National Dental Student Lobby Day Update
More than 380 members attended National Dental Student Lobby Day, April 11-12, in Washington, D.C. Students received issue-specific training and learned how to effectively lobby legislators. They networked with other students and practiced their new skills in small groups before heading to the Hill. Students scheduled a record number of 305 appointments with congressmen and women and their staff to discuss student debt and barriers to care.

Congratulations to Eddie Lee, Roseman '17, on being named the 2016 National Legislative Liaison of the Year. This award honors outstanding legislative liaisons for motivating and organizing their chapters in the legislative arena and getting chapters involved in advocacy efforts and events.

Lobby Day Issues Update
On Wednesday, April 6, ASDA sent an action alert to all members requesting support for the POST GRAD Act, a bill that ASDA advocated for during Lobby Day.

As of April 13, ASDA members sent 1,413 letters to their representatives urging them to support this bill.

On April 11, ADA and ASDA sent a letter the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Education and Workforce urging the committee to support the POST GRAD Act.

Next step:
It's not too late to send a letter to your representatives! Sign on to this engagement now.

from Washington
Community water fluoridation continues to grow

What's the issue?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report based on the 2014 water system statistics. The statistics show that 74.7 percent of the U.S. population on community water systems had access to optimally fluoridated water. This is approximately 214 million people.

The CDC updates its fluoridation statistics every two years. Since the 2012 report, an additional 3.5 million people received the benefits of fluoridated drinking water.

Why is this important?
According to ASDA's I-1 policy, ASDA encourages the fluoridation of community water supplies as a scientifically proven, safe and effective means of preventing dental decay.

The CDC hopes that by 2020 79.6 percent of people on public water systems will receive water that has the optimum level of fluoride recommended for preventing tooth decay.

It is important to be an advocate for water fluoridation within the communities you serve. While progress has been made, there are still millions of people that do not experience the benefits of fluoridated drinking water.

Next steps:

Bill to create additional funding for research institutions

What's the issue?
On March 3, nine members of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) introduced S. 2624, the National Biomedical Research Act. The bill would establish a Biomedical Innovation Fund that would provide $5 million a year in new funding for certain initiatives at the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration. Some of the initiatives that would be supported by this additional funding include:
  • Precision Medicine: conducts research on the underlying basis for diseases.
  • Disruptive Innovation: conducts research on diseases with inadequate or limited treatment options.
  • Early Career Scientists: provides grants to young scientists.
Why is this important?
According to ASDA's D-1 policy, the association actively encourages the participation of interested dental students in dental research.

An increase in funding for these initiatives could lead to more opportunities for dental students to participate in research.

Next step:

from the states
California and New Jersey introduce GME Bills

What's the issue?
The Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (GME) program began as a $230 million, 5-year initiative created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to increase the number of primary care residents and dentists trained in community-based settings. Assembly members from California and New Jersey introduced bills to establish or investigate opportunities to expand this initiative.

California: Assembly member Rob Bonta introduced AB2216. Under this bill, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the State Department of Health Care Services would provide technical assistance in the following areas:
  • Expanding primary care residency programs at Teaching Health Center Graduate Education Programs (THCGME)
  • Maximizing federal funding of THCGME programs in federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics
  • Helping Medi-Cal providers, mental community health centers, rural health clinics and the Indian Health Service and Title X family planning clinics that are looking to establish a primary care residency program
New Jersey: Assembly member Herb Conaway introduced A1806. This bill directs the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to establish a strategic planning summit that is comprised of stakeholders from key state agencies including representatives from medical schools and teaching hospitals in the state. Objectives of the summit include:
  • Evaluate the state's physician workforce supply.
  • Review the possibility of redistributing or expanding the residency slots to address physician shortages within the state.
  • Look at ways to add more community hospitals in resident rotations in family medicine, internal medicine and pediatric medicine.
Why is this important?
Physicians and dentists trained in health centers are more than three times as likely to work in a health center and more than twice as likely to work in an underserved area as those not trained at health centers.

These bills have the opportunity to reduce barriers to care for patients in underserved areas.

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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