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Letters: Licensure

February 05, 2018

I would like to write a reply to Dr. Harvey Weingarten's letter to the editor that appeared in the Jan. 8 issue of the ADA News. I have been an ADA member for 40 years, and I think it is my duty to support my professional organization. However, my reply is succinct. The ADA has been a total failure in the realm of licensure reciprocity. I have been a licensed dentist in New York my entire career. Does that mean that I would be judged to be totally incompetent if I wanted to go to New Jersey or California or Florida? I think that if we have been trained in the U.S. and are licensed in one state, then our skills do not deteriorate when we cross a state line. I will admit that I have a Brooklyn accent so that in the south I may be hard to understand. But I still do a filling or crown or endo the same way in New York City or Miami. The ADA should push for uniform national licensure so that we can practice wherever we want to or need to. It is too late in my career to boycott the ADA, but I hope younger members recognize this and realize what a raw deal we get on licensure. Dues of over $1,000 a year should get us some recognition on this issue.

Jack Irwin, D.D.S.
Brooklyn, New York

Editor's note from Drs. Robert Bitter, ADA 8th District trustee, and Cecile Feldman, dean of the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine: As co-chairs of the Task Force on Assessment of Readiness for Practice, we thank Dr. Irwin for sharing his points about dentists' demonstrated competence and the need for professional mobility across state lines. The ADA has made dental licensure portability a priority for the past three years, and will continue to do so for 2018. The ADA has long-standing policy in support of increased mobility for dentists; however, this is a complex issue and the ADA has no direct control over which exams and credentials states will accept. In 2018, the ADA will assemble and be a founding co-sponsor (along with American Dental Education Association and American Student Dental Association) of a national coalition for dental licensure reform, with the goal of increasing licensure portability through dialogue with state dental boards and state legislatures. The national coalition will advocate for the removal of barriers to mobility in those states that currently do not accept the results of all available valid and reliable clinical exams. The national coalition will release a "call to action" outlining its recommendations this spring and it hopes to identify those states which are amenable to change. This advocacy will be done in coordination with the state dental associations and dental schools. We welcome input from the dental communities of interest on this issue of great significance to our profession. Contact us at