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.
The mission statement for the initiative says, “the National Outreach Initiative serves to promote unity, awareness and lifelong involvement in community service. It further builds the value of community in our profession while increasing awareness of underserved populations.” There are two main components of the National Outreach Initiative: the Week of Service and our focus on special populations. This year, our special population focuses will highlight:
- Geriatric populations in the summer, discussing unique dental concerns related to their care
- Displaced populations in the fall (including the homeless, refugees, migrant workers and natural disaster survivors), exploring how outreach can help structure their current situations
- Veteran populations in the winter, looking at life after service related to dental care
New this year will be chapter “Flashguides,” mini how-to guides for each special population that council members will distribute directly to chapter presidents. We are working on adding these to the ASDA website as well for easy accessibility.
The Week of Service will kick off on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, 2019. There is no better day to start a week focused on public service than this one. Last year, a large number of chapters took part during the week with Snapchat and Instagram takeovers, implementing new events in their communities and participating in the webinar, “Personal and Professional Rewards of Community Outreach Engagement.” This year, we plan to replicate some of these activities and introduce others in 2019.
Outside of the Week of Service, look for outreach-inspired content on ASDA’s social media platforms and in its publications, Contour and Mouthing Off.
Finally, we want to thank Colgate for their sponsorship of NOI. This backing includes funding for the Dentistry in the Community Grant and free oral health care supplies to any chapter that requests them.
If you have any questions, or you or your chapter would like to become more involved in the initiative, reach out to the Council on Professional Issues. With your help, we can continue to make sure that #ASDAoutreach has a prominent role in our association.
~Andy Larkin, Arizona ’19, Council on Professional Issues Chair
About Andy Larkin
Andy Larkin is the chair of the Council on Professional Issues and the ASDA consultant to ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs. He is a class of 2019 DMD and MPH candidate at Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health at A.T. Still University.