Advocacy Month is in full swing
We're about halfway through Advocacy Month 2020! By now, you might have learned about advocacy's past on the ASDA Blog, attended Monday's teledentistry webinar, posted your Do-It-Yourself Molar Bear on social media (#ASDAAdvocacy), joined in on the ASDA Action text alert competition, or submitted points towards the Advocacy Certificate ProgramIf you've done all these things, you could be well on your way to getting BINGO on ASDA's Advocacy IG highlights. If you haven't, there's still time.

Remember: Hindsight is 2020. How will you act now to change the future?
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Advocacy Event Spotlight: Why Advocacy-Student Panel
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. 

Los Angeles
November is an incredibly important time for politics, but being informed and involved as student dentists goes well beyond just this November. ASDA Pre-Clinical Enrichment and ASDA Legislative Committees held a student panel on dental advocacy and what got these students involved in becoming advocates.
FROM Washington
Election 2020

The issue: The country has elected new leaders. As dental student advocates, it is important to remember that regardless of who won, your job is not over. In order to advance the rights of dental students, you must work with the newly elected officials. Below is a breakdown of the election results.

Executive Branch: Democratic Party nominee Joseph Biden is projected to be the next president of the United States.

Legislative Branch: 
House of Representatives: Democrats will maintain the majority in the 117th Congress. Five dentists were reelected to Congress:
  • Rep. Mike Simpson was elected to serve his twelfth term in Idaho's 2nd Congressional District.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar was elected to serve his sixth term in Arizona's 4th District.
  • Rep. Brian Babin was elected to serve his fourth term in Texas' 36th District.
  • Dr. Drew Ferguson was elected to serve his third term in Georgia's 3rd District.
  • Dr. Jeff Van Drew was elected to serve his second term in New Jersey's 2nd District, serving now as a Republican.
Senate: Republicans currently have 50 seats in the Senate to the Democrats 48.
In Georgia candidates need to receive 50 percent of the vote in order to be declared a winner. In both Senate races, no candidate was able to capture 50 percent of the vote. Therefore Georgia will hold two runoff elections on January 5. If Democrats win both runoff elections, Republicans and Democrats will be tied at 50 seats, leaving the tie breaking vote to the vice president. If Republicans win just one of those seats, they will retain control of the Senate.
Congress has yet to pass another COVID-19 relief package
The issue: The benefits from the CARES Act expired in July and Senate Republicans and House Democrats have yet to come to an agreement on another COVID-19 stimulus package. While Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were in talks, an agreement could not be reached before the election. After the election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shared that Congress needed to approve a new bill by the end of 2021. Key areas of disagreement include:
  • Extra unemployment benefits
  • State and local funding
  • Liability protections for businesses
  • Tax credits
  • Money for COVID-19 testing
  • School and childcare funding
Why is it important? ASDA along with other associations within organized dentistry have been advocating for key provisions to be included in the next COVID-19 relief package. These provisions include:
  • Incentivizing health care practitioners to work in health-disadvantaged communities that have been further undermined by COVID-19 by providing tax credits, federal grants, additional student loan repayment, and other incentives.
  • Increasing the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) using an economic indicator, while also keeping in place maintenance of effort (MOE) protections if used to support state Medicaid programs with adult and child dental services.

Want to learn more about COVID-19 relief packages? Listen to Districts 10-11 Legislative Coordinator Shelley Kim explain the stimulus bill and how it affects our profession.
FROM the States
States continue to address licensing requirements during the pandemic 

The issue: States are responding to concerns about professionals not able to receive licensure during this time. Please see below for an update on states that have taken action. 

California: On Sept. 30, the California Department of Consumer Affairs issued a waiver that will grant applications deemed abandoned between March 31, 2020 and Nov. 30, 2020 an additional six months to complete the exam.

Montana: At the Sept. 11 meeting, the Board moved to extend the acceptance of Board-approved manikin-based exams for 90 days beyond the duration of the declared state of emergency. They also moved to approve the ADEX CompeDont manikin exam as a board-approved examination for 2020 graduates.
Oregon: At the Oct. 23 meeting, the Board rescinded temporary rules from the August meeting that would prohibit DLOSCE/manikin exams. Now, the DLOSCE and manikin exams are accepted as standalone exams, effective immediately.

South Carolina: At the Oct. 9 meeting, the Board voted to amend clinical examination requirements to include manikin-based exams for ADEX, CRDTS, or SRTA through December 31, 2021. Previously, the Board had approved these measures through December 31, 2020.

Why is this important? ASDA advocacy efforts have been critical during this uncertain time. Several of those states have announced changes to the licensure requirements for 2020 that align with ASDA's requests. It is important for you to stay involved in ASDA to ensure that lawmakers and regulatory agencies continue to meet the needs of dental students.
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.