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ADA, ADEA, ASDA team up to address ethical issues in dental schools

Over the past year, much has been done to advance ethics and professionalism in the dental educational environment.

When the Joint Subcommittee on Ethics and Integrity in Dental Education and Practice was appointed in 2007, Dr. David F. Boden said the first order of business was to address public incidents of cheating in several dental schools.

"To their great credit, the American Student Dental Association was quick to recognize that bad fellow students in school would likely be bad colleagues in practice, and further damage new doctor reputations throughout their future careers," said Dr. Boden, chair of the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs.

"I give tremendous credit to ASDA and the American Dental Education Association for rapidly grappling with this issue and making some hard decisions," he said. "Through the Joint Subcommittee, the ADA participated as valued advisors with ADEA and ASDA while they developed new statements on professionalism in dental education with strong suggestions for implementation in schools across the country."

ASDA's white paper analyzes the problem of unethical behavior in schools and lists concrete actions for implementation. An example is the University of Southern California School of Dentistry's Student Professionalism and Ethics Club, sponsored by the USC ASDA chapter with faculty advisor Dr. Alvin Rosenblum.

"We were amazed at how quickly this club concept spread to many schools across the country," said Dr. Boden. "It gave us ADA old timers great pride—and relief—that it is evident the profession will continue in good hands as the next generation of dentists assumes the helm."

ADEA's "Statement on Professionalism in Dental Education" can be found at www.adea.org/Pages/Professionalism.aspx.

ASDA's "White Paper on Ethics and Professionalism in Dental Education" can be found at www.asdanet.org.