About ASDA:
Current Statements of Position or Policy - Dental School Administrative Policies and Student Government

E-1 Due Process (1977, revised 2013)

The American Student Dental Association endorses the concept of due process for dental students in U.S. CODA-accredited dental schools. Dental schools should develop and publicize a clear definition of its procedures for the evaluation, advancement and graduation of students to its faculty and students.

Dental school due process procedures should encompass the following:

  1. Hearings should include student members. No student or faculty member involved in the case should be allowed to be a member of the judicial body.
  2. The accused student should be informed of charges and be given adequate time to prepare for the hearing. The content of all charges against the student should be clearly outlined.
  3. The student charged must be given the opportunity to select an advisor of his or her choice for assisting in his or her defense.
  4. The burden of proof must rest upon the party bringing the charge.
  5. The student charged must be given the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses and to hear and question adverse witnesses.
  6. All matters upon which the decision is based should be entered as evidence before the judicial body.
  7. The student has the right to appeal the decision of the judicial body. 

E-2 Conflict Resolution (2013)

The American Student Dental Association should be responsive when a concern is raised by its membership. ASDA supports student-led conflict management and resolution. ASDA recommends that these concerns are first addressed by their class; the local student body government; the ASDA chapter delegate and/or district trustee, as appropriate.

E-3 School Closings (1985, revised 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998 and 1999)

In the event of the closing of a dental school or postdoctoral dental training program, students and residents must be provided a proper and humane transition with a specific phase-out action to protect their rights. ASDA's position is that it is the responsibility of the school or program to protect its students and residents in the following ways:

  1. Assurances that the same standards of high quality education under which students or residents were accepted will be maintained.
  2. Assurances that the school or program will continue to meet accreditation standards as set by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
  3. The ASDA President will contact the school's Dean or program director to obtain his personal assurance that a phase-out committee will be established immediately to enforce the phase-out plan. In the case of a dental school, this committee will be composed of student, faculty, and administration representatives.
  4. Assistance in transfers/relocation.
  5. Advice and support in seeking legal counsel.
  6. The immediate disclosure of pertinent closing information to the students or residents as it becomes available.
  7. In the case of a dental school, avoid at all cost attempts to place fourth year students due to differences in dental school curricula and the inevitable compromise in the students' dental education.

In addition, in the event of an impending dental school closure, a letter will be sent to that state's legislators at the request of the school's delegates, to explain the health and economic impact of a dental school's closure. Chapter delegates will be provided with the Guidelines for Student Action After a Dental School Announces Closure, along with other resources that may be available from the central office including information about the circumstances of prior school closings.

Finally, in the event of the closing of a dental school or postdoctoral dental training program, an announcement with guidelines will be sent to all first delegates requesting their assistance in:

  1. Finding temporary and permanent housing for transferring students
  2. Providing mentors to assimilate transferring students to the new academic and clinical environment; and
  3. Updating membership information so transferring students can receive their benefits and publications in a timely manner.

E-4 Sensitivity to Diversity (1993, revised 2002)

It is the position of the American Student Dental Association that each dental school should assure that its faculty and administration are sensitive to the cultural diversity and changing demographics of today's dental students.

Care must be taken to ensure that the dental school provides a safe and humane environment for all students and all members of the dental team, both physically and psychologically. Sexist, discriminatory, or other similarly insensitive language and practices are totally unacceptable.

Faculty members should review their course content and styles to use inclusive language, to eliminate all potentially offensive language and graphics, and to present information in an objective manner which is sensitive to differences in gender, ethnicity, age, religion, politics, and physical abilities.

The American Student Dental Association defines diversity as: differences and variations among and between individual characteristics, demographics and professional choices, including, but not limited to, race, religion, ethnic background, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identification and gender expression. ASDA recognizes the unique challenges faced by these diverse populations of students.

ASDA supports the recruitment of an applicant pool that represents the continually diverse population.

ASDA supports the promotion of access to care for underserved diverse populations through legislative advocacy at the state and national levels.

ASDA supports the development and enhancement of opportunities to create open communication regarding diversity among associations within organized dentistry.

ASDA supports the incorporation of diversity training and cultural competence as part of dental education. ASDA supports the retention of diverse dental students and new dentists in organized dentistry.

E-5 Sexual Harassment of Dental Students (1993)

The American Student Dental Association condemns all forms of sexual harassment of dental students, defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature including when,

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student's continuing enrollment.
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as a basis for decisions affecting that student.
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with a student's performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or clinical environment.

The American Student Dental Association believes that in addition to requests for sexual favors, sexual harassment also includes leering, intentional touching and patting, salacious gestures and other advances that invite sexual activity, as well as other verbal, physical, and environmental abuses of a sexual nature.

E-6 Leave of Absence for Dental Students (1995)

It is recognized that circumstances or opportunities may arise which demand or legitimately necessitate a temporary interruption in a dental student's course of education and training. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, the recommendation of a physician or counselor providing treatment to the dental student, childbirth or adoption, death, illness or infirmity of a close family member, financial distress, professional obligations, and other family tragedies.

Under these circumstances, it expected that a reasonable attempt will be made by the dental school to approve requests for leave of absence, and that such requests will be judged by the same criteria and considered without discrimination among students. It is also expected that when necessary and appropriate, accommodations be made to facilitate a student's continued participation in the program of study, providing that the cost of such accommodations is reasonable, and do not infringe on the rights of others.

E-7 ASDA Student Code of Ethics (2002, revised in 2008, 2009 and 2010)

The right of a dentist to professional status rests in the knowledge, skill and experience with which she/he serves her/his patients and society. Every dentist should strive to continuously improve his/her knowledge of ethics in order to help achieve higher levels of patient care. These foundational ethical values will serve as a guideline throughout the dentist’s career, from predoctoral student fully credentialed professional.

The American Student Dental Association recognizes the importance of high ethical standards in the dental school setting. Therefore, the Association believes students should conduct themselves in a manner reflecting integrity and fairness in both the didactic and clinical learning environments. The code outlined below relates most directly to the dental school environment. To gain a more expansive understanding of ethics in practice, please see the ADA Code of Ethics.

The following is the ASDA Code of Ethics:

  1. Dental Student conduct
    1. All dental students are obligated to maintain high standards of moral and ethical behavior and to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. This applies to the classroom, clinic, laboratory, and other institutional facilities; externships, community service, or meetings of professional organizations.
    2. Ethical and professional behavior by dental students is characterized by honesty, fairness, and integrity in all professional circumstances; respect for the rights, differences, and property of others; concern for the welfare of patients, competence in the delivery of care, and preservation of confidentiality in all situations where this is warranted.
    3. All dental students are obligated to report unethical activity and violations of the honor code to the appropriate body at the school.
     
  2. Patient Autonomy ("self-governance")
    1. Informed Consent and Refusal
      1. Students should conduct a thorough discussion with every patient. This must be repeated whenever there are substantive changes or additions to the treatment plan.
        Discussion should include:
        1. Diagnoses
        2. Treatment Plan
        3. Prognosis
        4. Risks/Benefits
        5. Alternatives
          - The discussion should be in understandable terms and enable a reasonable patient in the patient’s position to make an informed decision regarding care, except in emergencies, when risks are unknown, commonly known or the patient waives the right of disclosure. 
         
      2. Students should inform the patient of the consequences of not accepting treatment. The patient has a right to an informed refusal which should be honored by the student.
       
    2. Patient Confidentiality
      1. Should follow HIPAA Guidelines.
       
     
  3. Nonmaleficence ("do no harm") and Beneficence ("do good")
    1. The student should conduct him/herself with veracity (truthfulness). He/she should always act in a manner that promotes the welfare of patients and avoids harm to the patient.
    2. Treatment plans should be determined according to patient needs as opposed to unmet requirements of the student.
    3. No procedures should be started without instructor authorization, and all procedures should be evaluated by the instructor upon completion.
    4. Referrals to residents, specialists, or staff members should be made when the complexity of the case exceeds the student's ability to meet the standard of care. The referring student should inform the patient who will be responsible for dental maintenance and the reason for referral.
    5. Students should exercise discretion in treating family members due to problems associated with medical history disclosure, confidentiality, objectivity, and professionalism.
    6. Students are encouraged to participate in community outreach programs in order to improve the dental health of the public.
    7. Students should advocate access to care for patients who are unable to receive care due to physical or mental disability or financial hardship.
     
  4. Justice ('fairness")
    1. Ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or infectious disease status should not influence whether or not a patient is accepted by a student to receive care. Furthermore, all patients should be treated with the same level of compassion, kindness and respect.
    2. Students must not discriminate against patients in high-risk behavior groups.
    3. The student should not cheat, plagiarize, forge, or falsify official records, patient charts, or examinations.
    4. The student should not participate in activities involving theft and/or vandalism of school or student property.
    5. Sexual harassment between colleagues, between health care provider and patient, and between students and faculty or residents is unacceptable and must be reported.
    6. Students must report suspected abuse/neglect of patients to an appropriate instructor.
    7. Students should exercise respect when working with human cadavers.
    8. Controlled substances
      1. Students have the responsibility of protecting the integrity of the profession by reporting any suspicions of unethical behavior.
      2. Students must never perform dental procedures while in an impaired condition, regardless of the source of the impairment.
       
     
  5. All members of the American Student Dental Association must comply with the ASDA Code of Ethics

E-8 Faculty-Student Interaction (1997)

It is the position of the American Student Dental Association that dental schools are responsible for promoting an atmosphere of mutual professional respect among members of the administration, faculty, and student body. In such an environment, criticism is offered constructively, in a manner that preserves individual self-respect. Care is taken to ensure that any chairside evaluation of performance is completed in a way that supports the student-patient relationship and preserves the patient’s confidence in the student.

E-9 Freedom to Invite Vendors/Speakers (2000, 2012)

The American Student Dental Association encourages the administrators of all U.S. CODA-accredited dental schools to grant ASDA leaders the autonomy to select and invite dental supply companies and speakers to visit their school in order to heighten their knowledge and broaden their exposure to dental products prior to venturing into dental practice.

E-10 Dental Resident/Fellow Work and Learning Environment (2006)

The American Student Dental Association supports the following policy for all dental residency and fellowship programs which are:

  • Limit of 80 hours per week, averaged over four weeks, with flexibility to increase hours up to 10% if the institution can show educational/safety rationale;
  • At least one full (24-hour) day out of seven free of patient care duties, averaged over four weeks; - residents must not be on-call more often than every third night, averaged over four weeks;
  • Residents must have a 10-hour minimum rest period between duty periods; and
  • Continuous on-duty time is limited to 24 hours, with additional time of no more than 6 hours allowed for patient transfers and educational activities.

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