Jacksonville University’s School of Orthodontics is getting national attention for its post-graduate education efforts, recently becoming part of an elite group of such programs to achieve the highest status of accreditation in its training of dentists and doctors.
The school has received reaffirmation of its accredited status “without reporting requirements,” passing the highest standards set by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
“This is great recognition by our peers and a testament to the excellent training and patient care we’ve maintained since 2003. We look forward to more growth while maintaining such a high national status until our next accrediting visit in 2019,” said Dr. Mark Alarbi, the school’s Dean and Program Director.
The school, which started in 2003 with four full-time faculty and few adjunct professors, now has eight full-time instructors, one adjunct professor and a research director. Each year, the School of Orthodontics graduates 15 students from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds, said Alarbi, a founding faculty member. It’s one of the largest programs nationwide, providing free orthodontic screenings to more than 2,000 patients annually, and starting effective treatment on average for 1,200 new patients each year including children in the “Small Smiles” program which offers free care to foster and disadvantaged children.
Through the school, one of about 60 programs with full CODA accreditation, dentists and doctors in the 24-month program leave with a specialty Certificate in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. The school also manages parallel programs of Fellowship in Clinical Orthodontic Research and a combined degree of Orthodontics and Masters in Educational Leadership.
“We’re unique in the scope and size of what we do, not just in Northeast Florida but in the country,” Alarbi said. “We have this great team approach to each patient, where faculty and students discuss each case with the ability to offer evidence-based treatment options using state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostic tools.”
While the re-accreditation, given in August, is satisfying, what’s really fulfilling are the happy faces and dynamic environment that exists within the school Alarbi sees leaving the facility each day.
“It’s great to see what’s happening here, through word of mouth and our outreach efforts,” he said. “We’re offering high-quality care, education and a community service, and to see the students, staff and faculty performing at such a high level is energizing.”
In tandem with its educational outreach efforts, the JU School of Orthodontics occasionally awards two First Coast residents with a free set of braces. One was awarded in October, and the other will be awarded Nov. 30, in celebration of National Orthodontic Health Month. Winners are selected at random to receive a certificate for a free set of braces and a full comprehensive course of orthodontic care from JU School of Orthodontics.