ADEA Washington Update

A Dental Student’s Perspective on Advocacy

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AmbikaBy Ambika Srivastava, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry

When I began my first year at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, I had no idea about ADEA’s advocacy efforts. Through the years, as I ventured into different areas of ADEA from the Student Diversity Leadership Program (SDLP) to District Commissioner on the ADEA Council of Students, Residents and Fellows (ADEA COSRF), I realized the importance of voicing my opinion. To be a leader is to be an advocate. Opportunities like SDLP and serving on ADEA COSRF allows future and new dentists the opportunity to connect with peers from schools and programs across the country and to help develop the next generation of advocates for dental education.

As a dental student, my first thoughts about advocacy were that no one would want to hear what a student had to say and that I would not be able to make an impact. This could not have been further from the truth. Not only did people listen, but I have been able to advocate at the local, state and national level, and stakeholders have been genuinely interested to hear a student’s perspective. I have always had the motto “do not complain about something if you are not willing to do something to change it.” My efforts through ADEA have allowed me to stand true to this. I feel like there are many issues which are addressed through ADEA’s efforts that can benefit my colleagues and me. As the future of dentistry, I believe it is important that we stand for what matters to us as a united front.

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