My last trip of the year was on Dec. 9. That trip ended a week that saw me in the air every day visiting New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The last trip was a great one. I learned some things, met some great, dedicated people, and had some fun as well.
A few months ago, the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry - which is the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s (AACD) credentialing author-ity - invited me to observe its process of credentialing at its offices in Madison, Wis. When I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac in Madison, I was hit by a bone-chilling cold wind. I thought maybe I should get back on the plane and go home, but I struggled through the cold and made it to the AACD office.
I was greeted warmly by Dr. Brad Olson, the accreditation chairman, who made me feel at home. Brad explained that the AACD has worked hard to perfect the process that allows members to become accredited. They now have a credentialing process that is calibrated, attainable, and interesting. The AACD wanted to share the integrity of the process with other prominent dental professionals and dental organizations. Many were invited, but I was the only one who ventured into the cold north country to observe the process. I was very interested because I had heard stories that, during the early days, the process was not without its problems.
Dr. Olson spent nearly a half hour explaining the process that the examiners were going through. All of the examiners are accredited members of the AACD, so they have all been through the process. The protocol for examining the cases starts with the fact that all are anonymous and identified only by a number. Favoritism is impossible. The board decided just recently to accept digital images in addition to the traditional slides. So, the examiners view both. Each case is examined on a strict rating standard by five examiners. A simple majority is needed to pass the case, but one of the dissenting examiners can appeal the case.
I was able to observe the three groups of examiners and allowed to ask questions for clarification or if I did not agree with their decisions. It was an extremely interesting day. In the cases that I observed, I completely agreed with the decisions of the examiners. In fact, it made me feel good that I was able to see the problems that caused cases to fail the process. In cases that failed, the examiners thoroughly explained why they were unacceptable and what changes should be made to make the case acceptable.
At the end of the day, what I saw was a very fair group of volunteers who had given three days of their time to serve fellow dentists who are on a quest to be the best that they can be. This was certainly not about seeing how many cases the examiners could fail. It was about helping members along the course that leads to accreditation. The AACD should be justifiably proud of the integrity that has been built into this process by the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry. I congratulate you for a job well done.
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Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor - e-mail: email@example.com
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