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. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the 2018 tour.
Midterms Matter: Add your voice
Advocacy Month was appropriately themed “Midterms Matter: Add your voice,” in light of the Nov. 6 election. ASDA members across the country made sure their fellow students went to the polls to represent the dental profession. It was an especially exciting election season since five dentists were elected to Congress. Here are two quick snapshots of the election for the photo log:
Buffalo students had plenty of Election Day excitement. Abdullah Al Qaraghuli, Buffalo ’21, (center) even won ASDA’s “Why I Am a Dental Voter” contest.
Harvard students were gracious enough to help me cast my vote while I visited them.
Find out. Reach out. Speak out.
ASDA members certainly got out the vote during this election season. However, I was even more impressed by their efforts to gain a thorough understanding of the issues affecting their profession and their eagerness to become life-long dental advocates. Chapters held lunch and learns on advocacy topics and hosted politicians to speak on the issues. It’s difficult to highlight only a few chapters that undertook these important events, but here are a few that come to mind:
I had a wonderful time at Oklahoma’s Pizza and Politics event (even though the pizza wasn’t Chicago-style). It was fascinating to learn about the specific issues affecting their state from the lobbyist students invited.
In-between their Advocacy Academy, ADPAC drives and a legislative kickoff, students at Texas A&M made room in their schedules to show me around their lab.
South Carolina was kind enough to invite me to their first-ever advocacy social event. They had dentists speak about staying involved with advocacy and the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day.
Molar Bear Signing Off
It’s about time for me to settle down for my long respite in Chicago, but my hibernation schedule won’t keep me from the 2019 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day April 14-16, 2019, in Washington, D.C. I hope to see you there!
Until then, I look forward to dreams of alleviating dental student debt and advocating for licensure reform. I will rest knowing that ASDA members’ advocacy efforts persist, even in my absence, to improve the profession for the patients you serve.
See you soon.