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Dentists, students awarded for their advocacy work

April 18, 2019

By Jennifer Garvin

Reps. Ferguson and Van Drew
Reps. Drew Ferguson, left, and Jeff Van Drew

Washington  — While addressing dentists and students April 16, Reps. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., and Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., both stressed bipartisanship as the key to succeeding in government and life.

In addition to being members of Congress, Reps. Ferguson and Van Drew are also longtime ADA members. The two lawmakers were the featured speakers at the annual ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day awards breakfast.

“We try to find the common threads that run through every one of us and every single American so we can move this country forward,” said Rep. Ferguson who admitted it’s a “tough time” for lawmakers right now.

He said his background as a dentist and small-town mayor prepared him well for Congress.

“Being a dentist really did,” he said. “Everyone who came through my door needed something fixed for the lowest cost with no pain.”

During his remarks, Rep. Van Drew talked about the importance of strong advocacy, particularly when it comes to dentistry.

“I don’t believe life is a spectator sport,” he said. “I believe if you want to do something, you get involved and you give it your all and you make a difference. It is important that you are here and want to make a difference.”

Like Rep. Ferguson, Rep. Van Drew also stressed the need for all politicians — regardless of party — to work together.   

“All the great men and women who founded this country worried about political parties and what they believed in was America. What they believed was freedom. What they believed in was opportunity. They believed in giving people a chance,” he said.

Prior to the congressional keynotes, the American Dental Political Action Committee presented grassroots advocacy awards, which included:

  • Highest ADPAC contributions in a single state district: California.
  • Highest ADPAC contributions in a multistate district: The 16th District of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • Multistate district with highest percentage of membership: The 10th District of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
  • Highest percentage of membership in a single state district: Illinois.

The American Student Dental Association also presented awards. ASDA named Ambika Srivastava, a third-year student from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry, as the organization’s National Liaison of the Year recipient.

ASDA's regional legislative award winners were:

  • Districts 1, 2, 3: Aimee Werfel, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, class of 2020.
  • Districts 6, 7: Malika Malik, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, 2021.
  • Districts 8, 9: Shilpa Kudva, Texas A&M College of Dentistry, 2021.
  • Districts 10, 11: Sarah Elghor, UCLA School of Dentistry, 2021.