School of Dentistry to Receive Prestigious William J. Gies Award for Vision

Presented by the American Dental Education Association Gies Foundation

For video of the award presentation, click here.

The American Dental Education Association Gies Foundation will honor the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry with the ADEA Gies Foundation Award for Vision in recognition of the dental school’s role in advancing new standards for initial licensure of its dental graduates. In March, the U-M School of Dentistry will offer its 2010 graduates the opportunity to take the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) of Canada’s non-patient based licensure exam. The decision positions Minnesota as the first in the U.S. to move beyond reliance on examinations that require applicants for licensure to perform procedures on live patients. The change has the potential to influence the way dentists are licensed to practice throughout the U.S.

Traditionally, U.S. states have relied on patient-based licensure examinations that require a demonstration of clinical skills. Yet patient-based exams have long been criticized. Detractors question the validity of a one-day, high stakes exam to assess candidate abilities and express concerns about the use of live patients.

Says Patrick Lloyd, Dean of the School of Dentistry, “The validity of the NDEB examination to evaluate candidate qualifications for dental practice is well documented. “ The NDEB is a non patient-based exam which includes a written examination to test the application of basic science to clinical practice knowledge and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) that assesses diagnostic and clinical decision-making skills.

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry unanimously voted in June 2009 to accept the two-part Canadian exam to test the competence of U-M graduates applying for initial licensure. The decision followed a task force review of both the examination and the processes the dental school has developed to ensure that a quality group of students is admitted, an up-to-date and validated education is offered, and that systems are in place to assess competency on an ongoing basis and to promote and graduate students prepared to enter dental practice.

“We opened our doors to the Board of Dentistry,” says Lloyd. “Board members now have insights into the inner workings of the dental school and the knowledge that candidates applying for licensure are clinically competent, having been critically evaluated on an ongoing basis throughout their four years of dental education.” The decision to accept the exam as a condition for initial licensure to practice dentistry in Minnesota is an arrangement exclusive to University of Minnesota graduates, starting with the graduating class of 2010.

The Gies Awards will be presented at a highly anticipated celebration in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with the American Dental Education Association Annual Session, February 27-March 3, 2010.

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