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Accreditation Updates

Information about the Commission on Dental Accreditation's activities is available to everyone. The Commission meets twice a year, usually in the winter and the summer. Following each meeting the communities of interest are notified via email that the CODA Communicator, currently a web-based newsletter, is available on the Commission’s website; this newsletter is available to all of CODA’s communities of interest.

If you have not received an issue of the CODA Communicator, please contact Mr. Gregg Marquardt, marquardtg@ada.org, and he will add your email address to the Commission’s distribution for the next issue.

Additionally, hearings on standards are held at various meetings during which comments may be submitted to CODA on proposed or revised Accreditation Standards. Please review the left navigation, where you can access the proposed accreditation standards out for comment. CODA's meeting materials may also be of interest.

News and Highlights:

Updates: Elimination of “Specialty” Terminology

At its February 2, 2018 meeting, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) took action to remove the word specialty from all CODA documentation, as well as its website, and instead refer to all advanced dental education disciplines as advanced education programs.  

Below are updates, to CODA materials as well as to this website, which will be posted to this page as they are made. For questions, please contact Dr. Sherin Tooks, director, Commission on Dental Accreditation, at tookss@ada.org.

As of January 4, 2018, the Standards, Self Study Guides and SVER's for all Advanced Dental Education disciplines, with a current or July 1, 2019 implementation date, have been revised per the “Specialty Terminology” project. 

On the Advanced Dental Education Site Visit Documents page, the word “specialty” has been removed from the URL and the Advanced Education documents there have been combined.

The page title for the Upcoming Advanced Site Visits has changed to “Upcoming Advanced Dental Education Site Visits.”

On the Current Standards page, the sections for Postdoctoral General Dentistry Programs and Advanced Specialty Education Programs have been combined into one section titled “Standards for Advanced Dental Education Programs.”

Specialty Terminology Q & A

How will this change in CODA’s terminology affect specialty recognition and advertising?

CODA has no role and never had a role in dental specialty recognition and specialty advertising.  The recognition of dental specialties used to be solely based on the ADA specialty recognition process but that has changed. Recently, the ADA established the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards (National Commission), which has authority to administer the specialty recognition process.  CODA was using the vocabulary of the Council on Dental Education, CODA’s predecessor, when calling an educational program a “specialty,” which does not reflect the current environment. Further, CODA’s USDE recognition does not distinguish between types of advanced dental education programs.  Therefore, CODA needed to change its nomenclature so that it was not inadvertently restricting the term to only the National Commission-recognized dental disciplines.  Other agencies will continue to recognize dental specialties and define the parameters under which an individual may advertise that they are a specialist.  Neither of these matters has ever rested within the purview of CODA. 

How will this affect specialty training and protection of the public and profession?

CODA’s mission is to ensure the quality of dental education programs for the protection of the public and profession.  The CODA process of accreditation is not changing and was never intended to be used to define dental specialties.  The only change that will occur in CODA’s process is that all programs after predoctoral dental education (DDS/DMD) will now be referred to as post-doctoral or advanced dental education programs.  The rigor of CODA’s accreditation process will remain as it is.  It will be up to other agencies to define specific dental disciplines as a “specialty,” as has always been the case.  It will be up to the state dental boards to define how a “specialist” may advertise.  CODA’s role will continue to be assuring the quality of dental education programs based on CODA’s standards and process for accreditation.

CODA accredits advanced dental education programs in disciplines that may be a “specialty” in a particular jurisdiction or as determined by other organizations, beyond the nine (9) specialties now recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards (National Commission).  And, CODA’s USDE recognition does not distinguish between types of advanced education dental programs.  CODA needed to change its nomenclature so that it was not inadvertently restricting the term to only the National Commission-recognized dental disciplines.  CODA’s sole purpose is to ensure the quality of dental, advanced dental, and allied dental education programs.  To that end, CODA’s role will continue to be assuring the quality of dental education programs based on CODA’s standards and process for accreditation.

If I have questions about this plan, whom do I contact?

You can contact Dr. Sherin Tooks at tookss@ada.org

Check back to this page for future Updates and Q&As.

Adoption of CODA White Paper: Transition to an Operational Structure for Independent Authority

The Commission on Dental Accreditation, during its August 1, 2014 meeting, adopted the Commission on Dental Accreditation White Paper: Transition to an Operational Structure for Independent Authority.  The White Paper provides background on the role and responsibilities of the Commission, as well as the history of the Commission and its relationship to the American Dental Association (ADA).  The White Paper concludes with information related to a re-examination of the Commission’s relationship with the ADA.  Read the Commission’s White Paper: