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Council initiates study of criteria, process for specialty recognition

January 07, 2013

By Karen Fox, ADA News staff

San Francisco—Based on a charge from the 2012 House of Delegates, over the next year the Council on Dental Education and Licensure will take another look at the criteria and process for specialty recognition to determine if changes are needed.

In October, the House approved Resolution 185H-2012, which directs CDEL to review the process and criteria for approving interest areas in general dentistry and recognizing dental specialties and report to the 2013 House with appropriate recommendations on how to improve the process and evaluation criteria. In the meantime, the ADA will not accept any application for recognition of a specialty in dentistry.

As a first step, Dr. Ronald Venezie, CDEL chair, assigned his council's Committee on Recognition to begin compiling information based on past studies, procedures followed by other health professions and input from the two districts (9th and 17th) that offered resolutions to the House that ultimately resulted in Res. 185H.

Dr. Venezie
“This is not the first time the criteria and process for specialty recognition have been looked at,” said Dr. Venezie. “The ADA last conducted a study in 2000-01, and the Committee on Recognition is now reviewing those past efforts. I have asked committee members to come up with a preliminary analysis by the end of January.

“The committee may conclude that we need an in-depth study with input from a broader group of stakeholders,” he continued. “On the other hand, the committee may conclude that the current specialty recognition process and criteria are appropriate and work as intended. The council will thoroughly review the committee's recommendations and determine how to proceed from there.”

There are currently nine ADA-recognized dental specialties. In 1999, oral and maxillofacial radiology became the first new specialty to be recognized in 36 years. In 2012, a specialty application for dental anesthesiology advanced to the House of Delegates but failed to pass.

“We will take a very careful look at specialty recognition as directed by Res. 185H. We intend to be as thorough and comprehensive as we can and come back to the House with a recommendation as to whether the process should continue as is or should be changed,” said Dr. Venezie.