I remember my first Advocacy Academy, hosted by the Arizona Dental Association (AzDA). I was nervous about participating in my first ASDA legislative event. I had never considered myself interested in politics before dental school; in fact, the topic made me uneasy. So why did I get up on a Saturday morning to come to this event?
Nearly 1,000 dental students and dentists will travel from all corners of the country to visit the Hill to advocate for the dental profession. Whether you’re a student that has attended the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day in the pastor this is your first leap into lobbying on the Hill, here are four fast facts you should know before you head to D.C. April 14–16.
Widespread use of the internet can lead to widespread misinformation. In dentistry, this misinformation comes in the form of anti-fluoridation groups. As dental professionals, it is important that we take a role in counteracting this.
With the rising costs of dental school and education, getting student loans are a common reality for many dental students. It is important to understand the terminology that will allow for better communication between you and your lender, especially before signing the promissory note. Additionally, this knowledge will help you effectively advocate for initiatives at the local, state and national levels that alleviate the student debt burden.
This year, ASDA continued the growth of the National Outreach Initiative, which was established in 2017 and brings attention to the oral health needs of underserved populations. The special populations highlighted this year included geriatric individuals, displaced populations and veterans.
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.