DMACC dental assisting and hygiene programs receive full accreditation

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DMACC's dental hygiene and assisting programs have received full accreditation. (Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images) | Los programas de higiene y asistencia dental de DMACC han recibido la acreditación completa. (Foto de Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)
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By Brooklyn Draisey, Iowa Capital Dispatch

DMACC’s dental hygiene and assisting programs have received full accreditation. (Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

Des Moines Area Community College has received full accreditation for its dental assisting and hygiene programs after addressing concerns from its accreditor that had put the college in danger of losing its accreditation.

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According to a DMACC news release, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) granted the programs the status of “approval without reporting requirements” at its February meeting. DMACC Dental Programs Coordinator Johanna Land said in the release that this status means the programs have met or exceeded the basic requirements for accreditation.

“This is the best result DMACC could have hoped for, and it matches the quality that we believe our program has,” DMACC President Rob Denson said in an interview with Iowa Capital Dispatch.

CODA had signaled its intent to withdraw accreditation for the dental assisting program due to concerns with the program’s sterilization space not meeting standards, ensuring only one student works at each chair station, providing more information on faculty and clarifying syllabi content. The accreditor voiced these concerns in August 2022 after its visit to campus.

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Health & Public Services Dean Jeanie McCarville-Kerber told the DMACC board of directors in December that a comprehensive response addressing the concerns was sent to CODA in November before the reporting deadline. The college has updated the facilities and language cited by the accreditor.

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McCarville-Kerber said in the release she is proud of the full accreditation status and that DMACC will continue to “follow the formal program assessment and evaluate program goals and objectives” through 2029, when CODA will make its next visit.

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“The DMACC Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs are highly committed to student success and educating safe and competent dental assistants and hygienists to enter the workforce,” McCarville-Kerber said in the release.

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There are 24 students enrolled in the dental assisting program and 41 dental hygiene students, 18 in their first year and 23 in their second.

Dental assistants and hygienists are in high demand, Land said in the release, with almost half of students in the programs finding employment prior to graduation. There is also a waitlist for the dental hygiene program.

Denson said the college hopes to expand the dental programs, and is working to include plans for facilities renovations and additions in its Masters Facilities Plan. The 8,000 square-foot facility is located on DMACC’s Ankeny campus.

“It all comes down to dollars and cents and space,” Denson said. “But our goal is to expand to meet the needs of our students.”

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