My first involvement with organized dentistry happened when a dentist from the Great Houston Dental Society (GHDS) invited me to Texas Mission of Mercy. I took on the opportunity, which opened the door for other community service outreach that provided free dental care for veterans and underserved populations. These experiences reminded me that we have the potential to generate a positive impact on others’ lives, even with the smallest amount of help we can provide. Together with our mutual passion and skills, we were able to improve the health of our community. Without this cooperation and guidance, none of this would have been possible.
For dental students, science has never been subjective. We sit through semesters of organic chemistry and anatomy in college, spending long nights trying to understand the path to the right answer (because there’s always a right answer) to the complex problems our professors throw at us. We are well-tuned machines of memorization and comprehension.
Imagine it is 2 a.m., and you are cramming for your pharmacology exam. You flip through the hundreds of flashcards you created to memorize the properties of the medications and corresponding treatment protocol. You come across analgesics, specifically opioids, and remember they are used to alleviate pain. In school, we learn about the properties and proper dosages of the drugs we will one day prescribe, as well as how to address potential concerns of usage with our patients, but in order to enhance our own patient care mentality, we should reframe how we think about pain management overall.
Outreach has always been a pillar of organized dentistry. Because of this, in 2017, the Council on Professional Issues spearheaded the launch of ASDA’s National Outreach Initiative (NOI). This year, the council plans to maintain the momentum generated by NOI’s inaugural year, while continuing to promote various events and opportunities for involvement throughout 2018 and 2019.
In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. In honor of this day, ASDA’s Council on Professional Issues asked dental students to discuss the importance of diversity and how their chapter celebrates members’ unique differences.
Many dental professionals are drawn to a career in education. Some of the benefits are obvious: You get to give back to the profession by passing on your knowledge; you gain prestige from your participation in an academic program; and you can depend on a stable (though low!) income. In addition to those, there are other, more unexpected benefits that come with a career in dental education.
What more could you ask for? Hundreds of dental professionals on the Hill. Students engaging with experienced dentists and lobbyists. Cherry blossoms in bloom. This was the scene during the 2018 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, held April 8–10, where more than 1,000 dentists and students gathered from across the country to advocate on behalf of our profession.