As wrap up my final visits at ASDA chapters and make my way back to ASDA’s central office in Chicago, I reflect on my Advocacy Month 2018 adventures. I’m happy to report that I surpassed my 2017 mileage and reached 61 of ASDA’s 66 chapters — a substantial increase from the 53 chapters I visited last year. After all of the travel (with minor jet lag) and hours spent with ASDA members, I am certain of three things: Advocacy is vital to ensure the future of the dental profession, the profession is safe in the hands of the advocates I met this month, and ASDA members are excellent hosts.
“I failed my licensure exam because my patient didn’t show up.” “I’m graduating with more than $400,000 in student debt.” “My patient couldn’t afford the treatment they desperately needed.” These are the things dental students say, and it’s likely you will, too, during your dental student career. ASDA’s Advocacy Month aims to bolster the dental student voice by challenging ASDA members to “Find out. Reach out. Speak out” for dental student interests this midterm season and beyond.
Growing up in Baltimore, I often drove past congressional buildings and watched people dressed in business suits stroll down crosswalks. I thought nothing of how their actions and the decisions they were making would affect me and, ultimately, the profession that I would undertake.
Transitioning to the clinic portion of dental school comes with a lot of changes. Navigating the intricacies of dental insurance shouldn’t be one that you worry about. Whether your patient has private dental insurance or a public plan through Medicaid, there is some basic terminology that is universal. Being able to speak the language of dental insurance will help you better communicate with your patient and get through the world of clinic. In addition, it’ll help you communicate with insurance companies after dental school and become an active participant in the legislative conversation regarding health insurance. Here is a list of the top five dental insurance terms you should know before entering clinic.
April 2018. I ventured to Washington, D.C., for ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. The first day prepared nearly 1,100 dentists and dental students for the congressional meetings that followed. While sitting in the grand ballroom of our host hotel, I listened to questions and comments about our legislative issues. Some issues were simpler to understand as a first-year dental student. Others, such as those regarding insurance and its marketplace, seemed more complicated. It was then that I realized my lack of understanding on the intricacies of some legislative issues. I knew that to better understand the issues, to feel confident advocating and to further my advocacy involvement after lobby day, I needed a mentor.
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.
Next week, hundreds of dental students and dentists will be participating in my favorite day: lobby day. This year will be exciting, as we have two pieces of legislation that have passed the House with overwhelming support, and it’s also the second year that ADA and ASDA have lobbied together on Capitol Hill. The beauty of this day is that regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or political persuasion, we unite as one “tooth party” to advocate for legislation that promotes oral health.