According to 2016 data from the World Prison Brief, released by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, the United States has the highest national rate of imprisonment: 655 jailed persons per 100,000 of the national population. Canada and Mexico have rates of 114 and 164, respectively. The United States houses over 2 million inmates in 4,455 facilities that may fall under local, state or federal jurisdiction. Inmates are a huge sector of the American population. They’re a group that may not come to mind when thinking about our country’s most vulnerable populations, yet they face significant barriers to accessing adequate health care.
My first involvement with organized dentistry happened when a dentist from the Great Houston Dental Society (GHDS) invited me to Texas Mission of Mercy. I took on the opportunity, which opened the door for other community service outreach that provided free dental care for veterans and underserved populations. These experiences reminded me that we have the potential to generate a positive impact on others’ lives, even with the smallest amount of help we can provide. Together with our mutual passion and skills, we were able to improve the health of our community. Without this cooperation and guidance, none of this would have been possible.
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.
Retaking the DAT can be a rollercoaster of emotions and stress when you’re not sure how to react or prepare after receiving an unexpected score. I remember the moment after my first attempt, crying in my car and not knowing what to do. I applied to dental schools earlier that summer, hoping my DAT score would be strong enough for consideration, but it didn’t make the cut. All my plans, hopes and dreams for the next year felt crushed in a single second, and I felt so much regret, grief and disappointment for some time.