CODA grants accreditation to first international predoctoral dental education program
August 26, 2019
The Commission on Dental Accreditation announced in August it accredited a predoctoral dental education program at the King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia — becoming the first international predoctoral dental education program to receive the accreditation.
The Commission, at its Aug. 1 meeting, granted an accreditation status of Approval Without Reporting Requirements. This means that students from the university who are enrolled and successfully complete the program at the time of accreditation will be considered graduates of an accredited program. Students who graduated from the program prior to Aug. 1 are not considered graduates of an accredited program.
“An important reason international programs apply for CODA accreditation is to be assessed against CODA’s requirements,” said Dr. Arthur C. Jee, CODA chair. “The CODA accreditation evaluation process ensures and improves educational quality in post-secondary education. This likewise improves and consistently elevates educational standards. We congratulate and look forward to working with the international predoctoral dental education program sponsored by the King Abdulaziz University, and their promotion of continuous quality and improvement of their program through the Commission’s accreditation process.”
The international consultation and accreditation process stems back in 1999, when CODA received a request from the California State Board of Dental Examiners for assistance in developing guidelines the state board can use to comply with a state law. In 1998, the state had enacted a law that created an approval process by the California Board of Dental Examiners for foreign dental schools that apply, according to the commission.
After several resolutions and studies, the CODA international process was born from ADA House of Delegates Resolution 39H-2005, which offered support for the Commission’s initiative to offer consultation and accreditation services to international dental schools. It also created the Joint ADA/CODA Advisory Committee “to provide guidance to the commission in the selection, development and implementation of an international program of consultation and accreditation for dental education,” according to a 2006 CODA annual report.
Requirements for international predoctoral dental education programs accredited by the Commission are equivalent to requirements for U.S.-based programs.
Prior to applying for accreditation, an international program must undergo an international consultation and preliminary accreditation consultation visit (PACV) process, which involves four stages: completion of the PACV survey; observation of a CODA dental school site visit and individual consultation; PACV self-study and consultation visit; and application to the commission’s accreditation process.
Since 2007, the joint committee (now called the Standing Committee on International Accreditation since ADA House of Delegates Resolution 53H-2015), has accepted PACV surveys from international predoctoral dental education programs that are interested in the Commission’s accreditation program through the four-stage process.
The commission’s Standing Committee on International Accreditation assesses the program’s progress through the first three stages. However, according to the commission, a positive determination from the standing committee does not guarantee the application for accreditation by the commission will be successful.
The Commission on Dental Accreditation assesses the application for accreditation at stage four, using the same policies, procedures and accreditation standards that are in place for U.S.-based programs.
A CODA accreditation does not mean graduates from King Abdulaziz University are licensed to practice dentistry in the U.S. Licensure for a graduate of any program accredited by CODA is still dictated by individual states' practice acts. The final authority on licensure requirements rests with the individual state dental boards or similar agency.