from ASDA
Advocacy event spotlight

It's time to stop reinventing the advocacy wheel. Rather than plan an event from scratch, learn from the leaders that have planned successful advocacy events at other chapters. 
Florida - Florida Dentists' Day on the Hill

On February 6, the Florida Dental Association (FDA) hosted Dentists' Day on the Hill in Tallahassee, Florida. On this day, 130 dentists, spouses and dental students met with state legislators to lobby for issues relevant to the dental profession. The key pieces of legislation for this session pertained to access to care, especially in rural Florida cities where adequate distribution of dental services remains a problem. Student representatives from all three Florida dental schools (Florida, LECOM and Nova Southeastern) were able to share personal stories about how new student loan repayment legislation would be impactful. The bill (SB 764/HB 369) has been heard in both the Florida Senate and House committees and would allow dental students to receive annual funds for loan repayment in return for working in a recognized dental care shortage area in Florida.

In addition to supporting new bills, the FDA also lobbied against legislation that would create an avenue for the creation of midlevel providers (dental therapists) in the state of Florida. The bill was recently amended to fund a study to explore the need for dental therapists and was temporarily postponed while dentists and dental students were at the capitol for lobby day, allowing dental students to directly make their voices heard. The Florida Dental Association was thrilled to have such a level of support from students-it helped contribute to a very successful lobby day.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy.
Attend ASDA's Make Lobby(ing) Your Hobby webinar  

Attending ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day? Heading to the state capitol for the first time? Register to attend the Make Lobby(ing) your Hobby webinar, hosted by the 2017-18 Council on Advocacy on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

You will receive key insights to help you prepare for your meeting with your elected official, gain effective strategies for how to approach the face-to-face meeting and learn the best way to ensure a productive relationship with your elected official after the meeting. Register today!
If attending Lobby Day, you'll have the opportunity to be part of ASDA's Advocacy Certificate Program kick-off. This new initiative rewards your advocacy efforts at the local, state and national levels. ASDA members earn points by attending national ASDA events, sending Engage Action Alerts, attending state lobby days or writing advocacy-related articles. 
from Washington
New spending bill funds community health centers

What's the issue?

On Feb. 9, President Trump signed a spending bill to reopen the government after a brief shutdown. The $400 billion budget deal, provides a two-year funding extension for community health centers. As discussed in the February issue of the Advocacy Brief, funding for community health centers was not included in the short-term spending bill signed on January 22.

This bill also funds the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for ten years, an increase from the six-year extension in the previous bill.

Not included in the deal was a long-term agreement on immigration reform and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Due to court rulings, the DACA program will not end on March 5 and recipients will be allowed to continue to renew their status.

Why is this important?

The new spending bill demonstrates the effectiveness of advocating for change. ASDA, along with other health care groups, remained dedicated to ensuring these programs received the necessary funding to provide care to communities in need.

Next Step:

Senate introduces bill to address opioid abuse 

What's the issue? 

On Feb. 27, the Senate introduced bipartisan legislation to address the opioid crisis. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is an updated version of the same bill that was passed in 2016.

The new bill allocates money to programs and services that help address related issues, such as medications for opioid addiction, education programs, first-responder training and access to the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. The biggest change to the bill is imposing a three-day limit on initial fills of opioid pills for acute pain.

Why is this important?
Overdose deaths from prescription drugs have tripled from 1999-2014. ASDA recognized the importance of a dental student's role in addressing this issue and adopted policy at the 2018 Annual Session that encourages dental schools to provide resources for students to appropriately address opioids with their patients.

Legislation Update 

On Feb. 26 the House of Representatives voted to pass the Action for Dental Health Act in a vote of 387-13. ASDA has sent 368 letters to members of Congress encouraging them to cosponsor this bill. This is an important legislative victory for ASDA and for underserved patients that could benefit from this bill.
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.