Wednesday, March 14, 2007

IDA President Advocates Doing Away with Clinical Boards

Dr. Tom Grimes, President of the Iowa Dental Association, has asked that the following excerpt from his President's message that will appear in the April issue of the Iowa Dental Journal be sent out via this medium -- partly because it gives the membership an avenue to respond or comment immediately.

"Included in this month's (April 2007) issue of the Journal is an important and timely original study entitled, "Association between performance on dental licensure examination and faculty evaluations of clincial competence at graduation". This article concludes that over a 7-year period "the clinical competency of students who failed the CRDTS examination was essentially the same as the clinical competency of those who passed the examination". Thus, the CRDTS examination does not appear to be a very useful instrument in distinguishing between competent and incompetent practitioners among graduating senior dental students.

The article is timely because nationally, dental licensure is in a state of flux. Debate continues over the development of a uniform examination and over the use of human subjects on licensure exams. It can be challenging for dental students to obtain current examination requirements from state boards as a result of the competing national and regional clinical licensure examinations.

New York has eliminated the clincial exam as a requirement for initial licensure effective 2007. Some states offer the option of completing a residency or passing a clinical exam (California, Connecticut, and Minnesota). I favor licensure for all U of I College of Dentistry graduates, with or without a clinical exam or a one-year residency program, if they practice in Iowa. Changes such as this can be done on a state-to-state basis. Dental boards in 46 states grant licenses to dentists currently licensed and in active, continuous practice for a specific period of time (typically 5 years) without further theoretical or clinical examinations."

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