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Letters: Licensure reform

October 11, 2021

The Sept. 13 My View “Licensure Reform: The Case for Eliminating the Clinical Exam” by Jonathan Nash, D.D.S., strikes me as a bridge to nowhere good.  It is not embarrassing to me that the dental profession remains the only health care profession that “subjects” its candidates to licensure to this mode of testing.  Rather, it is a source of professional pride (it is OK to be different and arguably better at licensure than other professions).  I think this form of testing is an excellent service to the public, and by comparison with the alternatives it is also good for students.  This single-episode/performance-based (SE/PB) test motivates students to become good clinicians, and it provides a yardstick for measuring the performance of dental schools in educating the students who seek licensure. Performance of neither students nor the institutions they attend should be taken for granted based on “time served” in school. Testing has evolved and will rightfully continue to evolve as times change, but the idea that everyone gets a trophy just for showing up is a nonstarter for me and for many other experienced clinicians. I have no problem with the “Ohio Model”; any SE/PB test is better than nothing.  Thank you to the many outstanding clinicians who have served as dental board examiners over the last 100 years. I hope that future generations (of all concerned stakeholders) will be mindful of your success and find the means to carry on in the same spirit of public service.

George T. Felt, D.D.S.
Moultonborough, New Hampshire