One good reason for ADEA members to register for the AADR-ADEA Deans' Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill is to hear from U.S. Representative Michael K. "Mike" Simpson, who will address attendees on Monday, April 4, 2011. Republican Mike Simpson represents the Second District of Idaho and is one of only two dentists in the U.S. Congress. He will provide an insider's perspective as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee regarding congressional leaders' thinking about the federal budget and appropriations processes. Rep. Simpson's insights will be particularly instructive as to how new members of the 112th Congress will influence the outcome with regard to funding for health professions training under Title VII of the Public Health Service Act and for the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).
Congressman Simpson has been a long-time advocate for access to dental coverage. As a joint cosponsor of legislation with Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) supporting better access to dental care for children enrolled in Medicaid and a dental benefit in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), he will be an important voice for protecting dental care in these and other health care programs as attempts are made to dismantle them. In his speech before colleagues during the SCHIP debate, he stated, "While most Americans have access to the best oral health care in the world, low-income children suffer disproportionately from oral diseaseâ€¦Millions of Americans, adults and children, lack access to dental care. In many parts of Idaho, as in many rural states, there simply aren't enough dentists within reasonable distance of some communities."
Dr. Sandra C. Andrieu, ADEA President and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Louisiana State University met with Representative Simpson at a recent breakfast on Capitol Hill. "ADEA members, particularly those who are represented by powerful members of the Appropriations Committees in the House and the Senate, need to nurture these relationships," she said. "As ADEA President, I had the opportunity to help build this relationship on ADEA's behalf with Representative Simpson. We'll need his help protecting oral health programs as budget belts tighten."
ADEA President-Elect and Dean at Howard University College of Dental Medicine Dr. Leo E. Rouse urged ADEA members to attend Advocacy Day: "[H]aving a dentist in the Congress who understands the costs and the human consequences of untreated dental disease is so critical, but not all legislators share Rep. Simpson's commitment to oral health. That's why we need ADEA members in Washington, meeting with their Representatives and Senators at Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to educate and encourage them to support and fund oral health, dental education, and dental research programs in these difficult economic times."
Deans' Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill is scheduled for April 3-5, 2011, in Washington, DC. It is open to all ADEA members. All participants are responsible for their own hotel and travel expenses. ADEA has secured a room rate of $229 per night. The deadline for hotel reservations is March 17, 2011. You can learn more about registration and hotel accommodations at www.adea.org/events/upcoming_meetings/Pages/2011-Advocacy-Day.aspx.