In mid-April, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the AGD’s Government Relations Conference alongside AGD member dentists and other student leaders. This was my first lobby day at our nation’s capitol, and the AGD made it a great experience.
We spent the first day discussing the issues and role-playing our lobbying. The key issues we lobbied for were the medical device tax, repealing the McCarran-Ferguson act, and assisting with student debt (an issue I was able to thoroughly explain). My group had scheduled meetings with the staff of all the Minnesota Senators and Representatives. Our interactions were very positive and the experience was enjoyable.
During this event, advocacy was always at the forefront of the AGD’s discussion. As an educational and professional organization for general dentists across the country, I witnessed firsthand the dedication of the leaders and members present toward protecting the interests of general dentists.
“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” This old adage rings true when speaking of advocacy. While national lobby day is only once a year, we can all remain active in our local governments and communities. Invite your mayor or Representative to the office for a tour. Participate in state lobby days. Stay on top of the issues. Offer yourself as a resource to them when they have dental questions. And if you’re interested holding an office, we know dentists make great leaders.
I recommend the experience to anyone. I was extremely fortunate to also take a private tour of the Capitol building with the AGD Executive Committee; we even made it up to the top of the dome and outside on the balcony! I’d like to thank the AGD for allowing me the opportunity to participate.
Switching gears a bit, I want to share that this is my last post as a dental student! My graduation is next Friday, May 17, 2013. I am extremely excited to graduate. It’s somewhat surreal, especially when I think about how far I have come. I am actually back in Willmar, Minn., this week on a final week of outreach, as I was for my first post in January. My efficiency and clinical awareness has increased noticeably even in just these last few months. This was tested today with eight patients that amounted to five extractions, three new patient exams, denture work and a few fillings. That’s two weeks of work at dental school done one day!
Katie Divine, Minnesota ’13