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.

University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) School of Dentistry has fewer than 120 students in their student body, but this doesn't stop Mississippi ASDA from ensuring their voices are heard through advocacy efforts. Each spring, members participate in an annual Oral Health Day at the state capitol in conjunction with the Mississippi Dental Association and dentists throughout the state. Mississippi ASDA's legislative liaison, Ambika Srivastava, expressed that "many of the advocacy issues during this year's Oral Health Day paralleled issues being presented at the 2018 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. This event ultimately promoted our advocacy agenda, but also helped members feel well prepared when discussing these same issues with our legislators in Washington, D.C."

For maximum impact of the event, the ASDA chapter collaborated with other campus organizations to promote participation, and then worked with the state dental association for scheduling that benefited all parties. These efforts helped ASDA members to advocate as a strong, united front.

Mississippi ASDA's advocacy efforts also include lunch and learns throughout the year. The chapter aims to keep members informed and prepared for advocacy events held on the local, state or national levels. Focus is placed on the issues defined within ASDA, advancements in state and national dental legislation and future endeavors for the chapter.

Have additional questions about this event? Contact the Council on Advocacy.  
ASDA joins coalition to modernize the dental licensure process

On October 1, ASDA joined with the ADA and ADEA to announce the creation of a coalition that aims to modernize dental licensure. The two main goals of the coalition are to eliminate the use of single encounter, procedure-based examinations on patients and to remove restrictions on portability of dental licensure. President Roopali Kulkarni notes, "as future dental professionals, students hold themselves to the highest ethical standards. We are committed to working together and with the dental boards to modernize the process of dental licensure in order to protect our patients and profession." 

(Photo courtesy of ADA News)
Midterms Matter: Add your voice 

It's time to champion dental student advocacy by participating in ASDA's Advocacy Month, taking place in November. 

The month will focus on advocacy during a pivotal time in American history. ASDA wants you to understand how you can Find out. Reach out. Speak out. for dental student advocacy this election season. 

All ASDA chapters are encouraged to plan and carry out advocacy-related events throughout the month. From hosting the Advocacy Molar Bear to participating in lunch-and-learns, ASDA members across the country will engage in important advocacy efforts. Learn how you can get involved.
from Washington
Opioid legislation: A timeline 

What's the issue? 

Both chambers of Congress addressed the opioid crisis this year, resulting in a comprehensive bill that will be sent to President Trump's desk to sign. Below is a timeline of the actions taken by Congress. 
  • On April 16, the Senate introduced S.2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act. As noted in the May issue of Advocacy Brief, the bill would increase the ability of government agencies to address the opioid crisis through research initiatives, prevention and awareness programs, and additional funding for state and local activities.
  • On June 13, the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) Act. As noted in the July issue of Advocacy Brief, the bill would require state Medicaid programs to monitor opioid prescriptions and put safety processes in place for opioid refills. 
  • On June 22, the House of Representatives passed H.R.6. 
  • On September 17, the Senate passed S.2680.
  • September 18-27, leaders from the House of Representatives and the Senate met to reconcile the differences between the bills.
  • On September 28, the House passed the newly agreed upon bill. 
  • On October 3, the Senate passed the newly agreed upon bill.  
Why is it important? 

Both bills authorize research, grants and other programs to combat the opioid crisis.

During ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, ASDA and ADA members advocated for certain principles to be included in comprehensive bipartisan legislation that addresses the opioid crisis. ADA President Joseph P. Crowley commended Congress for passing this legislation, noting the bill "contains many provisions that are good for both patients and providers, including additional funding for continuing education for health professionals and state prescription drug monitoring programs."

Next Step: 

from the states
Four states include Medicaid expansion on the ballot this election

What's the issue? 

Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Utah have qualified to add Medicaid expansion as a ballot initiative this November. 

How an initiative gets added to the ballot:
  • Twenty-four states have a ballot initiative process.
  • While no two states are alike, generally the process requires filing a petition and obtaining a certain number of signatures from registered voters to get the item on the ballot.  
Why is this important? 

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., have expanded access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In most states, expansion took place through legislative action. However these ballot initiatives may signal a shift in public opinion of Medicaid from traditionally conservative states that once opposed it. 

Several states that have expanded Medicaid have been able to increase dental benefits offered to Medicaid recipients. This could lead to reduced costs for emergency room visits for dental related pain and an increase underserved patients seeking preventative dental care. 
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.