Intro to Advocacy

What is advocacy?

Advocacy means “to promote or defend a cause.” Dental advocacy involves influencing public policies affecting the practice of dentistry and the oral health of the American public. Everyday, dental students and providers advocate for their patients by educating them and empowering them to make knowledgeable decisions for their own well-being. 

Why is advocacy important?

Getting involved in dental advocacy can allow you to shape how various policies impact your life and career as a dental student and future dentist. Laws and regulations affecting dental students, dentists, and patients are often made by people who are not familiar with the dental profession. It’s up to us to stand up for ourselves and our patients. It’s also important to speak up for those who don’t have the privilege to have a voice or seat at the table. As advocates, we can advance public policies that will improve the practice of dentistry and the oral health of the American public.

How can you get involved with advocacy?

  • Inform yourself and inform others! The easiest way to do this is with ASDA Action, a resource that provides information on critical issues and provides ways for you to reach out to your legislators about these issues. You can begin using ASDA Action by going to their website and signing up for action alerts. You will be sent an email and/or text message alert when relevant issues come up. 
  • Check out your local ASDA chapter. Email the D1 ASDA Advocacy Chair Rachel Harris (rachel_harris@hsdm.harvard.edu) if you need the contact information for your chapter’s ASDA advocacy committee.
  • Vote! Follow this link to find your state’s policies for absentee, early voting, and voting registration.
  • Participate in lobby days. ADA organizes an annual dentist and student lobby day in Washington DC, and most state dental societies organize annual state lobby days. 
  • Watch these dental legislative videos on the issues facing dental students, licensure, and how to lobby.

Participate in ASDA’s Advocacy Certificate Program. This program recognizes students who have engaged in advocacy work.

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