To help to raise awareness of the importance of political involvement and advocacy in dentistry, Connecticut ASDA’s legislative liaisons, Eric Smith and Viviane Trinh, organized and held their second annual ‘Legislative Week’, which ran from December 10th-14th. This week consisted of 4 events aimed at highlighting the current efforts by students and dentists to advocate for issues important to the practice of dentistry. Events also provided students with an abundance of knowledge and opportunities for political involvement now and in their future careers.
On Monday, December 10th, Dr. Steve Hall, Past President of the Hartford Dental Society, gave a Lunch and Learn. His talk was entitled “Political Action Committees and the Importance of Group Advocacy” and provided students with a description of the goals, make-up, and successes of the various state and federal PACs which work to advocate for the interests of dentists.
On Tuesday, ConnASDA hosted three members of Connecticut’s House of Representatives (Rep. Rick Lopes, Rep. Matthew Ritter, and Rep. Brian Becker) and two Connecticut state senators (Sen. John Fonfara and Sen. Kevin Witkos) for a panel discussion on dentistry and politics at the Health Center. At this event, students got to hear first-hand from legislators about their viewpoints on political issues relevant to students and to the dental profession. Students were also able to ask their own questions, and hear about the best ways to influence the passing of legislation and to stay in touch with their state representative or senator.
On Thursday, Connecticut’s ASDA chapter held a social between students and Connecticut state legislators at Grant’s Restaurant Happy Hour. This event was attended by 55 students and provided them with a comfortable environment to talk one-on-one with legislators about dentistry and politics.
To round-off Legislative Week, the chapter hosted a final Lunch and Learn for students with a presentation given by Incumbent CSDA President Dr. Mark Desroisiers and CSDA Government Relations Manager Jim Williams. This talk provided students with a description of the various ways they could become involved in political advocacy both as students and as future dentists.
~Eric Smith, Connecticut ’15, chapter legislative liaison