Advocating for Healthy Teeth in Washington
The best way to learn is by doing. And that’s exactly what a group of student dentists did. The first of its kind, the American Dental Association and the American Student Dental Association co-hosted an ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day in Washington DC March 26–26. The two organizations brought together more than 1000 dentists, dental students, and industry / government leaders to discuss those issues most important in the fight for healthy teeth.
Industry leaders and students advocate for good oral health.
The following content was originally published by the American Dental Association on March 28, 2017.
“Today, we gather because we share a singular goal: To advocate for our profession and our patients. Today, we all belong to the same political party: the tooth party,” said Dr. Gary L. Roberts, ADA president.
Over the three-day period, ADA and ASDA members learned from each other. The seasoned dentists learned what it means to be a dental student in an era where the average debt per graduating senior is $262,000. And dental students took a break from coursework to see a glimpse of what impact new and existing legislation could have on their future careers.
“We always have to realize that the younger dentists, particularly the dental students, are the future of our profession. By including them in this venture, we’re able to put them in front of the legislators so they can explain to them what’s on their mind,” said Dr. Richard Andolina, chair, American Dental Political Action Committee.
“We have been working over a year on this meeting and it is fantastic to see it come to fruition,” added Dr. Mark Bronson, chair, ADA Council on Government Affairs.
The opening session, “How to Meet with Your Member of Congress,” provided tips for dentists and dental students on how to get the most out of their office visits. The session, which featured a role-playing exercise demonstrating a typical visit to a congressional office, was facilitated by Dr. Charlie McGinty, a former ADPAC chair, Dr. Justin Norbo of the ADA New Dentist Committee, and Sara Golkari, a member of ASDA’s Council on Advocacy.
During the “Issues Review” session, attendees wondered if they needed to talk about health care reform… “This isn’t going away,” said Dr. Frank Graham, CGA vice chair. “We need to make the [legislators] aware of how important oral health is to overall health.”