentistry and the ADA Board of Trustees supported the application.

Anesthesiology followed and fulfilled all the guidelines and criteria set forth by the ADA for recognition as a specialty. For the application to be yet again denied by the House of Delegates says to me that the ADA [may permit special interests in the House of Delegates to misconstrue the guidelines and principles of the process].

I strongly believe in the idea put forth by Dr. Faiella's statement about principle driving policies. However, if we hope to have the ADA as an organization in which "not loyalty but principle that drives our policies," the ADA will need to reexamine the specialty recognition process by which special interests [are allowed to interpret the requirements to suit their own viewpoint].

John R. Liu, D.D.S.
Issaquah, Wash.

Editor's note: After specialty recognition for dental anesthesiology failed in the 2012 House, delegates passed Resolution 185H-2012, which calls on the ADA to improve the process and evaluation criteria for approving interest areas in general dentistry and recognizing dental specialties. Res. 185H directs CDEL to review the current process and criteria and report back to the 2013 House with recommendations on ways to improve them. The Jan. 7, 2013 ADA News will include an article about Res. 185H.