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File a Complaint Against CODA or a CODA-Accredited Education Program

A complaint is defined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation as one alleging that a Commission-accredited educational program, a program which has an application for initial accreditation pending, or the Commission may not be in substantial compliance with Commission standards or required accreditation procedures.

A “formal” complaint is defined as a complaint filed in written (or electronic) form and signed by the complainant. This complaint should outline the specific policy, procedure or standard in question and rationale for the complaint including specific documentation or examples. Complainants who submit complaints verbally will receive direction to submit a formal complaint to the Commission in written, signed form following guidelines in the EOPP manual.

Students, faculty, constituent dental societies, state boards of dentistry, patients, and other interested parties may submit an appropriate, signed, formal complaint to the Commission on Dental Accreditation regarding any Commission accredited dental, allied dental or advanced dental education program, or a program that has an application for initial accreditation pending. An appropriate complaint is one that directly addresses a program’s compliance with the Commission’s standards, policies and procedures. The Commission is interested in the continued improvement and sustained quality of dental and dental-related education programs but does not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for treatment received by patients or individuals in matters of admission, appointment, promotion or dismissal of faculty, staff or students.

In accord with its responsibilities to determine compliance with accreditation standards, policies, and procedures, the Commission does not intervene in complaints as a mediator but maintains, at all times, an investigative role. This investigative approach to complaints does not require that the complainant be identified to the program. 

An “anonymous comment/complaint” is defined as an unsigned comment/complaint submitted to the Commission. All anonymous complaints will be reviewed by Commission staff to determine linkage to Accreditation Standards or CODA policy and procedures. If linkage to Accreditation Standards or CODA policy is identified, legal counsel, the Chair or the appropriate Review Committee, and the applicable Review Committee members may be consulted to assist in determining whether there is sufficient evidence of probable cause of noncompliance with the standard(s) or required accreditation policy(ies), or procedure(s) to proceed with an investigation. The initial screening is usually completed within thirty (30) days. If further investigation is warranted, the anonymous complaint will be handled as a formal complaint (See Formal Complaints); however, due to the anonymous nature of the submission, the Commission will not correspond with the complainant.

Anonymous comments/complaints determined to be unrelated to an Accreditation Standard or CODA policies and procedures, or those that do not provide sufficient evidence of probable cause of noncompliance with the standard(s) or required accreditation policy(ies), or procedure(s) to proceed, will be added to the respective program’s file for evaluation during the program’s next scheduled accreditation site visit. At the time of the site visit, the program and site visit team will be informed of the anonymous comment/complaint. The program will have an opportunity to respond to the anonymous comment/complaint; the response will be considered during the site visit evaluation. Anonymous comments/complaints will be assessed to determine trends in compliance with Commission standards, policies, and procedures. The assessment of findings related to the anonymous comments/complaint will be documented in the site visit report.

Interested parties may submit an appropriate, signed complaint to the Commission on Dental Accreditation regarding Commission policy(ies), procedure(s) or the implementation thereof. The Commission will determine whether the information submitted constitutes an appropriate complaint and will follow up according to the established procedures.

Review the documents available for download: