Twenty ADEA Leadership Institute Fellows lobbied their respective Capitol Hill delegations on September 21, seeking support for legislative issues of importance to academic dentistry.
Fellows urged Congress to make dental schools eligible for Title VII primary care grants for which, at the present time, only medical schools are eligible; these include Administrative Academic Units, Predoctoral Training, and Faculty Development grant programs administered by the Health Resources and Service Administration. Funding for these programs would help dental schools enhance teaching and research, provide faculty development, and operate predoctoral programs in primary care.
Fellows also requested an appropriation of $10 million for the Dental Health Improvement Act. Previously authorized by Congress, the program would help states address workforce and access issues. The fellows’ home state senators were invited to join Senators Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) as cosponsors of the Dental Health Provider Shortage Act of 2004, while their representatives were urged to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
To prepare for their meetings on Capitol Hill, the fellows attended a two-day workshop on advocacy and the legislative process. On the first day, ADEA’s Center for Public Policy and Advocacy staff discussed politics, health policy, and advocacy techniques with the fellows. The following day, the fellows heard presentations on the federal budget process, how Congress works, the role of the media in influencing public policy, and grassroots advocacy. Speakers included Stan Collender, Managing Director, Washington Financial Dynamics Business Communications; Charlie Leonard, Principal, Chlopak Leonard Schecter and Associates; Judy Schneider, Senior Policy Analyst, Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress; and Marilyn Yager, former Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Public Liaison.
Each September, the ADEA Leadership Institute Fellows visit Washington, DC to advocate for dental education in one of four phases of the year-long leadership development program. ADEA is currently accepting applications for the 2005-06 institute. More information, including an application, can be found at www.adea.org/leadership/LIapply.html.