Sat | Apr 29, 2017

Jamaica produces world-class dentists

Published:Monday | May 4, 2015 | 5:00 AMIrving McKenzie

Contrary to views expressed recently in the media, the University of Technology (UTech) has made the strategic decision to ensure that graduates of the College of Oral Health Sciences are qualified according to world-class standards.

Later this month, 23 dental surgeon students of the College of Oral Health Sciences at UTech, along with two faculty members and a locally registered dentist, will sit the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment (CDCA) examination in Jamaica for the first time. The United States-based CDCA is the largest and most renowned dental competency assessment body in the world - it is the gold standard for dental competency assessment.

The UTech dental surgeon students represent the first group of Jamaican-trained dentists to sit the CDCA examination. This has been made possible by the CDCA amending its by-laws and accepting the membership application from the Ministry of Health and the Dental Council of Jamaica, thereby making Jamaica the first country outside the continental USA to become a full member of the commission and the American Board of Dental Examiner (ADEX).

Many jurisdictions regard the CDCA/ADEX assessment as a critical part of their regulatory framework to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public, and ensure proper standards for dental professionals by administering an independently organised and objective competency examination for dental professionals. This examination has the highest level of reliability and validity in dental competency assessment.

The people of Jamaica can be justly proud that the graduating dentists, having successfully passed this most objective method of assessment, are competent dental professionals that are eligible for licensure by the Dental Council of Jamaica and the licensing bodies of many States in the USA, countries in the region and elsewhere in the world.

In the field of dentistry, Jamaica led the way in the region with the implementation of one of the greatest public-health interventions - the fluoridation of table salt in 1985 that resulted a decade later in a significant reduction in the levels of decay, filled and missing teeth (DMFT) indices among our 12-year-old population.

On May 18-20, 2015 Jamaica will again make history in the region!

• Irving McKenzie is dean of the College of Oral Sciences at UTech. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.