A Few Words from AADB President Robert Zena, D.M.D.
The American Association of Dental Boards was founded in 1883, led by Dr. Jonathan Taft and others, to organize the Dental Boards across the nation. He also founded the beginnings of the American Dental Educators Association and was a leader in promoting women in dentistry, and the formation of the United States Army Dental Corps. The AADB began the testing of graduating students to ensure the standards of the profession were in place in order to protect the public. The association also approved dental schools to ensure these standards. The guidelines for professional practice were overseen by the AADB.
In that same spirit, the AADB is initiating the Accredited Continuing Education program, ACE. Continuing education requirements by the State/Territory Boards have evolved over the years to assure providers keep informed of changes regarding the practice of dentistry. The premise of continuing education is to protect the public by educating dental professionals of current knowledge to hopefully improve the care delivered by them.
The present state of continuing education has reached a point of dilution of these original standards.
Several reasons for this evolvement are responsible. Technology has created many formats as options to traditional means to deliver courses, such as virtual formats, and the internet to increase availability.
Quality assurance of courses by private organizations has encouraged that sector to set the standards of continuing education. Consequently, a wide array of subject matter has arisen that pushes the boundaries of relevance. As we know, materials dictate technique. Dental providers rely heavily on materials that are highly sensitive to how they are utilized. However, the lack of documentation and monitoring of courses was a problem. A system is needed so the certification management of courses and credits given will be easily accountable.
The American Association of Dental Boards has created the ACE Program for accreditation of continuing education. The ACE program will accredit courses to assure State/Territory Boards that the course meets strict quality assurance for content and relevance to protect the public. We have a simplified application process to potentially lead to final approval for each course. Once approved, the courses will be strictly monitored, and any course certificates will be issued directly to the attendees. An accounting of CE credits will be collected by the AADB in our database. CE will be accredited and managed by the ACE program.
Robert Zena, D.M.D.
The American Association of Dental Boards’ new Accredited Continuing Education (ACE) Program is a reliable resource for dental boards that includes a stringent process that assures the quality of approved courses.
The first question: “How does your course better enable the participant’s ability to protect the public?” is fundamental. The course director must show how his or her course educates a licensee to better enable them to protect the public through knowledge. This basic question excludes many potentially frivolous courses that can’t meet this basic requirement.
Potential courses are required to reveal information regarding the course and the course creator. Course description, outline, and teaching objectives, as well as format and length, must be described. Careful analysis of that information is then considered prior to approval.
The other key factors, who is the course creator(s), what are their educational achievements, what is their experience relative to the topic, and documentation of such are integral parts of the process. Simply, are they qualified to educate others on this subject?
Another area of concern for the AADB is the training for the person(s) giving the course. This training must be described in detail. Course providers must be properly trained and identified with documentation.
Materials dictate technique. Dentistry is a material-dependent discipline. Dentistry is also technology-dependent. Companies are encouraged to lend their knowledge and guidance to better care thus protecting the public.
We at the AADB take this process very seriously. The AADB is committed to assuring state and territorial dental boards the courses approved by ACE are highly credible and have been thoroughly vetted before approval.