The most recent addition to ASDA advocacy is Engage. It is appropriately titled because it explains its purpose right off the bat. Engage is meant to help dental students inform and more importantly, act, on the advocacy front. I know we are all busy with dental school and our personal lives and we are adding yet another “thing” to do. I myself have a newborn son, my wife is a full-time physician assistant at an ER, we both hold volunteer positions at our church and I of course have ASDA! But it is for that exact reason that ASDA’s developed Engage. It’s to help us with our busy schedule and allow us to still be involved with something so very important to our futures. Because my time is limited, time management is key. So I decided to approach Engage on a step by step fashion giving it only 5 minutes a day for 4 days so I could learn what it is. So if you did the math, what I am saying is that in a total of 20 minutes you can be an Engage expert and help your classmates engage too. I call it Ricardo’s 5-5-5-5 plan.
Day 1: The first thing you will see when you enter the site (click here) is a video. The video is just over a minute, WATCH IT! It will explain what Engage is. Immediately under the video clip you will see the “news feed.” This is a compilation of articles that pertains to dental advocacy. I didn’t read them all on the first day; however, I did read the two that I was most interested in. That concluded Day 1.
Day 2: Under the news feed you will see federal and state legislation that is currently being reviewed- these bills are extremely important and directly affect you as a student or a practitioner. Some pertain to student loans and some to medical device tax etc. Review these bills, but there is no need to take more that let’s say… 5 minutes. But if it catches your attention you can splurge and take 10.
Day 3: On the right-hand column towards the top of the page you will find ASDA’s 3 key issues. I suggest taking the time to read all three. They are not even a page but this will help you understand why and what we are advocating for. This should take about…you guessed it… 5 minutes!
Day 4: I saved my favorite feature for last. This is the “Take Action” section on the top right. It has never been easier to get involved. Click on the take action link. All you have to do is fill out the appropriate fields and Engage will draft a letter to your lawmaker. And all you have to do it click ok. This will take about 3 minutes, so you have 2 minutes of free time.
I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the ease and functionality of Engage. I can’t think of an easier way to become involved. It didn’t take nearly as much time as I expected. Try my 5-5-5-5 plan and see for yourself! Let us know how it went in the comments section below or by e-mailing Advocacy@ASDAnet.org.
~Ricardo Fontoura, Temple ’16, Districts 1-3 legislative coordinator