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Washington conference focuses on delivering the dental health message

Washington—Tell your story, ADA President Robert Faiella urged the nation's dental leaders in opening the May 13-15 Washington Leadership Conference.

"Tell dentistry's story when you visit your legislators this week. You are not only messengers, you are the source of knowledge and experience. You know the issues because you live them every day."

Welcoming some 550 dentists and state dental leaders from 49 states and the District of Columbia, Dr. Faiella said the annual WLC is "our opportunity to bring our issues to the attention of elected officials and their staff" in visits to congressional offices on Capitol Hill.

He also announced the opportunity to extend a wider message to the public and decision-makers in a May 15 media event at the National Press Club. The media event announced ADA's launch of Action for Dental Health, an initiative to address the oral health crisis for underserved people in the United States.

"This Action for Dental Health provides clear, unmistakable direction to the solutions that we find are important to provide for the underserved," the Association president said.


Talking politics: Political analyst Charlie Cook (right) talks about elections to the May 13 dental audience, the opening day of the ADA Washington Leadership Conference. Photos by Bill Geiger
"Decision-makers, certainly those that influence the decisions on oral health policy, understand that a suite of solutions makes a lot more sense than focusing on one single solution and delivering care now to those who desperately need it; preventing disease before it starts with those strategies that we know work like community water fluoridation and school-based sealant programs, and of course empowering people to understand it's their own decision, their ability to understand how oral health impacts overall health that can make a difference in their lives."

"A more focused articulation of ADA policies and initiatives to do this can significantly increase the extent to which the Association is viewed as a trusted source of information about oral health," Dr. Faiella told the audience of dental advocates and political activists.

Concluding the WLC opening day, political analyst Charlie Cook wove a tale of elections past and yet to come, of political party strength and potential. But his first calculation was non-political. "What an amazing crowd," he told the audience that filled the JW Marriott hotel ballroom. "I was told 350. This looks like 500."