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ADA Washington Leadership Conference set for April 12-14

Washington—Nearly 600 dental advocates will convene in the nation’s capital to lobby Congress and celebrate Give Kids A Smile events reaching millions of children.

Gala to honor GKAS sponsors, partners, supporters

Washington—ADA Foundation Give Kids A Smile Gala April 13 will honor sponsors, partners and supporters of GKAS events for underserved children while announcing a third round of GKAS grant awardees.

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have teamed up to provide preventive, screening and treatment services for millions of children since GKAS was launched in 2003. They, too, will be honored along with the many program sponsors. The gala will cite ongoing support from corporate sponsors Colgate, Henry Schein Dental and Dexis.

Premier sponsors include CareCredit, Colgate and the William Wrigley Jr. Company. Wrigley is the ADA’s overall strategic partner. Henry Schein Dental is a Benefactor. Patrons include CareCredit, DENTSPLY and the American Academy of Periodontology. At the Sponsor level are Henry Schein Cares, Sunstar, the American Dental Education Association, the New York State Dental Foundation, 3M and the American Dental Political Action Committee.

The gala will acknowledge CareCredit's "special support over the years" as a founding donor to the Give Kids A Smile Fund.

Oral Health America, TeamSmile, the National Dental Association, the Hispanic Dental Association and America's Dentists Care Foundation, which is also known as Missions of Mercy, are this year's grant awardees. TeamSmile and Missions of Mercy will receive Program Champion grants and the NDA, HDA and Oral Health America will receive Program Growth grants. "These programs have the stature and energy to make a remarkable difference in the lives of at-risk children by enhancing their oral health during a variety of events and clinics this year."

The Dental Trade Alliance Foundation will be recognized for three-year support and sponsorship of GKAS promising practices symposia. The fourth symposium is scheduled for July 23 at ADA headquarters in Chicago to focus on continuity of care and finding dental homes for children.

Steve Kess, chair of the GKAS national advisory board and Henry Schein vice president of global relations, will thank board members "for their hard work over the past three and one-half years in expanding Give Kids A Smile."

Expected gala guests and GKAS supporters will include members of Congress and administration officials, ADA and state and local dental society officials and staff, GKAS program directors, community and public health colleagues and the ADA Foundation Board of Directors.

During the annual Washington Leadership Conference, the American Dental Political Action Committee will present grassroots advocacy awards to the Rhode Island Dental Association and Georgia Dental Association. The Association will honor Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) for leadership in oral health advocacy at a GKAS reception and gala April 13.

That the annual WLC and GKAS activities coincide with an historical April 12-13 nuclear security summit is happenstance. The latter will command security attention in the extended downtown area encompassing all these events and travel disruptions are expected. In what is described as one of the world’s largest gatherings of heads of state, President Obama will meet with leaders of more than 40 nations to enhance cooperation in preventing nuclear terrorism as dentists from across the United States assert professional policy on Capitol Hill.

"Your willingness to come to Washington to advocate for our profession and the patients we serve is a critical element if we are to be successful in our government affairs," Dr. Ron Tankersley, ADA president, says in prepared remarks welcoming grassroots activist dentists and state dental association representatives to the WLC.

During the conference, the dental advocates will lobby lawmakers on a number of issues including antitrust legislation, the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flags rule and insurance reforms for ERISA-governed dental plans. Dentist/Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) will deliver the keynote address and other members of Congress are among the scheduled speakers.

The WLC will also focus on persuasive communications with presentations on the enhanced Web site, which the Association unveiled to the profession and public on April 7, and on "trends transforming social media and politics."

Many of the dental advocates will meet with members of Congress and congressional staff during the WLC to discuss issues of interest to the dental profession. "It is critical that ADA represent our members' interests by focusing on what matters most to the profession and all the caring professionals who comprise our organization," said Dr. Tankersley, ADA president.

The third annual ADA Foundation Give Kids A Smile reception at the Capitol Visitor Center and awards gala at the Decatur House April 13 will honor GKAS sponsors and partners and announce a second round of grant awards to dental organizations with "the stature and energy to make a remarkable difference in the lives of at-risk children by enhancing their oral health" and "to thank you for all you do for our underserved children."