News and Updates

Letter to ADA from American Assoc. of Dental Boards on Licensure Testing

Here is the letter from the AADB president expressing concerns on the ADA position on patient based licensure exams, OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Exam). 

American Association of Dental Boards (AADB)

Dr. Gary L. Roberts, President American Dental Association 10987 Angelles Cove Shreveport, LA 71106
Dr. Joseph P. Crowley, President-Elect American Dental Association 3475 North Bend Road Cincinnati, OH 45239
Dr. Kathleen T. O'Loughlin Executive Director and Secretary American Dental Association 211 East Chicago Avenue Chicago, IL 60611 May 5, 2017

RE: ADA's Proposed National OSCE Examination

Dear Drs. Roberts, Crowley, and O'Loughlin:

The dental profession is fraught with a wide range of interesting, and at times controversial, issues. None of these issues has drawn more discussion and resulted in more angst than the subject of licensure testing. This observation was reinforced by the ADA Board of Trustees' recent vote to create a national objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) and the ADA's publication of a group of "Talking Points for State Dental Societies" on April 12, 2017 in support of the proposed new exam. These recent actions by the ADA were discussed at the MidYear meeting of the American Association of Dental Boards (AADB) on April 23-24, 2017. The AADB membership unanimously passed a resolution directing the AADB Board of Directors to respond to the ADA. Herein is our response.
Initially, AADB wishes to emphasize that it supports a full and complete discussion and debate on the twin questions of whether there should be a national exam and whether any such national exam should have a patient-based component. Just such an open discussion occurred at the conclusion of both plenary sessions of the recent AADB Mid-Year Meeting. ADA representatives attended those sessions and made presentations, both formal from the podium and informal from the floor. While emotions at times ran high, the discussion among ADA and AADB members was professional and informative.
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 760 • Chicago, IL 60611 • Tel. 312.440.7464 • FAX 312.440.3525
Second, AADB recognizes and completely supports the basic principle that each state dental board retains the full power to determine which tests will be accepted for licensure within its jurisdiction. Not surprisingly, achieving 50-state unanimity as to which tests will be accepted and whether these tests should have a patient-based component is virtually impossible. But one thing is certain: state dental boards will resist efforts by any organization to force them to accept a particular test. We respect their autonomy in these decisions.
Third, AADB respectfully asks ADA to reconsider its decision to develop a national OSCE, whether that exam has a patient-based component or not. Healthcare trade associations and professional organizations seldom develop the licensure tests for their members who practice that trade or profession. The mission of a professional association is different from a regulatory body, where one has the mission to support its members and the other to protect the public. The best way to avoid a conflict of interest is to prevent creating a regulatory scheme or structure in which such a conflict might arise. Those who are to be regulated should not be the ones to provide the test for licensure. We ask that the ADA Board of Trustees and the House of Delegates take a fresh look at the scope of responsibility for the ADA in these matters.
Finally, AADB has substantial reservations about ADA's position on patient-based licensure exams. While unanimity on an issue is, as already noted, seldom achievable, a considerable majority of AADB's state dental board members believe that an exam with a patient-based component is preferable to an exam without one. These boards also believe that there is ample expert opinion, data, and literature to support this position. AADB seeks careful analysis and discussion of ADA's assertions and empirical data relating to the reliability of patient-based exams.
We look forward to continuing the dialogue on this vital issue.

Dr. Jill M. Burns President American Association of Dental Boards

cc: AADB Board of Directors; Executive Directors, State Boards of Dentistry
ADA Officers, Trustees, Staff: Dr. Rickland G. Asai; Dr. Robert N. Bitter;
Dr. Richard C. Black; Dr. Raymond A. Cohlmia; Dr. Jeffrey M. Cole;
Dr. Judith M. Fisch; Dr. Chad P. Gehani; Dr. Glen D. Hall; Dr. Gary E. Jeffers;
Dr. Daniel J. Klemmedson; Dr. Andrew J. Kwasny; Dr. Billie Sue Kyger;
Dr. Ronald P. Lemmo; Dr. Kenneth McDougall; Dr. Irene Marron-Tarrazzi;
Dr. G. Lewis Mitchell, Jr.; Dr. Kirk M. Norbo; Dr. Lindsey A. Robinson;
Dr. Cesar R. Sabates; Dr. Alvin W. Stevens, Jr.; Dr. W. Roy Thompson;
Dr. Anthony Ziebert

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