ADEA has recently developed a State Advocacy Toolkit, enabling ADEA members to more effectively advocate for dental education and dental and craniofacial research.
The importance of being an advocate for academic dentistry and dental and craniofacial research cannot be overstated. Getting involved is crucial—programs and funding that affect you and your institution are at stake. As leaders in the field of oral health care and dental and craniofacial research, you can help shape policy and impact funding that will affect your institution.
There are numerous points in the legislative process at which you can provide input. It is a fact that most legislators know very little about oral health care in general or about the connection of good oral health to good systemic health. Furthermore, they probably know very little about cutting-edge dental and craniofacial research, which has enabled doctors to detect certain cancers. As experts in the field, be it at the allied, predoctoral, doctoral or advanced dental education level, your input is invaluable and carries a lot of weight in the legislative process. By establishing yourself as a resource for information and establishing a relationship, you are improving your access to the policymaker. Keep in mind, as issues that affect you come before legislators, it is much easier to have the ear of a friend than a stranger!
ADEA has developed this state advocacy toolkit to better equip you to become an advocate. Resources have been assembled to provide you with information so you can effectively interface with your state legislators about funding and programs that affect you and your institution.
The toolkit contains the following information:
- An overview of state legislatures (composition, meeting frequency, etc.),
- How a bill becomes law,
- How to identify your state legislator,
- How to effectively communicate with state legislators, and
- Tips on hosting a site visit at your institution for a state legislator.
Additionally, you will have valuable local data at your fingertips as you advocate for dental education and dental and craniofacial research. The new toolkit provides data such as Title VII funding organized by grantee and NIDCR grants organized by institution. Additionally, information on state student loan repayment programs and alternative workforce models is available.
Finally, there is also a link to the ethics and lobby laws for each state.
We trust you will make good use of the advocacy toolkit; as President John F. Kennedy stated, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”