legislative liaison spotlight
Legislative liaisons (LLs) serve an important role at each chapter. The 2016-17 Council on Advocacy would like to recognize these leaders and share their successes.

Meet Arizona's legislative liaison, Andrew Larkin
Andy is a second-year dental student at Arizona. Originally from southwest Kansas City, he is carrying on the family tradition of becoming a dentist like his dad and brother. He loves to stay active and enjoys landscape photography. As a first year, he joined ASDOH's legislative committee and realized that advocacy will shape the future of how we practice dentistry. With the LGN Special Event Grant ASDOH received, Kyle Tuttle, Vanessa Kristensen and Andy spearheaded one of District 10's biggest legislative events, " Pontics and Politics." It attracted more than 230 attendees, including Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Andy credits the event's success to the collaboration with Midwestern University, the Arizona Dental Association and the ADA. He plans to get more involved in advocacy throughout his lifetime as a dentist.

How do you engage students at your school?
Improving our ASDA chapter's legislative efforts has been an overriding goal; previously, legislative events had been labeled as boring. In order to change this perception and get more students involved and excited about advocacy, we hosted an event called Pontics and Politics. This was a debate and social co-sponsored with Midwestern University-AZ. The event was a huge success and a great example of how thinking outside the box can make legislation engaging.

Learn more about Andrew, including how his interest in advocacy began and what famous person he'd like to have dinner with. Want your LL featured in a future issue? Contact Stephanie Follett at Stephanie@ASDAnet.org.
from ASDA
Introducing ASDA's Advocacy Month
It's time to champion dental student advocacy by participating in ASDA's first-ever Advocacy Month, taking place throughout November 2016.

This focus on advocacy will occur during a pivotal time in American history. ASDA wants you to understand the importance of advocacy as you make your way to the polls in November.

All ASDA chapters are encouraged to plan and carry out advocacy-related events throughout the month. Learn how you can get involved.

ASDA and other dental groups urge Congress to increase funding for NIDCR
ASDA joined with more than 30 other organizations to urge Congress to increase funding for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). NIDCR is dedicated to research in order to improve dental, oral and craniofacial health. The letter encourages Congress to approve an omnibus appropriation bill for 2017 that provides the Senate Appropriations Committee-approved allocation of $430.5 million for NIDCR.

Read the letter to Congress.

from Washington
Election 2016
With one more presidential debate before the general election, ASDA would like to help you break through the rhetoric and become an informed voter on Nov. 8.

What are the best resources to use to become an informed voter?
  • Project Vote Smart: The website offers several tools to help educate you on the candidates running in your district, including their voting records and a collection of speeches they made. The website also features a "vote easy" tool which allows you to answer a set of a questions to determine which candidate best represents your views.
  • GovTrack.us: The website allows you to track bills, review voting records and view members of Congress and their committee assignments.
  • FactCheck.org: The website provides the factual accuracy of statements made by major political party candidates. It also gives visitors the opportunity to ask fact checkers questions on public policy issues.
Did you know...?
The history of presidential debates is relatively short. The first presidential debate took place on September 26, 1960 between Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy and Republican Vice President Richard Nixon.

Presidential debate fun fact...
During one debate, the candidates stood silently for nearly half an hour. On September 23, 1976, President Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter stood silently for 27 minutes as technicians worked to address audio issues.

Read 5 other things you may not know about presidential debates.

Bill to include dental therapists in certain programs introduced in the Senate

What's the issue?
Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced S. 3190, the Strengthening Our Rural Health Workforce Act of 2016. The bill attempts to address workforce shortages in rural America through the following:
  • Comprehensive strategic planning for workforce needs
  • Increasing the adoption of rural training track programs
  • Supporting primary care workforce
  • Supporting emerging professions
  • Mental health workforce
Sen. Franken added "dental therapist" language to the bill under the supporting emerging professions section.

Why is this important?
Including the position of dental therapist in federal legislation may indicate growing support for the alternative workforce model. Currently dental therapists are an established member of the dental team in Minnesota, Maine and Vermont.

According to ASDA's C-2 policy, the dentist is the only dental provider that should perform the following functions: examinations, diagnosis, treatment planning and surgical/irreversible procedures.

Next step:

from the states
California bill expands monitoring of preventative dental services

What's the issue?
On September 25, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2207 into law. The bill mandates that the California Department of Health Care Service (DHCS) report on the following preventative metrics for providers that accept the state's dental Medicaid program, Denti-Cal:
  • Number of annual dental visits
  • Number of annual preventative dental services
  • Number of annual dental treatments
  • Number of annual dental sealants and fluoride varnishes
The bill requires that DHCS reports its findings on the department's website for public use.

Why is this important?
Monitoring the utilization of preventative services will help California identify opportunities to improve the Denti-Cal program. This effort is supported by California's Dental Transformation Initiative which aims to increase the use of preventative dental services for children, prevent and treat more early childhood caries and increate the continuity of care for children by 2020.

Next step:

Advocacy Brief shares news about ongoing issues and legislation that are of interest to dental students and organized dentistry. Inclusion of items does not imply their adherence to ASDA policy.
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