Deamonte Driver was a 12-year-old African American child from Maryland who died from a tooth infection on Feb. 25, 2007. Ever since his mom was unable to find a Medicaid dental provider in his low socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhood, he has stood as an example for how severe oral health disparities can be for disadvantaged children in the United States, specifically those from a non-white race or ethnicity.
This past April, as part of the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day in Washington D.C, 1,000 dentists and dental students went to Capitol Hill to lobby for the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act (ELSA), legislation that would help children with congenital anomalies.
I was inspired to see great passion from ASDA’s chapters across the country this November. Everyone’s motivation to create grassroots initiatives was refreshing and added fuel to the advocacy fire. My #ASDAfever was reignited. Here are my top five moments from ASDA’s 2019 Advocacy Month.
The World Health Organization defines health policy as “…decisions, plans and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society.” These political, economic and social policies seek to improve patient safety, promote healthy outcomes and achieve quality standards.
Every November, dental students from each ASDA chapter pass around a Molar Bear and bust out their “Tooth Party” pins to participate in ASDA’s Advocacy Month. I’m going to share why ASDA created this annual initiative and the different ways students can work toward change for the profession.
It’s a tradition: one Class II, one Class III, and scaling and root planing. Three exercises stand between dental school and practicing as a dentist. The single encounter, high stakes, live clinical exam is the most common form of obtaining licensure for a graduating dentist. This exam is just a snapshot of a candidate’s ability to practice on the public, yet it confers a privilege to practice on the public for a lifetime.
As a first-year dental student, I had no concept of what it meant to be an advocate for the dental profession. And when I took on my first role as the University of North Carolina (UNC) ASDA chapter legislative liaison, I still had no idea. Having no one at UNC to help guide the way, I was overwhelmed. Luckily, a few months after starting the role, I attended the ADA Dentist and Dental Student Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.