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Commission on Dental Accreditation History

Historical Perspective

The 1973 American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates approved establishment of the Commission on Accreditation of Dental and Dental Auxiliary Educational Programs (Appendix 1.3). Inherent in this action was the transfer of the dental profession’s accreditation program from the Association’s Council on Dental Education to the newly formed Commission, effective January 1, 1975. The 12 members of the ADA Council on Dental Education also served on the 20-member Board of Commissioners.

The 1979 House of Delegates voted to change the name of the Commission on Accreditation of Dental and Dental Auxiliary Educational Programs to the current name – Commission on Dental Accreditation.

In 1996, the ADA House of Delegates adopted two resolutions (84H-1996 and 142H-1996) calling for restructuring of the ADA’s Council on Dental Education and the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Specifically, members of the Council on Dental Education no longer serve concurrently on the Commission. The Council and Commission became two agencies with separate memberships at the adjournment of the 1997 ADA House of Delegates.

The Commission’s Position in the American Dental Association’s Organization

The duties and responsibilities of the Commission on Dental Accreditation are limited to matters relating to accreditation of programs for dental, advanced dental and allied dental education. The Commission has autonomy and final authority in matters relating to program evaluation, accreditation status and accreditation policies and guidelines. In addition, the Commission has authority for developing and approving accreditation standards for the disciplines (listed previously) under its purview. By reciprocal agreement, programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada are also recognized by CODA.

The disciplines identified as being within the purview of the Commission’s accreditation authority include:

  • Predoctoral Dentistry
  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (Residency and Fellowship)
  • Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (Residency and Fellowship)
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics
  • General Practice Residency
  • Advanced Education in General Dentistry
  • Dental Anesthesiology
  • Oral Medicine
  • Orofacial Pain
  • Dental Assisting
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Dental Laboratory Technology
  • Dental Therapy

Review and Practice 1.4: What is the relationship of the Commission to the American Dental Association?

Commission Responsibilities

The Bylaws of the American Dental Association describe the duties of the Commission on Dental Accreditation:

  • formulate and adopt requirements and guidelines for the accreditation of dental, advanced dental and allied dental educational programs
  • accredit dental, advanced dental and allied dental educational programs
  • provide a means for appeal from an adverse decision of the accrediting body of the Commission to a separate and distinct body of the Commission whose membership shall be totally different from that of the accrediting body of the Commission
  • submit an annual report to the House of Delegates of this Association and interim reports, on request
  • submit the Commission’s annual budget to the Board of Trustees of the Association
  • submit the Commission’s articles of incorporation and rules and amendments thereto to this Association’s House of Delegates for approval by majority vote

The Rules of the Commission on Dental Accreditation was first approved by the House of Delegates in 1973. Revisions to the Rules were approved in 1982, 1987 1997, 2002, 2010, and 2012, and 2015. (Appendix 1).

Criteria for Accountability

Recognition criteria ensure that accrediting agencies are responsive to public needs and are representative of those groups affected by the accreditation program. Each accrediting agency must be structured to: a) provide adequate representation and autonomy at the decision-making level, and b) provide a mechanism whereby due process is afforded the participating educational program. The following principles of accountability and due process have been applied in structuring the Commission:

  • providing appropriate representation from groups affected by accreditation decisions - Accountability within dental education demands that the accrediting agency include representation from dental, advanced dental and allied dental organizations, the consumer or lay public, and students
  • establishing sufficient autonomy to render impartial decisions
  • establishing responsibility and authority to develop and approve educational standards and policies related to accreditation
  • providing the educational institution or program every opportunity to participate in the decision-making process prior to reaching a decision on accreditation status
  • ensuring that accreditation actions are not arbitrary, but based on full disclosure of all information pertaining to or affecting the accreditation decision
  • establishing an effective appeal process

Composition of the Commission on Dental Accreditation

Organizational Representation

            Appointments

American Dental Association (ADA)            

4 members

American Association of Dental Boards (AADB)

4 members

American Dental Education Association (ADEA)         

4 members

Special Care Dentistry Association (SCDA), American Dental Education Association (ADEA), American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists (ASDA), American Academy of Oral Medicine (AAOM), and American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP)     

1 member

American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD)

1 members   

American Association of Endodontists (AAE)  1 member 
American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP)  1 member 
American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR) 1 member
American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS)  1 member 
American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) 1 member 
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)  1 member 
American Academy of Periodontology (AAP)  1 member 
American College of Prosthodontists (ACP)  1 member 

American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA)

1 member

American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA)         

1 member

National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL)          

1 member

Public

4 members   

American Student Dental Association/American Dental Education Association (Student)

1 member

Total  

30 members

Commission members are selected by and represent a broad community of interest. Each participating organization has the responsibility for selecting its representative(s), within criteria established by the Commission. All dentist Commissioners must be ADA members. The representatives of the ADAA and the NADL must be certified dental assistants and laboratory technicians respectively, and the representative of the ADHA must be a licensed dental hygienist. Representatives selected by the discipline specific dental organizations must be board certified in their respective special area of practice as appropriate.

Terms of Office

Commissioners serve a single four-year term, except for the student member who serves one two-year term. Consumer or public representatives to the Commission are selected from an appropriate national business, union or similar organization and serve one four-year term.

Chair’s Term of Office

The chair is elected annually by the Commission members and, like all dentists who serve on the Commission, must be a member of the ADA.

Review Committees of the Commission

Preliminary program review and consideration of other accreditation matters is a function of Commission Review Committees. The committees are:

Review Committee Abbreviation

Review Committee Names

Predoc RC

Review Committee on Predoctoral Dental Education

AGDOO RC

Review Committee on Advanced Education in General Dentistry, General Practice Residency, Dental Anesthesiology, Oral Medicine and Orafacial Pain Education

DA RC

Review Committee on Dental Assisting Education

DH RC

Review Committee on Dental Hygiene Education

DLT RC

Review Committee on Dental Laboratory Technology Education

DPH RC

Review Committee on Dental Public Health Education

ENDO RC

Review Committee on Endodontics Education

OMP RC

Review Committee on Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology Education

OMR RC

Review Committee on Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology

OMS RC

Review Committee on Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Education

ORTHO RC

Review Committee on Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics Ed

PED RC

Review Committee on Pediatric Dentistry Education

PERIO RC

Review Committee on Periodontics Education

PROS RC

Review Committee on Prosthodontics Education

 

Responsibilities of the Review Committees

These committees make recommendations related to: program accreditation status, procedures and policy, accreditation standards, and other related educational issues. Their recommendations are forwarded to the Commission for consideration and final action.

Commission members are frequently appointed to one of the above committees, or in the case of the chair and student commissioners, to serve as ex-officio members of all committees.

Review Committee Composition

Predoctoral Review Committee (8 members)

1 discipline-specific Commissioner appointed by ADEA

1 public member

3 dental educators who are involved with a predoctoral dental education program (two of whom must be general dentists)

1 general dentist*

1 specialty dentist*

* one of whom is a practitioner and the other an educator

1 dental assistant, hygienist, dental therapist or dental laboratory technology professional educator

1 dental therapist educator

Advanced Review Committees (5-11 members each committee)

1 discipline-specific Commissioner appointed by specialty sponsoring organization

1 public member

1 discipline specific organization representative

1 discipline specific certifying board representative

1 general dentist

1 discipline specific certifying board or organization representative*

* this individual is only present in 6 member review committees

Advanced Education in General Dentistry, General Practice Residency, Dental Anesthesiology, Oral Medicine and Orofacial Pain Review Committee (11 members)

1 discipline-specific Commissioner appointed by ADEA, SCDA, ASDA, AAOM and AAOP

1 public member

2 GPR educators

2 AEGD educators

1 oral medicine educator

1 dental anesthesiology educator

1 orofacial pain educator

1 general dentist graduate of a GPR or AEGD

1 non-general* dentist
*a dentist who has completed an advanced dental education program in dental public health, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial pathology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics or prosthodontics

1 higher education or hospital administrator with past or present experience in administration in a teaching institution

Dental Hygiene Review Committee (9-11 members)

1 discipline-specific Commissioner appointed by ADHA

1 public member

4 dental hygiene educators

2 dental hygiene practitioners

1 dentist (general or specialist)

1 dentist educator

1 higher education administrator

Dental Assisting Review Committee (10 members)

1 discipline-specific Commissioner appointed by ADAA

1 public member

2 general dentists (practitioner or educator)

5 dental assisting educators

1 dental assisting practitioner who is a graduate of a CODA-accredited program

Dental Laboratory Technology Review Committee (5 members)

1 discipline-specific Commissioner appointed by NADL

1 public member

1 general dentist

1 dental laboratory technology educator

1 dental laboratory owner

Costs

Costs for convening the review committees are assumed by the Commission.