by Ellie Perkins - Dental Therapy Intern at Health Action New Mexico
Big news on the dental therapy front! The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), the organization responsible for accreditation of dental education facilities nationwide, adopted accreditation standards for dental therapy education programs on February 6th 2015. Now, Health Action NM, in partnership with numerous other national and local organizations, is asking CODA to begin implementing the newly adopted standards for existing and new educational programs.
So what is keeping CODA from implementing dental therapy education accreditation? According to the American Dental Association, further information on two criteria are needed before accreditation can take place: (1) has the allied dental education area been in operation for a sufficient period of time to establish benchmarks and adequately measure performance, and (2) is there evidence of need and support from the public and professional communities to sustain educational programs in the discipline. It is the position of Health Action NM that these criteria have clearly been met in the three dental therapy training programs already operating in Alaska and Minnesota and will be met as more states establish dental therapy education programs to address the lack of access to dental care for underserved communities in their state. The time is now to start implementing accreditation standards. Click here to read our letter to CODA.