Attending the Dental Expo at a national ASDA event is an exciting time for anyone: free samples, free bags and enough free pens to last you until you graduate dental school. Aside from the swag, there are also opportunities for your chapter and to make professional connections.
We have all heard classmates say, “I hate public speaking.” Some might have chosen dentistry with the intent to avoid public speaking. In reality, you will give many speeches throughout your dental school education and career. These speeches may not involve podiums, but the messages are no less significant. On a daily basis, we talk to patients, faculty and our peers. All of these interactions reflect on you as a professional.
In July 2007 my wife, 11 month old daughter, and I packed our Honda CR-V and headed east to begin dental school. I was a man on a mission! I had recently taken an oath of office with the Army for a Health Professions Scholarship. My plan after dental school was to do a 2-year AEGD, pay back my obligation and then either stay in the Army as an educator or get out and work in private practice. Ten years have flown by and I will be leaving the military and working in a private practice in Washington this summer. I have reached the goals I set for myself, but I also learned a very important lesson-take time to be present and find joy in the journey!
Overcoming barriers to health care access is a top priority in dentistry. It was the basis of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, a community-based initiative to improve oral health in the United States. A 2014 report by the Health Policy Institute (HPI) found that in 2012, only about one in three working-age adults went to a dentist. A large part of the population doesn’t receive regular dental care. We know this can result in severe morbidities and, in rare cases, mortality. How do we overcome the barriers some of these patients face? The community dental health coordinator (CDHC).
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, homeless veterans list dental care among their top three unmet needs, along with housing and child care. Many veterans do receive dental benefits through their VA. Yet in order to qualify, the veteran must be either 100 percent disabled, have been a prisoner of war or have developed a dental condition during their service. This leaves many veterans without dental benefits and thus no dental home.
By now, you know the importance of networking when it comes to landing the perfect residency or associateship. However, when it comes to advocacy, is it really all about who you know? The short answer is yes.
At the end of the day, we all want to help others whenever we can. But it’s so easy for life to get in the way. For Dr. Daniel Nam, serving his community is truly his top priority.