Using dental outreach as grassroots advocacy

girl at dentistThe American Dental Association wants to reduce the number of adults and children with untreated dental disease. Volunteer outreach events primarily serve this goal. Some patients travel hundreds of miles and wait for days in line just to get a tooth extracted. Many of these stories go untold, so it is our duty as future practitioners to speak for the underserved and get barriers to care at the forefront of the political agenda.

The ADA started the Action for Dental Health two years ago to combat access to care issues with three goals in mind: to treat patients in need now, to expand the private and public safety net, and to increase education and prevention. Read on to learn more.

How to stay up-to-date on political issues

politics, complianceThe most common question Council on Advocacy members are asked is how to stay up-to-date with current events and political issues impacting dental students?

The best way to stay current on dental issues is to read ASDA’s e-newsletter, Advocacy Brief. This monthly email is sent to every ASDA member and includes recent state and federal dental news. For more ways to stay in-the-know, read on…

Breaking down barriers for improved oral health

17224128385_32bbb7f91c_zIn April, more than 380 dental students from across the country united in Washington. Students met with legislators and lobbied for the Action for Dental Health Act. H.R. 539 is a bipartisan supported bill introduced to Congress by Representative Robin Kelly from Illinois. If passed, the bill would allow nonprofit organizations to qualify for oral health grants administered by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These grants could be used to support several programs outlined within the ADA Action for Dental Health initiative.

A small act of advocacy

social media advocacyOne of the pillars, at all levels of organized dentistry, is advocacy. As members of the American Student Dental Association, advocacy is not something to be viewed as an entity that is merely provided to us. Advocacy is a personal task that should be actively engaged in so that we can serve as a voice to our colleagues, law-makers and the general population.

For today’s dental student, the utilization of social media is at times used to vent about a rigorous week at school, post pictures of your latest sim clinic work-of-art, or even share that infamous “stab lab” photo op. The ‘likes’ and comments these posts generate can be astronomical and are comprised of other dental students, family members and friends. It is easily apparent that through our postings we have the ability to reach a variety of different individuals.

Help ASDA reduce barriers to care

84469760(1)This past April, ASDA members from across the U.S. came together in Washington, D.C. to advocate for improving access to care. ASDA joined with the ADA and a host of other dental organizations to urge our legislators to support The Coordination of Pro Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act (S. 466/H.R. 963). These bipartisan bills create a grant program to help meet the medically recommended dental needs of low-income individuals. Specifically, the program would give $2 million to fund health navigators to match patients with needs and dentists willing to perform the treatment at no cost to the patient.

Advocating with ASDA: To National Dental Student Lobby Day and beyond!

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 8.37.02 AMApril 7-8th, 2014 marks the dates on which delegations of dental students will converge on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of our organization’s 20,000 members as a part of ASDA’s National Dental Student Lobby Day. This two-day legislative event provides dental students with an amazing opportunity to meet face-to-face with our federal legislators tasked with the power to make decisions on our Country’s behalf…