On May 11, New York Governor George Pataki signed into law legislation that, beginning in 2007, will require dental students to complete a clinically based, CODA-approved postdoctoral general practice or specialty dental residency program of at least one year’s duration. This postgraduate year (PGY1) will be a prerequisite for initial licensure in the state. The clinical exam will be eliminated as a requirement and will have no relevance in New York State.
The push for the change came primarily from the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA), which argued that the traditional one-shot clinical exam performed on a volunteer patient is fraught with problems and is not a fair or useful assessment of a student’s ability to practice. NYSDA received support for its efforts from the New York State Education Department, the New York State Academic Dental Centers (a coalition of the state’s dental schools), the Upstate Program Directors Group, and the American Association of Hospital Dentists.
“Due to the bipartisan support this bill received, it is apparent that our elected officials understand our goal—to elevate the level of training of the profession to protect dentists and the public,” said NYSDA President Brian Kennedy in the May 12 NYSDA online article announcing the signing. “This follows the medical model for licensure, and treating dentists the same as physicians seemed logical to the Senate, Assembly, and the Governor.”
Under legislation passed in 2002, New York had become the first and only state to allow students seeking licensure to complete an accredited postgraduate program in lieu of Part III of the dental licensing exam. Unlike that bill, this new PGY-1 bill will carry no sunset provision or follow-up evaluation period.