Odontology March 2015 News Update

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source: Iain A. Pretty, DDS, PhD, Section Chair

I do hope you all had a safe journey from Orlando, and for those members who weren’t able to join us, you missed a great program put together by Adam Freeman and supported by all of our presenters. Our business meeting this year saw the approval of some significant changes to our educational requirements for Associate Member. I wanted to take this opportunity to share them with you. As you know, dental programs do not confer forensic knowledge and so it is necessary to ensure that additional training and education be taken for advancement in the forensic odontology discipline. In the past, this has been accomplished through a points-based system and there has been a range of courses, mainly in the United States, that were “approved.” This was becoming problematic for a number of reasons:

  • Our international colleagues often struggled to attend these events and have undertaken similar courses in their own countries but these were not “approved.”
  • The courses often ran for five days, which can be a large commitment for busy dental practitioners, who may prefer to acquire their learning through more numerous shorter courses.
  • It prevented the production of discrete, individual learning elements around topics of interest.
  • We were “approving” courses but were not really able to assure their quality or standard.

It’s important to note that none of these changes represent a reduction in the requirements for promotion within the section – this is merely an attempt to make the process more transparent, fair, and accessible. Therefore, we approved the following changes in Orlando:

For promotion to Associate Member, applicants will have to provide evidence of a total of 40 hours of education in forensic science applicable to odontology (based on our previous system of ten points, with one point per half day). Of these, four hours each must be demonstrated in: bitemarks, human identification, and either DVI or age estimation. In order to be accepted for promotion, course certificates must be submitted that provide clear learning aims and objectives and well as outcomes. There is no need for specific “hands on” work, but we would encourage individuals to seek out those courses that offer best educational experiences. As previously required as well as given the rapid pace of change in forensic science, all courses submitted for promotion must have been taken in the past seven years. Full details of the changes to the educational requirements will be posted online shortly.

We hope that these changes encourage members to apply for promotion, to enable course providers to develop enhanced offerings, and to broaden our requirements to consider new means of delivering content.