On April 17, 2013, approximately 60 participants from dental schools around the country converged on Capitol Hill to advocate for funding for programs of importance to dental education and dental and craniofacial research.
The participants of Advocacy Day were treated to a program that included a presentation by Dr. Martha Somerman, Director, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, and visits by two members of Congress: Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), one of two dentists in Congress and Co-Chair of the Oral Health Caucus, and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), Chairman, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, ADEA President and CEO, and Dean Monty MacNeil, University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, provided opening and closing remarks, respectively, as everyone prepared to begin their rounds of more than 80 scheduled congressional visits.
Participants were armed with briefing papers and a “leave behind” letter which detailed the necessity of adequate funding for programs that facilitate access to care, prepare the next generation of oral health care providers, and fund cutting-edge research.
The overall feedback has been positive; despite the atmosphere in Washington of budgetary austerity, most Members of Congress and staff appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with oral health and dental and craniofacial research experts–it
was truly a mutually beneficial experience.