AAO Leaders Respond to Questions about CODA “Specialty” Wording Change

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Some members have expressed concerns and questions about the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s recent move to remove the word specialty from all CODA documentation, as well as its website. Instead, CODA recently communicated to its communities of interest that it will refer to all advanced dental education disciplines as advanced education programs.

“This is really a clarification to avoid a misunderstanding of CODA's role,” said Dr. Brent Larson, 2017-18 AAO president-elect. “CODA is responsible for accrediting dental education programs of all types and does not, and has not, been responsible for recognizing specialties.”

Last year, Dr. Larson served on an American Dental Association task force that developed a resolution - subsequently adopted by the ADA House of Delegates - calling for establishment of the ADA National Commission on the Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.
Dr. Steven Siegel, AAO Board member and chair of the AAO CODA Review Committee, explained that going forward, dental specialty recognition will be based on the following process:

♦ The ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure reviews and proposes revisions to the ADA Requirements for Recognition;
♦ The ADA House of Delegates will consider any proposed revisions to the Requirements for Recognition coming from the Council on Dental Education and Licensure;
♦ The new Commission on the Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards will apply existing/approved House-approved Requirements for Recognition when considering a request to grant a new specialty recognition.
The AAO has strongly advocated our position that a licensed dentist seeking specialty recognition must have successfully completed an advanced education program of at least two full-time academic years, and that the program be accredited by an agency that is recognized by the United States Department of Education.

“Ultimately, it is this new commission and the courts that now determine specialty recognition - not CODA,” said Dr. Siegel.
View the CODA Communication on Advanced Dental Education Programs

“Specialty recognition and other issues of great importance to our specialty and to the well-being of the public are occurring at the state and local levels,” added Dr. Siegel. “The AAO’s Component Legal Support Fund is here to help our members, but we can only provide help if we know about the issues. If you have any concerns about pending legislation that may affect specialty recognition or advertising as a specialist, please contact AAO Associate General Counsel Sean Murphy (800-424-2841, ext. 523, smurphy@aaortho.org) ."

Feb. 21, 2018

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