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. 

Creighton - Hot topic lunch and learns during Advocacy Month

To celebrate Advocacy Month, Creighton held lunchtime "advocacy briefs" that reviewed issues surrounding midlevel providers and licensure reform. The lunch and learns created a platform to educate fellow students on big issues in dentistry, ASDA's stance on those issues and what students can do to help.   
"Our chapter at Creighton has had a tough time in the past getting students involved with advocacy. We've found that interacting directly with students and engaging them in the conversation gets people excited about advocacy," says Legislative Liaison Kevin Reardon. This year, Creighton will host its first ever ADPAC drive. Reardon notes, "we're looking forward to continuing to grow #ASDAadvocacy here at Creighton!"

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy.  
Advocacy Month was a success

Advocacy Month has been a success thanks to the grassroots initiatives held at the chapter level. We hope you enjoyed the events, learned more about advocacy and are inspired to stay involved in the future. Advocacy Molar Bear is safely back at ASDA headquarters, hibernating and dreaming of Advocacy Month 2018.

Cartoon Competition Winners

This contest was a new and creative way to demonstrate how the burden of student debt affects members upon graduation. 
Engage Competition Winner

The objective of the Engage competition was simple: get more students to send letters to their lawmakers. The winner is the chapter with the highest percentage of members participating. With a participation rate of forty percent, the winner of the Engage competition is Texas-Houston.

Populist Chapter Challenge

Back for the second year, this challenge rewards the chapter that received the most likes on their  advocacy event post. With 77 likes, South Carolina had the winning post.  South Carolina invited ASDA national leader alumnus Dr. Shaun O'Neill, Iowa '17, to speak about licensure reform.

Congratulations to all the winners!
ASDA supports NIDCR funding

ASDA signed on to a letter encouraging Congress to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) at $36 billion and $439.7 million respectively. Dental research is essential to improving oral health care across the country. This is the second letter ASDA signed on to this year that advocates for appropriate NIH and NIDCR funding. 

Read the letter.

from Washington
ASDA fights for student loan deductions in tax reform legislation

On Oct. 15, ASDA sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Madam Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging them to reconsider eliminating the Student Loan Interest Deduction provision included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Currently individuals can deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest paid in a given year if their modified adjusted gross income is less than $80,000 or less than $160,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Since ASDA sent the letter to House leadership, both the House and Senate passed their respective tax bills. The House and Senate formed a conference committee where members from both chambers of Congress will meet to reconcile the differences between the bill. ASDA sent an email to each member of the committee encouraging them to include the Student Loan Interest Deduction provision in the final bill.   

Why is this important?

This deduction ensures recent graduates are able to pursue academia, public health or practice in underserved communities. Additionally, students are often the sole income-earner in their family once they graduate and this deduction provides relief to young families just starting out. 
Thanks in part to ASDA's advocacy efforts, the latest version of the tax bill maintains the Student Loan Interest Deduction. Keeping this provision is essential to lobby for expanding the deduction in the future.

Next Step:

from the states
Florida files dental student loan repayment program bills

What's the issue?

State Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) and State Rep. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) filed bills to create a dental student loan repayment program for dentists that practice in underserved communities.  SB 764 and HB 369 would grant participating dentists up to $50,000 per year towards student loan repayment to practice in a public health program that serves Medicaid and other low-income patients in dental health professional shortage areas.

In 2016, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a similar bill.

Why is it important?

ASDA supports measures that allow recent graduates to practice in underserved areas while reducing their burden of student debt. If this bill passes, it could serve as an example for other states looking to reduce barriers to care.

Next Step:

Barriers to Care Spotlight: California

California will fully restore adult dental benefits under  Denti-Cal starting in 2018. Adults in Denti-Cal are eligible for procedures like laboratory processed crowns, posterior root canal therapy, periodontal services and partial dentures, including denture adjustments, repairs and relines. Adult dental benefits were cut severely in 2009 and partially restored in 2014 to include preventative dental care. This is important step to reducing barriers to care in the state. 

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.