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Student Block Grant Program gets extended

Las Vegas—The 2011 House of Delegates registered its support for the Student Block Grant Program and accepted the Council on Membership’s recommendation to capture results that demonstrate the program’s success.

The Student Block Grant Program provides funding to constituent societies for dental student outreach activities that promote membership in organized dentistry. Resolution 20H-2011 funds the program through 2012.

Res. 20H also requires that metrics are captured in the Council on Membership’s reimbursement application and associated reporting mechanisms. The House directed the council to make the metrics available to the ADA and tripartite agencies with yearly reports to the House for sunset review.

In response to the House directive, a workgroup involving the council and the New Dentist Committee met to determine which metrics will be used, said Dr. Nancy Rosenthal, chair of the Council on Membership.

“We will measure the membership conversion rates of seniors in dental school,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “There were several different options, but in the end, the workgroup determined this would be the best measure of program success. If senior students are responsive to outreach efforts, then the House will know the Student Block Grant Program is a worthy investment.”

As an interim measure, since conversion to membership is measured by membership in the year following dental school graduation, the council will also evaluate the focus on conversion as demonstrated in the reimbursement request forms. Metrics such as number of students targeted, distribution of membership materials and receipt of membership applications in the 30 days following the activity will be assessed.

In 2008, the House of Delegates renewed its support for the Student Block Grant Program and expanded it to provide funding for all constituent societies for student outreach activities and made additional funding available to states with a high student enrollment.

“It’s a popular program supported by a lot of House members,” said Dr. Rosenthal. “The Student Block Grant Program is beneficial for members because students are our future—we have to recruit them and show them the benefits of membership, whether they are in group practice or a residency.”

It’s a crucial time when students and residents are making decisions that will have a long-term impact on their careers, Dr. Rosenthal noted. “This is when you have your audience,” she said. “We have to work to build relationships with students and engage them in organized dentistry. Conducting outreach is vital to the success of the tripartite.”

Constituent societies will receive a notification regarding the Student Block Grant Program. Dr. Rosenthal said societies are encouraged to participate in events such as National Signing Day Season, during which the ADA encourages students to commit to organized dentistry. National Signing Day Season begins in February and lasts though April.

For more information about the Student Block Grant Program, contact the Office of Student Affairs at Ext. 7470.