The Legsislative Ledger

 June 2012
ASDA Advocacy
Connecticut Students Fight for Funding   

Connecticut dental students truly demonstrated the power of student involvement in organized dentistry while serving as ASDA delegates to the Connecticut State Dental Association's (CSDA) House of Delegates on May 9. The two student delegates actively participated in the proceedings. The CSDA discussed funding of the annual Mission of Mercy in Connecticut. Dental students lobbied for grants to support such events in Washington, D.C., in April during National Dental Student Lobby Day. First year student Eric Smith spoke in favor of a motion to increase funding for the program. Significant opposition to the proposal had been raised, as CSDA members questioned taking money from reserves during a time when budgets are tight. Eric's speech on the importance of the Connecticut Mission of Mercy program to students and the community "blew everyone away and changed the entire tone of the discussion" according to an attendee. In the end, the House of Delegates approved the supplemental request for an additional $15,000. Various dentists commented afterwards that the vote would have surely gone differently without the participation of the ASDA delegates.

Connecticut House of Delegates with ASDA Students
ASDA students with members of Connecticut House of Delegates
From the States
Workforce Issues

So far, 2012 has seen successful battles against faulty alternative workforce models for dental care. Legislation failed or is likely to remain stagnant this year in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas, New Mexico, Missouri and Ohio. The discussions have not been easy. In Connecticut, a bill creating an Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner faced a 14-14 tie, and in Vermont, where the Kellogg Foundation continues to push for the dental therapy model, the possibility remains for a rider as an amendment to another bill. Likewise, Kansas, North Dakota and Michigan now join the list of states considering alternative workforce models. In California, new legislation calls for research into non-dentist provided procedures. Overall, the debates demonstrate the need for continued involvement by the dentist community to ensure the protection of oral health care (ADA SLR).

From the States
ADEA Joins Proposed Health Education Loan Programs Act
ADEA added its support to legislation being written by the Association of American Medical Colleges relevant to dental students and schools. The bill targets Health Resources and Services Administration loan programs, student loan counseling via the Department of Education, and the work of financial aid officers. The measure hopes to streamline the process of applying for loans and clarify much of the paperwork and confusion students face. It also addresses unnecessary costs students incur, such as holding onto their Graduate Plus loans until clearing other debts instead of being able to pay off the highest interest rates first. Students would also no longer be required to submit parental information for certain loans. The Federation of Associations of Schools of the Health Professions is now looking to introduce the legislation to Congress with support (ADEA WU). 
NIDCR Research in Private Practice Dentistry

An exciting initiative which gives dentists the opportunity to participate in active dental research received a seven-year $66.8 million dollar grant. Under the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Dental-Practice Based Research Network will bring together various regional study sites. The newly unified effort will further the ability of dentists to contribute to dental care research through efforts in their practices with consenting patients. This may be an interesting option for practitioners wishing to incorporate more research science into their daily work (ADEA WU).

Please view the ADEA Washington Update and the ADA's State Legislative Report for more information on these topics.

You can also visit ASDA's "Advocating the Issues" webpage.
In This Issue
- Students Fight for Funding
- Workforce Issues
- ADEA Update
- NIDCR Research
Legislative Grassroots Network

Ian Murray, Western '13

ADPAC Student Director 
Ross Isbell, Alabama '14

Districts 1-3 Legislative Coordinator:
Chrissy Shaw, Connecticut '14

Districts 4-5 Legislative Coordinator:   
Phil Bell, Florida '14

Districts 6-7 Legislative Coordinator:
Ashley Ginsberg, Illinois '14 

Districts 8-9 Legislative Coordinator:   
Emily Tschetter, Nebraska '14

Districts 10-11 Legislative Coordinator:  
Spencer Armuth, Las Vegas '14

Staff Liaison
Meghan Keelean, CMP