S2 E1: Becoming the dental advocate

The hosts of ADA sister podcast “Tooth Talk” explain how advocacy makes dentistry better for all of us and how you can help.

Dental Sound Bites Peter Aiello & Sarah Milligan

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Episode notes

A look at dental advocacy and how you can impact big change

In an ADA Dental Sound Bites first, we’re joining forces with our ADA sister podcast, “Tooth Talk,” and diving into all things advocacy: what it is, what it does and how it’s changing the profession. Plus, we explore five simple ways you can get involved right now. Our guests are Sarah Milligan, director of political affairs for the American Dental Political Action Committee (ADPAC) and Peter Aiello, senior manager of political affairs with ADPAC.

Milligan explains: “Members of Congress and their staff want to meet you. You’re health care providers, you're owners, you're employers. You are really active in your community. The dentists I know are involved in a thousand other community activities. They're really pillars of their communities. And these members of Congress, you all are the people that they are dying to know within the community. And you're really leaders and they want to hear what's important to you because they know you're advocating as well on behalf of your patients.”

Peter Aiello
Peter Aiello 

Sarah Milligan
Sarah Milligan 

Show Notes

  • In this first episode of Season Two, Dr. M.J. Hanlon announces the end of her time as host for the podcast, and Dr. Effie Ioaniddou is welcomed as the new co-host along with Dr. ArNelle Wright.
  • This episode features the hosts of “Tooth Talk,” a sister ADA podcast, Sarah Milligan and Peter Aiello, who are experts in advocacy.
  • Milligan is Director, Political Affairs/ADPAC and Aiello is Sr. Manager, ADPAC & Political Affairs.
  • They both discuss their careers in advocacy and how they became involved in politics which includes coordinating the annual ADA Lobby Day event, which Dr. Wright attended and enjoyed it. More than 700 dentists and dental students attend this year’s event.
  • Aiello shared that advocacy is the idea of going to the government to petition for change, and members of associations should tell their members of Congress how laws affect them. Milligan says that advocacy focuses on specific issues that affect the profession, patients and the practice. Members of Congress do not know all the little things that affect dental practice, patients, and the profession.
  • All demographics of dentists are extremely supportive of each other and have the same level of urgency, fire, and love for the profession and practice, Milligan says.
  • Student loan debt is a key concern among students and younger dentists. Ioaniddou says high student loan debt is preventing many dental students from pursuing their desired careers, such as academia.
  • The Ready Act, which defers interest during a dentist residency, is mentioned as an example of legislation related to student loan reform. Aiello explains that there will likely be a Senate companion bill for the Ready Act and emphasizes the importance of incremental progress in advocating for legislation.
  • Milligan acknowledges the significant issue of student debt, but notes that in a Republican-led Congress, it may not be a high priority issue for Republicans. However, supporting specific bills like the Ready Act can still be a meaningful step forward.
  • One of the ADA's big legislative victories was the McCarran Ferguson repeal in 2020, and another was the Massachusetts medical loss ratio ballot initiative.
  • Small legislative changes can also have a significant impact and don't always require a nationwide campaign, so Milligan and Aiello explain it is important to lobby at your state level as well.
  • Attending Lobby Day, encouraging fellow dentists to attend are just a few ways to get involved, but Aiello says the most important thing you can do is vote. There is a record of each time you have voted in the past. While it doesn’t share who you voted for, it does help lawmakers see if you are engaged in the process and they are more likely to listen to people who vote often.




View episode transcript


Wright [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. I am Dr. Wright and this is Dental Sound Bites an ADA podcast where dentists share solutions to challenges in life and work.

Announcer [00:00:13] From the American Dental Association, this is Dental Sound Bites, created for dentists by dentists. Ready? Let's dive right into real talk on dentistry's daily wins and sticky situations.

Wright [00:00:29] Welcome to an all new season of Dental Sound Bites. Before we dive into our topic today, I have an important message from Dr. Hanlon.

Hanlon [00:00:37] Hi, everyone. It's Dr. MJ Hanlon here. It has been an unbelievable, great pleasure and honor for me to share my knowledge and insights with you during season one of ADA's Dental Sound Bites. Unfortunately, I am concluding my time as your host. While I'm excited to explore new opportunities, I will miss you so much, Dr. Wright and our incredible community of dentists. Thank you to all the listeners for your support, engagement and feedback throughout our time together. I do appreciate the opportunity more than you know. As you continue to provide excellent dental care to your patients please remember to take care of yourselves. I wish you all the very best in the future. I'm really pleased to pass the cohost baton to your new season to co-host.

Wright [00:01:18] Well, Dr. Hanlon, we are missing you here at Dental Sound Bites. We thank you so much for all of the wisdom in the time that you shared with us. We want to welcome our new co-host, Dr. Effie Ioaniddou.

Ioaniddou [00:01:30] Thank you, Dr. Wright. This is really exciting to be part of the Dental Sound Bites. I'm Effie Ioaniddou and I'm a professor at the University of Connecticut. I'm a periodontist, I'm a clinician scientist, and I'm super excited to be part of this podcast, so with this, let's jump right in.

Wright [00:01:48] Yes, let's do it. Today we're talking all things advocacy. And who better to do this with than the hosts of our sister ADA podcast Tooth Talk. So please welcome Sarah Milligan and Peter Aiello. Hi, everybody, hey, guys.

Aiello [00:02:03] Hello.

Milligan [00:02:04] Hi. Thanks for having us.

Wright [00:02:05] Thank you all so much for being here. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves, how you got involved in advocacy and a little bit more about your podcast?

Aiello [00:02:13] As I said, I'm Peter Aiello, one of the co-hosts of Tooth Talk I'm also the senior manager of AD PAC and political affairs here at the ADA. I kind of got into advocacy through my background, which was political campaigning. I did a lot of work in the field, so I did a lot of voter targeting, making lists of who to go talk to and rallying the troops and getting them to go knock doors and make phone calls and get people elected to Congress and try to make sure that they get out there or send people to where Sarah used to work on the Hill.

Milligan [00:02:43] Yes, I'm Sarah Milligan. I'm the director of PAC and political affairs for the ADA. And I came a slightly different tact, but very DC. When I graduated from college, I came to the Hill, wanted to work on the Hill. I was only going to do that for a year and then go to law school. Law school never happened. I have been in D.C., continuously, worked for a few members of the House of Representative and a different trade association before eventually making it to the ADA. And this has been my entire career path has been Washington focused and sort of federally based. Peter and I work on the D.C. staff of the ADA. Even though we are based in Chicago, we keep people in D.C. that are really focused on the federal government and our federal initiatives. So Congress, the bureaus and agencies and The White House.

Wright [00:03:29] Awesome, you said, Sarah, that law school never happened for you. And I have the same experience. So once upon a time I thought I was going to be a lawyer and go that whole poli-sci route and I kind of deviated and went into dentistry instead.

Milligan [00:03:43] Well, it sounds like you had a great deviation.

Aiello [00:03:48] Slightly better.

Ioaniddou [00:03:49] Not necessarily both careers, I think, are interesting, Right. Maybe that's why Dr. Wright is very active in advocacy.

Wright [00:03:55] This is a full circle moment. We're going to get into a little bit about Lobby Day in just a moment. But I found myself at Lobby Day and I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed doing dentistry. And I didn't have to go to law school to go.

Milligan [00:04:08] That's great. Yeah. And we are excited to talk to you about Lobby Day. Thanks for coming.

Announcer 2 [00:04:15] Announcing the new, wait this calls for a drum roll. Perfect. Announcing the newly reimagined ADA member app. Designed for dentists by Dentists. It puts ADA membership in the palm of your hands with features like a personalized news feed. Member, chat groups, personal document storage, even episode exclusives from Dental Sound Bites. The new ADA podcast. Tap into all the possibilities by searching for ADA member app in your app store.

Wright [00:04:53] Well, thank you so much to everybody who sent in questions for this episode on Instagram at the American Dental Association. I would love for you all to just tell us what Lobby Day is, what happens at this amazing event, how Lobby Day impacts the profession for all of our listeners out there who they may not know. I was one of those people who didn't know that this was a thing. Call me living under a rock. I mean, I don't know, but I just didn't know. And I'm glad that I went.

Milligan [00:05:22] Yes, well, Lobby Day is a joint production between the ADA and also the American Student Dental Association. This past year, we had 700 dentists and students from all over the country, all 50 states, and we had two audiences during Lobby Day. The first one is the dentists and students that join us for Lobby Day. Our second audience is members of Congress and their staff on Capitol Hill. We need to make sure that our message is heard and that we're making an impact and that our dentists are prepared to present these issues and in a meaningful way that makes members interested and want to hear. And we don't expect every member of Congress to be with us on every issue. We usually present issues where there's something that everyone can get behind. Over the few days that we have Lobby Day, we do a series of networking events because dentists and students love to network with each other. It's a very people centric profession, as you may know. And then we also we do a lot of training. We're going to make sure that you are ready to present these issues. And then on the last day, you go to the Hill, you meet with your members of Congress, with your fellow colleagues from your state, and then you do some follow up. And we hope that you'll continue that throughout the year and then that we see you next year.

Ioaniddou [00:06:38] That's great.

Aiello [00:06:38] And it's definitely our best opportunity to show unity and as we like to say, speak with one voice united on the Hill, bringing in that many people we can almost hit every office and too it's we're one of the bigger fly-ins and people know when we're when the dentist are coming you guys you see the little tooth flags everywhere and the members of Congress. So it's like, oh, yeah, the dentists are here. So it's great to see that. And they know they're paying attention.

Wright [00:07:06] I wanted to kind of share a little bit about my experience at Lobby Day. And like I said earlier, like I thought that at one point in my career or in my life that I wanted to go to law school and do the whole, you know, lawyer role, maybe eventually politics. And then I was just like, okay, no, this is not going to work for me. So I'm on the new dentist committee, and one of my colleagues there is the one who kind of really, really encouraged all of us to kind of put our hands up and go to Lobby Day. And I was just like, man, I was a little bit intimidated because the whole politics thing, I feel like I'm not like as well-versed as some of our colleagues. And so I said, well, there's only one way for me to learn. And so I said, yes, I was going to go. And when I went, it was very eye opening, very insightful and very enlightening about all the work that's happening in the background that, you know, we say advocacy is like a reason why we get involved with the ADA and we're members and things like that. But being at Lobby Day kind of helps me see exactly what you all are doing and what it doesn't mean to truly advocate for the profession. So it was very, very informative for me and I can definitely see myself attending again. I felt really well briefed on stuff. I loved sitting in the training and all of that. But how was it for you all to get us prepared?

Aiello [00:08:26] Getting you guys prepared is the joy, that that's the easy part. Once we get our issues and once our regulatory policy and our lobbyists get the talking points together, putting the trainings together is great.

Wright [00:08:38] That's the easy part.

Aiello [00:08:39] The rest of logistics, I need a very large swear jar for so you know, and it's like it's how we fund the brunch after Lobby Day for the staff. But we have a very talented staff and I can't thank them all enough about how they work on this, this particular event. And also you all come ready to go be there.

Ioaniddou [00:08:57] Peter, I have done Lobby Day, not with the ADA, but with the AADOCR, the American Association for Dental Oral and Craniofacial Research. And it's certainly we are not 700 people going around. We are very, very few. So it's really the logistics kind of easy to handle, I guess. But when you have such a huge crowd, like in terms of practicality, to make all this appointments and setup people in the right district with the right representative and it's just a nightmare. It's it must be super hard. Kudos to you guys. This is amazing.

Aiello [00:09:32] Thank you. Thank you very much. You make it easy. You really do. The dentists make it really easy.

Milligan [00:09:36] I spend a lot of time with members of Congress that their staff and if someone is listening and they leave with nothing but what I am about to say, I would be very happy with this time investment. Members of Congress and their staff want to meet you. You are health care providers, you're owners, you're employers. You are really active in your community. The dentists, I know they were involved in a thousand other community activities. They're really pillars of their communities. And these members of Congress, you all are the people that they are dying to know within the community. And you're really leaders and they want to hear what's important to you because they know you're advocating as well on behalf of your patients.

Aiello [00:10:18] I was going to just hit on that last point you said Sarah, your a good, a constituency that represents another constituency. So you're a dentist, but you also represent your patients, and that's huge. So because everybody has teeth, so are these dentists.

Wright [00:10:33] Let's get down to the basics. What advocacy is? What does it do and how is it changing the profession?

Aiello [00:10:40] I can take the first part of the basics of what it is. There's a Margaret Mead quote out there that's I'm going to butcher it. But it's basically saying like, never doubt that a small group of dedicated citizens could change the world because it's the only thing that ever has. That is kind of what advocacy is in this 30,000 foot level. It's this idea that you can go in there and you can petition your government to do what you want it to do. And it is really important when you get a group of citizens together to do stuff like that and to kind of talk about, you know, there are multiple ways of doing advocacy, but the importance of it is like your members of Congress are not going to know all the little things, especially in dentistry, that will affect your practice and the patients and the profession. So it's really important that members of the association go to their members of Congress and explain how laws that they pass affect them. So the idea of what does it do? Sarah worked on the Hill. So when you get all these people, Sarah calling into the members of Congress, what does it do?

Milligan [00:11:41] Well, that is a great question. You know, Hill offices track every phone call that they get, every email that they get from their constituents. So there's roughly between 750 and 800,000 people in any of the 435 congressional districts. And those House members or senators who represent states, the most important people to them are their actual constituents. So whatever is important to those constituents is what those people are advocating for. So, you know, personally, you might advocate for social issues, you might advocate for lower taxes generally, when Peter and I are talking about advocacy or talking about it through the ADA lens, we are only talking about dentistry. We're not talking about issues outside of the profession, the practice, the patients. We are only talking about some very specific issues that affect the profession, which then also includes, you know, you're advocating for your patients and you're advocating for yourself as well.

Aiello [00:12:36] And changing the profession. I believe there, Doctor Oyster, that in North Carolina has said it a million times in a great way. It's like if you're not at the table, you're on the menu. So you have to be involved in order to make sure that your voice is heard. The only thing that's going to make change is people standing up and actually being involved.

Ioaniddou [00:12:52] Yeah nowadays, do you find that more younger or newly practicing dentists are involved in advocacy or do you find that it doesn't really show any difference in demographics. In other words, which group is more active and more motivated to advocate for the profession?

Milligan [00:13:09] I do not find there to be one age group that's more involved than the others. I mean, I think every age group has certainly a different perspective. An experienced practitioner is maybe looking towards the end of his or her career and some issues that might affect them. Whereas a student is looking at things like student debt, how am I going to buy a practice? How am I going to employ people? Is there enough workforce to employ to keep my doors open? What I will say and I have worked at different trade associations, the dentists at all demographics are extremely supportive of each other. The experience practitioners are really supportive of the students. The students are really supportive of the experience practitioners and think that some that are maybe ending in retirement maybe have a little bit more time on their hands. But I don't think any less urgency than a dental student who is very busy, is trying to figure out their next few years. You know, they speak at the same volume. And Peter, you tell me but I think we see the same fire and urgency and love for the profession and the practice and from all demographics.

Aiello [00:14:16] Yeah, I will definitely agree with that. I think that it's the only thing difference you see between your new dentist, your dental students, your middle of their career dentists and people that are phasing out is just the issue that's most important to them. Kind of moves a little bit. Definitely with the dental students, it's all about their student loans. It's all about how do I get into this profession and what is the government going to do to either hinder or help that?

Wright [00:14:41] Very true. And you know, when I was there in early March, I saw a variety of age groups and demographics there, too. So to your point, Sarah, I was actually surprised by the amount of dental students that were there because when I was in dental school, I had never attended. And looking back, it's something that I wish that I had done just so that I would be a little further ahead in just my knowledge of the issues. But there was like a great like prep session, so we had a good time being able to kind of go through the issues that we were going to be advocating for, both collectively and individually in districts. It was really, really good to be there.

Ioaniddou [00:15:15] What do you think are the key issues? You brought up the debt and the financial issues that students or young dentists face, but in addition to this, any comment on the other important issues that the dentists are interested in?

Aiello [00:15:29] Student loans is a big one. Insurance reform is a huge one.

Milligan [00:15:32] There's Medicaid.

Aiello [00:15:33] Medicaid, regulatory reform. These are all ways in which the regulations and the government kind of get involved in what the what you can do in your practice. Those are some of the high level issues we have, the bills that we've touched on in Lobby Day and they're really important. But the key issues are that and then workforce also medical loss ratio has come up real quick out of nowhere. Thank you, Massachusetts.

Milligan [00:15:55] We also have a lot of tax based issues. I mean, a lot of our dentist offices are small businesses. And of course, you know, we have a lot of complicated arguments revolving around tax structure. A lot of federal programs, prevention programs are funded through the federal government. So there's advocacy that takes place securing those funds every year. I would say also, you know, there are some things that like we never think of, there's sometimes been issues with credit card swipe fees. So it really, really runs the gamut to things that you would go to naturally and then other things that are sort of unintended consequences of other legislation that affects us that no one really ever thought that it would be an unintended consequence. So it's sort of keeping an eye on all of those issues all at the same time.

Ioaniddou [00:16:41] The other day it was interesting. I was sitting with one of the students in their school of UConn, and she came to my office to ask for advice pertaining to her career plans. Right. And she said and it's you know, it was like really impressive to me. It was first time I heard she said, you know, I could go and do residency. But what they want to do, I really want to change the way we practice dentistry and focus more on environmentally friendly and sustainable dental practices in terms of regulating the disposables and trying to avoid so much plastic. And I was like, so refreshing. This is so refreshing to hear from. And to your point, Sarah, before I really find that their students and their newly graduated dentists are really informed about this, right, Which is really impressive. They know more about dentistry and more about the issues than people in my generation. And, you know, I mean, I mean my 50s. So it's been around for a long time.

Milligan [00:17:40] Well, I don't know about more, but we can certainly compliment them on them on being very active and up on their issues. Yes.

Aiello [00:17:46] I mean, it is kind of something that's been floating out there that and not to throw my own generation under the bus, but the millennials, we're kind of less involved. And this generation is just on top of it, like we have our first member of Congress from was it Generation Z? So I feel like they're much more engaged.

Ioaniddou [00:18:05] Sure.

Milligan [00:18:05] Yeah.

Wright [00:18:06] One of the things that came up actually was student loan reform. That was a topic of discussion while I was there. And it was something that I was pretty interested in because, I mean, I'm not directly affected by this actual piece of legislation because I'm not in residency. So the Ready Act, but diving into student loan and student debt, can we all have a recap of where we are, what's coming next? Just a little bit more about that legislation that was discussed.

Aiello [00:18:33] Ready Act is out and there will be a Senate bill, companion bill, or I can say that with absolute certainty. So that's important when it comes to legislation in general, for us, incremental steps are a big deal in Lobby Day one of the breakout session was about how a bill really becomes a law. And what I wanted to focus on in that session was actually the understanding that nothing happens quickly in DC until it does. So this idea that like for a couple of years we just had a House bill and then we were able to find a sponsor in the Senate to get it introduced in the Senate last time around. And just continuing to focus on this and advocate on it is incredibly important. You mentioned the Ready Act. Ready Act is about deferring interest during a dentist residency.

Wright [00:19:19] Awesome.

Milligan [00:19:19] Well, student debt is such a tremendous issue. I mean, it is a huge issue that we have nationally and we always have to look at, you know, when we're looking at pieces of legislation like what is viable, what is the political environment. So I'm giving you a for instance, in a Republican led Congress, student debt is just not a huge issue for Republicans. However, there's bites that you can take at the apple that are much bigger and more meaningful that people can really get behind. So something like the Ready Act is some is something people can understand. It is not a holistic solution to student debt as a whole. But when we're looking at, you know, can we do something? Something like the Ready Act, is that something that is feasible? We've got support on both sides. Republicans and Democrats can understand this issue, and that is why it is a piece of legislation that we're supporting.

Aiello [00:20:13] And we need to do something. Just working on, as Sarah said, with the Congress is what bites can you take it the apple to lessen the burden on student debts? And every time Lobby Day comes around and we talk to the students, the number floors me. I remember meeting one student that had almost $500,000 in debt, and all I could think of was who's going to give you a loan to buy a practice if you're already $500,000 in debt?

Ioaniddou [00:20:38] I think another important message, this is the alternative negative of this story. People like me that and there are many that come from outside the United States, like from Europe with zero debt. Right. The freedom that this gives you to make the career choice that you want. I see many times and I talk to dental students that really want to go to academia. And the limiting factor is the huge debt that they have and their low salaries compared to their private practice income. So this is another limiting factor. I see a lot of students that reconsider academics just because of the, as you said, the $500,000 loans that they carry already at graduation. Right. So as we see now, our dental school's faculty shift to be more foreign graduates. So it's a very complicated and multidimensional issue.

Aiello [00:21:32] And that's kind of the other thing about student loans that we all like to focus on and keep an eye on is that you can tie it into so many other issues. So which is why it's important to everyone in the profession. It's not just important to the students.

Milligan [00:21:46] You know, we really encourage and want everyone to tell their individual stories. So we actually want a student or a new dentist to go right into a member of Congress and say, This is my experience. I came out of this dental school with this amount of debt, and these are some of the issues it has caused me. We go through a lot of training during Lobby Day on how to really tell your story because these members of Congress, when they are in session, their day is about every 15 minutes, a new group, a new meeting. Everybody has a trade association, everybody has a lobby. And so how are you differentiating yourself from all of these other people and all of these other issues that people have and the student debt issue and really telling your story? At the end of the day, this member of Congress is going to say, well, I remember Dr. Wright came into my office. She was really impressive, really articulate. She was a dentist. I love dentists. I love strong oral health. And she told me the story. I had no idea that dentists incurred this amount of debt during their dental school. And that's just incredible. And that's something that they would really remember and take with them.

Ioaniddou [00:22:55] What are the takeaways of their lobby day that happened?

Aiello [00:22:59] So I think my big takeaways are you're the best advocates for your profession and your patients and your practices. So come to DC, go to your members and their home offices. It's really important that you meet with them. They want to hear from you. We want you to talk to them.

Milligan [00:23:13] I think you said it perfectly, Peter. Another one of the takeaways is that you don't have to come to Lobby Day to be an advocate. I mean, we'd love for you to come to Lobby Day.

Milligan [00:23:22] I'm so glad you said that.

Milligan [00:23:24] Yes. And we have so many resources available to our dentists and dental students to kind of keep you in the fold and make sure that you know what's going on.

Wright [00:23:33] Yes. So can you guys tell us a little bit of advocacies, big wins, current legislation? Just what are some highlights, things that you could share with our listeners that they may not have as much insight into this whole advocacy piece?

Aiello [00:23:48] I think the biggest one last year is MLR and the Massachusetts medical loss ratio. Yeah, we did a podcast Tooth Talk with about what exactly that is with people who are a lot more savvy about the nitty gritty of what that means. It was with Dr. Vitaly and Paula O'Connor, who's on our State Government affairs staff. So that's kind of the to get to get the nitty gritty you to go over there and listen to that that episode. But the fact that that was a ballot initiative and dentists from all over the country helped out in Massachusetts and really worked the phones, worked the polls. There's great pictures on the social media channels of our member dentists out there waving signs, which is amazing. In Massachusetts. It's a big thing in Massachusetts.

Ioaniddou [00:24:31] Oh its amazing.

Milligan [00:24:32] Before that, we had McCarran Ferguson repeal, which was huge. That was in 2020. I will also say, though, I mean, victories don't always come in these major fights, right? We sometimes will see some kind of bill, a piece of legislation, but just one word or one sentence, sort of gives us some unintended consequences. And many times we're able to go to that member of Congress or their staff and say, you know, if you I know that you did not intend to loop us into whatever this bill is, this is how it affects our dentists and our the patients that the dentist serve. Many times we're able to have something change that's very small, that would require a big impact. And we don't always have to do that with a, you know, some kind of huge nationwide campaign. Maybe we just get the dentists in that state or in that congressional district involved to make those asks. So these winds can come at all different levels in many different forms.

Ioaniddou [00:25:30] Yeah, this is very right. You're very right. And do you do you think that Massachusetts opens the door to other states? This was a great win there. But what's the implication nationwide?

Milligan [00:25:41] It does. It provides precedents. And these things can happen in other states. If you always have this Massachusetts sort of guidebook and guiding light to go by. And what did we do there that really led to that tremendous victory? We don't want everything to be a ballot initiative.

Aiello [00:26:00] That is that's a lot of work and expensive.

Ioaniddou [00:26:03] Oh, I bet.

Milligan [00:26:04] Oh, yeah. But not everything needs to be a ballot initiative.

Aiello [00:26:06] Yes, exactly.

Milligan [00:26:07] But certainly, as I said, provides precedence in other states.

Aiello [00:26:10] Not also helps that the fact that it was a ballot initiative actually helps in other states. And this is kind of the political angle of it rather than the advocacy angle of it, But because it was a ballot initiative and they had the Massachusetts General Assembly have been kind of dragging their toes about really dealing with this. And the members up there went to the ballot like other states. Look at that and go, you know, maybe we should deal with this before we're told how to deal with it. It's that idea of like whether or not like to be able to write the law or whether you're going to get the ballot initiative law handed. So some have got to go in that middle, too.

Ioaniddou [00:26:44] That's good.

Wright [00:26:45] Yeah. If you guys can tell us if they've never been involved in advocacy, how can we get involved and do our part?

Milligan [00:26:53] We have an elevator pitch for that.

Wright [00:26:54] Okay, There we go.

Aiello [00:26:56] A couple of elevator pitches for that one.

Milligan [00:26:57] Peter take it away.

Aiello [00:26:58] All right, well, there's a laundry list, but I'm going to start with the first one. Register to vote and vote. If you don't do that, nobody cares what you think. No, no offense. I hate to be that blunt about it. I'm going to be a little blunt In this particular management.

Wright [00:27:13] Share with us.

Aiello [00:27:14] Who you vote for is completely confidential, whether or not you vote is not. And so I can go. You know when I worked in the campaign space and to a lesser extent with our members, too. When we got the voter data, I could go in and see how many times you voted, like what elections you voted and not to who you voted for. Again, I cannot stress that enough when I don't know who you would have voted for, but I could tell whether or not you vote. And if I was a member of Congress, if you came in with an issue and I noted that you couldn't even do the basic bar to entry citizen, you know, I couldn't tell you whether or not your priority would hit the top of my list, but that's why I'm not in Congress. So that's the thing. So attending Lobby Day, we've hit a couple of times. Most states do their own Lobby Day as well for their state houses go to those federal laws will definitely affect dentistry in major ways, but the state laws are really, really important. That's going to scope a practice. All that kind of stuff is going to be decided at a state level. So make sure you get involved at your state and your state level to again, sign up for those action alerts. They're incredibly important. It's it's a great way just a it's a it's the easiest thing you could do. It clocks in at about 45 seconds if you don't edit the email. But again, I do encourage you edit that email. Contacting your state government affairs people and your state society people to get an idea of what's going on in your state, how to get involved in there, and then just bring a friend to everything that's always a great one. Doctor Wright? You said you had a great experience at lobby Day. I'll grab somebody and drag them next time because then that's how we got to keep going to all the next steps. But I really can't go get a circle right back to the first one. You've got to vote.

Wright [00:28:48] That's actually my goal too, is just to invite people based off of my experience and just tell them like, this is just a foot in the door to get involved and to get excited about advocating for dentistry and the way that we practice, honestly, because one of the things that I heard while I was there is like everything that's happening now is going to affect us longer than it does more seasoned dentists and that was a wake up call for me to say, all right, even if I don't know as much as I wish I knew by coming, the more that I read, the more that I speak to people, the more that I have these discussions, I'm going to be more well versed, and then I'll feel even more confident in participating.

Aiello [00:29:26] Good. If you want resources to learn about your issues and what's important and what the ADA is working on, just go down to ADA dot org backslash advocacy that gives you all of the issues and all of the minutia I guess is a good word for it, like the really digging deep into every issue. And then once you feel comfortable with that, you come on over to our Legislative Action Center, which is at ADA dot org backslash action center you can sign up there. Plug in your email, you'll receive all of our alerts and we will be having a bunch of them on those lobby day issues coming out pretty soon. So make sure you do that as soon as you can, now while you're sitting here listening, if you're not driving.

Wright [00:30:04] There you go.

Announcer [00:30:05] On the next Dental Sound Bites.

Wright [00:30:08] We had such a great time with this topic in season one that we wanted more. We're talking awkward, strange, sticky situations with patients or peers in the dental office. We're going to dive into the stories and the strategies on how to stay calm in challenging situations, how to set boundaries and how to ensure safety for all. Dr. Effie, congrats on your first episode and Peter and Sarah, it was great to have you here. Thank you for your time. Thank you for all of the knowledge and wisdom that you've shared with us on Dental Sound Bites, and we are so grateful that you were able to join us today. Where can our guests find you?

Aiello [00:30:48] You can listen to Tooth Talk on all of your podcast platforms, so give those a check. Apple Podcasts, Google, Stitcher. Also our website is www.toothtalkshow.com. Get all our episodes, see our lovely pictures, and get to know more about us.

Ioaniddou [00:31:04] That's great. Thank you, guys.

Aiello [00:31:06] Thank you so much for having us.

Milligan [00:31:07] Thank you.

Wright [00:31:08] Thank you all so much for being here. If you like this episode, go ahead and share it with a friends or a colleague. Also, subscribe to this podcast wherever you are listening so you can get the latest episodes. You can also rate and review and follow us on social media.

Announcer [00:31:25] Thank you for joining us. Dental Sound Bites is an American Dental Association podcast. You can also find this show, resources and more on the ADA member app and online at ADA.org/podcast.