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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,, 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

The titles of CODA staff members Ms. Peggy Soeldner and Ms. Jennifer Snow are being updated to “Manager, Advanced Dental Education".

Specialty Terminology Q & A

What background led the Commission to make this decision?
The terminology the Commission uses is a carryover of the vocabulary used since 1975, when CODA assumed the policies of the Council on Dental Education and designated postdoctoral dental education programs as specialty programs, or general dentistry programs, based solely on the American Dental Association (ADA) Specialty Recognition Process. This does not reflect the changing environment of dental specialty recognition. Recently, the ADA established the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, which has authority to administer the specialty recognition process.  Additionally, over the past fifteen years, numerous state courts have determined that restricting specialty advertising to the “ADA Recognized Specialties” is restriction of free speech and restriction of trade. The Commission believes that the change in terminology decreases its legal risk in this area.

What is the current policy and authority of the Commission?
This terminology change comports with the scope of the Commission as recognized by the United States Department of Education, or USDE, which does not include specific language to distinguish between “advanced” and “advanced specialty” disciplines within dentistry. The Commission’s scope of recognition with the USDE is, quote: The accreditation of predoctoral dental education programs (leading to the D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree), advanced dental education programs, and allied dental education programs that are fully operational or have attained “Initial Accreditation” status, including programs offered via distance education.

If I have questions about this plan, whom do I contact?
You can contact Dr. Sherin Tooks at

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: