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Dental leaders welcome student advocates

April 14, 2015

By Craig Palmer

Arlington, Va. — ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the ADA president said. “Ask them to be advocates for you and for the profession.”