by Rodney Tanaka

Senior Communications Writer

The College of Dental Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. has received initial accreditation as it prepares to welcome its inaugural class in August 2009.

The college submitted its initial application for accreditation to the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA) in March 2008 and had a site visit Oct. 14-15, 2008.

CODA, at its Jan. 29-30, 2009 meeting, granted the DMD program "initial accreditation" and authorized the use of the following statement for Western University of Health Sciences to announce their dental program accreditation status:

"The dental education program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation [and has been granted the accreditation status of initial accreditation]. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education. The Commission on Dental Accreditation can be contacted at (312) 440-4653 or at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611-2678."

Dental schools in the United States are accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation, a specialized accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Commission has sole authority for the accreditation of approximately 1,300 educational programs in dental and dental-related disciplines, which include pre-doctoral dental education, dental assisting, dental hygiene, dental laboratory technology, general practice residency, advanced education in general dentistry, as well as the nine recognized dental specialties.

New or developing dental education programs are developed in accordance with the established Accreditation Standards for Dental Education, a copy of which can be found on the Commission on Dental Accreditation’s area of www.ada.org at Accreditation Standards for Dental Education Programs.

Now that the dental education program has been granted "initial accreditation" status, a site visit will be conducted in the second year of the program, and then again prior to the graduation of the first class. The classification of "initial accreditation" is applicable until the program is fully operational.

The College of Dental Medicine will accept about 64 incoming freshman in its inaugural class.

Students who enter and graduate from a dental program with "initial accreditation" status are eligible for licensure in all states and US territories, and can apply to specialty programs. To learn more, visit our accreditation page at http://westernu.edu/xp/edu/dentistry/accreditation.xml.

"The Initial Accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, along with the previous approval granted by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, represents a major milestone in the development of what we believe will be a distinctive, innovative program in dental education. Approval by these national agencies attests to the high quality of our developing College, which will follow in the longstanding tradition on the part of Western University in graduating caring, competent health care providers," notes Dr. James J. Koelbl, Dean of the College of Dental Medicine.

Click here for additional media coverage of the College of Dental Medicine’s initial accreditation.