Fellow Citizens, We Cannot Escape History
Pity the poor Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC). It’s been a trying year.
Full disclosure, I work closely with the RCDC and have lived this past year to the fullest. I’ve got the scars to prove it. It has, and continues to be, an experience.
If you haven’t heard already, the regulators, who licence dental specialists in their respective provinces, collectively decided that they no longer require the RCDC to develop and to administer the now-familiar two-part written and oral National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) There has been much rumor and rhetoric as to why the regulators chose to look elsewhere, but in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Licensure is their purview and the tools they use to assess prospective registrants is one hundred percent their choice. Whatever the reason, what is done is done and its time to accept it and move on.
There will be a speciality examination in 2020 used for licensure that will be the progeny of an RCDC and National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) collaboration. It will be a written examination, the exact format still to be decided at the time of this writing. The results of this examination will be used to assess qualification for licensure by the regulators. And that’s it; pass the exam and one is potentially eligible for licensure as a specialist in the jurisdiction of one’s choice.
One thing is for sure. A passing grade in the 2020 examination will not automatically qualify the candidate for Fellowship in the RCDC. A second examination will be required for that. RCDC is committed to developing and administering a Fellowship exam in orthodontics in the very near future. The format of this new exam was the focus of discussion at the Annual General Meeting and Convocation this past September in Gatineau, Quebec.
Which begs the question; what is Fellowship and why would anyone take another exam after being examined more times than one can recall over the course of one’s educational career? The Fellowship exam will be a challenge. It may be difficult for some candidates to get to. And for sure, it will cost something. The stock answer to the question “why do it?” is that under the new design, the NDSE will measure competence while the Fellowship examination will assess excellence within one’s chosen specialty. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
We are extremely fortunate as Canadians that back in March of 1965, a group of forward-thinking individuals were able to get the Act of Incorporation for RCDC passed in Parliament. RCDC Fellowship clearly defines orthodontics as a recognized specialty in dentistry that demands rigorous extra training to obtain status. This mandate clearly aligns with the mission of the CAO to promote orthodontics by the orthodontist specialist. It is critical that the two organizations continue to support one another in the future as they have in the past.
RCDC has been through some turbulent times of late and faces a challenging future. The Fellowship exams will be a new venture that will be promoted both in Canada and abroad. Similar to any new venture, considerable effort will be put into developing budgets, building marketing plans and defining processes to ensure the long-term viability of the Royal College and its mandate to promote excellence in the dental specialties. RCDC will use this unique opportunity to produce the best product possible to continue to uphold the mission and values of this storied organization.
It cannot be overlooked that when the long-term survival of RCDC came into question following the loss of the NDSE, it put its faith in the hands of a CAO member, Dr. Hugh Lamont. The words ‘worked tirelessly” are overused these days, especially in politics (fun fact - as of August 18, 2019, Donald Trump has played golf 225 times since taking office, yet ‘no administration has accomplished more’. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. But you get the point, right?). In Hugh’s case, the words really do apply. No detail is left unattended. No issue is left unresolved. He lives in Victoria, B.C., but exists in the Eastern Time Zone. All of us Fellows owe a debt of gratitude to Hugh for his leadership, insight, professionalism and time commitment for ensuring that something so many CAO members highly value will continue into the future.
In times of uncertainty, rumors abound. Should any questions arise regarding RCDC, please feel free to reach out anytime to your RCDC Board Member Dr. Tarek El-Bialy, Dr. Lamont or myself for information. Any one of us would be pleased to talk with you anytime.
Best of the Season to all