At its August 2017 meeting, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) granted full accreditation to A.T. Still University-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-MOSDOH), Missouri’s newest dental school.
CODA, established in 1975, is nationally recognized by the United States Department of Education as the sole agency to accredit dental and dental-related education programs conducted at the post-secondary level. CODA’s mission is to serve the oral health care needs of the public through the development and administration of standards that foster continuous quality improvement of dental and dental-related educational programs.
“Receiving full accreditation is a tribute to our ATSU-MOSDOH leadership team, faculty, staff, our communities, and students,” said ATSU President Craig M. Phelps, DO, 84. “To everyone from Kirksville to St. Louis and each of our community health center partners throughout Missouri and the region, thank you for believing in this innovative, community health-based dental education model, which is positively affecting the lives of so many.”
CODA conducted its site visit April 11-13, 2017, at ATSU-MOSDOH’s Missouri campus, St. Louis Dental Education and Oral Health Center (St. Louis Dental Center), and several community health center partners with whom ATSU-MOSDOH dental students complete their educational experiences and curriculum.
“By achieving full accreditation status, ATSU-MOSDOH has succeeded in its promise to graduate its first class of 42 competent, talented professionals who will become leaders in their communities,” said ATSU-MOSDOH Dean Dwight E. McLeod, DDS, MS.
ATSU-MOSDOH graduated its inaugural class June 10, 2017. From its inception, ATSU-MOSDOH’s focus has been to address disparities in and increase access to oral healthcare for Missouri’s most vulnerable populations and across the nation. Students spend their first and second year studying basic sciences and basic principles of patient care in the classroom and complete dental simulation exercises at the Kirksville campus. During the third and fourth years, students transition to a clinical environment by providing faculty-supervised patient care at the St. Louis Dental Center.
The St. Louis Dental Center, which is operated in partnership with St. Louis’ Affinia Healthcare, provides the setting for ATSU-MOSDOH’s core dental clinical curriculum. The innovative partnership with Affinia Healthcare provides access to oral healthcare for St. Louis and Missouri residents while allowing ATSU-MOSDOH to focus on the educational elements of comprehensive patient care and Affinia Healthcare to manage the clinical operations.
“All of us at Affinia Healthcare are extremely proud of ATSU-MOSDOH for such an impressive achievement,” said Alan O. Freeman, MBA, FACHE, president and CEO, Affinia Healthcare. “This critical milestone serves to strengthen the valued affiliation between ATSU and Affinia Healthcare as we work together to address the workforce shortage in oral health services and increase care provided to an underserved population.”