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NCD Letter to Penn Dental on CODA requirements

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

March 15, 2022

Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD
Morton Amsterdam Dean
University of Pennsylvania
School of Dental Medicine
240 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dear Dr. Wolff:

I am writing to you on behalf of the National Council on Disability (NCD). We are an independent federal agency charged with advising the President, his Administration, Congress, and federal agencies on matters of disability law and policy. For a number of years, NCD has embarked on an appraisal of healthcare access, treatment, and outcomes in patients with disabilities, including with respect to oral healthcare for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). NCD played a significant role in encouraging the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) to change its requirements in 2020 to state that all US dental schools must train their students to manage the treatment of patients with I/DD and other disabilities and to adopt curricula to do so.

It is my understanding that you will be hosting a meeting on March 23rd at the University of Pennsylvania Dental School for the American Dental Education Association where the reluctance of some dental schools to abide by the recent change in CODA’s requirements concerning patients with disabilities will be addressed. First and foremost, thank you for addressing this issue. NCD is committed to policy requiring that dental school graduates are competent in providing “hands on” skills in treating patients with complex and special needs. Accordingly, it is our hope that you will encourage your reluctant colleagues at the March 23 meeting to abide by CODA’s requirements. NCD commends those dental schools that have begun to train their students and encourage remaining dental schools to do the same. We stand ready to assist you in this endeavor and are happy to provide any technical assistance you may need as implementation continues.

Thank you for your time and efforts concerning this matter. If you would like to engage in further discussion concerning this matter, you can reach me via email at


Andrés J. Gallegos

An official website of the National Council on Disability