In recent years, ASDA, ADEA, and the ADA have publically denounced the use of live patients during licensing exams. ASDA’s L1 policy clearly states that any clinical licensing exam should, “be a non-patient based examination emphasizing the recognition, diagnosis and treatment planning of disease, in conjunction with the treatment of simulated disease by use of a typodont.” While much progress has been made to create alternate pathways to licensure including: a PGY1 residency, portfolio review in California, and an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in Minnesota, there is still much work to be done to eliminate the live patient component.
“When was the last time you visited the dentist?” “Do you floss regularly?” These two questions are an essential part of my dental history repertoire that I ask all my patients. However, this time I was not the one asking the questions, I was the one answering the questions. Earlier last year I switched my primary care physician (PCP) and was inspired by her interest in my oral health. As a dentist we often find ourselves contacting physicians for medical clearance for our medically compromised patients. We often forget that physicians and other non-dental healthcare providers can also play a vital role in promoting oral health.
One of the pillars, at all levels of organized dentistry, is advocacy. As members of the American Student Dental Association, advocacy is not something to be viewed as an entity that is merely provided to us. Advocacy is a personal task that should be actively engaged in so that we can serve as a voice to our colleagues, law-makers and the general population.
For today’s dental student, the utilization of social media is at times used to vent about a rigorous week at school, post pictures of your latest sim clinic work-of-art, or even share that infamous “stab lab” photo op. The ‘likes’ and comments these posts generate can be astronomical and are comprised of other dental students, family members and friends. It is easily apparent that through our postings we have the ability to reach a variety of different individuals.
There are topics in this profession that need we need to openly discuss. One of the greatest resources we have as dental students is to be surrounded by individuals who are passionate about dentistry. However, how often are we utilizing this resource to share opinions about the “hot topics” in dentistry? I believe round table discussions should be used frequently amongst faculty and students.
This past April, ASDA members from across the U.S. came together in Washington, D.C. to advocate for improving access to care. ASDA joined with the ADA and a host of other dental organizations to urge our legislators to support The Coordination of Pro Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act (S. 466/H.R. 963). These bipartisan bills create a grant program to help meet the medically recommended dental needs of low-income individuals. Specifically, the program would give $2 million to fund health navigators to match patients with needs and dentists willing to perform the treatment at no cost to the patient.