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

Meet Tufts' legislative liaison, Alec Eidelman
Since attending his first Lobby Day in 2015, Alec Eidelman has been quickly proving himself as a motivated and knowledgeable District 1 Advocacy Chair. He is consistently working to rally the members of District 1 and has innovative ideas to revamp the district advocacy presence. Notable goals for the year include establishing successful lobby days for all New England states and incorporating advocacy training into new student orientations.

How do you stay up to date on legislative activities? Living and learning in Boston enables unique access to powerful institutions and resources. I attend local or nationally organized lunch and learns, participate in public health journal clubs, engage in lobbying, practice community outreach and independently research current topics in dentistry and health care in local and national legislatures.

Read more about Alec, his post-graduation plans and what historical figure he'd most like to have dinner with.
from Washington
Senate Appropriations Committee advances 2017 funding bill

What's the issue?
On June 9, the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved S. 3040, a bipartisan spending bill that provides funding for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and related agencies.

The Committee allocated $161 billion for FY2017. This results in a $270 million funding reduction compared to FY2016.

Even with the reduction in funding, the bill provides a $2 billion increase in funding for medical research, job training, education opportunities and the fight against opioid abuse.

Why is this important?
Several programs related to dentistry maintained 2016 funding or received an increase in funding in this bill.
  • Oral Health Training maintains 2016 level funding at $35,873,000.
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) receive a $2 billion increase at $34,084,000,000
  • National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) receives a $17.2 million increase at $430,544,000
Next step:

House Committee advances bipartisan higher education bills

college_campus.jpg What's the issue?
On June 22, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce approved the following bipartisan bills that will help strengthen higher education for students, parents and taxpayers.
  • H.R. 5529, the Accessing Higher Education Opportunities Act: helps students at Hispanic-Serving Institutions pursue a career in a health care-related field.
  • H.R. 5528, the Simplifying the Application for Student Aid Act: reforms the federal student aid process to help students receive accurate aid information to better prepare for college.
  • H.R. 5530, the HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act: improves the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program to better serve its students.
  • H.R. 3179, the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act: helps to ensure students receive the appropriate amount of access to financial literacy resources.
  • H.R. 3178, the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act: helps students gain access to the information they need to make good decisions about their educational path.
Why is this important?
Several of these bills focus on helping students make informed financial decisions about their educational future. ASDA aims to build upon this objective by creating resources to help members make the best financial decisions throughout their dental school career.

Next steps:

from the states
Ohio and Michigan introduce midlevel legislation

What's the issue?
Ohio: On May 17, State Senator Peggy Lehner introduced Senate Bill 330, a bill that creates a dental therapist position within the dental team. In an effort to reduce barriers to dental care, the dental therapist would be required to practice in one of Ohio's 84 dental shortage areas. Under the bill, the dental therapist would be able to perform certain restorative and preventative procedures including the filling of cavities.

Michigan: On June 7, State Senator Mike Shirkey introduced Senate Bill 1013, a bill that establishes a dental therapist level of practice. In an attempt to improve access to care for underserved populations, the bill would require that dental therapists practice in public health clinics or ensure that at least half of the patients they treat are on Medicaid or face other barriers to receiving care. Under the bill, dental therapists would be able to provide routine care, including restorations.

Why is this important?
ASDA opposes the legislation in Ohio and Michigan. ASDA needs your help in monitoring midlevel legislation throughout the country. If you know of a bill that suggests that someone other than a dentist should perform surgical/irreversible procedures, contact ASDA's Council on Advocacy at Advocacy@ASDAnet.org.

Next steps:

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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