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CSPD Members Mentor CA Residents in DC

Monday, May 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: CSPD Bulletin
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BY Dr. Mark Lisagor, Chair of Leadership Development

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) has sponsored its Public Policy Advocacy Conference in Washington DC for many years. Pediatric dentists from all over the country spend a day being briefed on the issues surrounding pediatric dentistry, the Affordable Care Act, continued CHIP program funding, loan forgiveness programs and Title VII funding in support of residency training slots.

Following these briefings, the California “delegation” including five CSPD members (Drs. Santos Cortez, Jim Crall, Francisco Ramos-Gomez, Ray Stewart and Mark Lisagor), accompanied 17 California pediatric dentistry residents in small groups on visits to nearly 25 Congressional offices. These seasoned veterans mentor the residents, encouraging them to maintain an active leadership role and to become involved in organized dentistry throughout their careers.

Included in this group every year are Warren Brandli Leadership Interns and Santos Cortez Legislative Advocacy Interns. Other residents were participants of the UCLA CHAT (Community Health and Advocacy Training) residency program and residents from several other programs.

Dr. Austin Nunez, a UCLA resident, had this to say about his experience:
“Advocacy day was a great experience. I now understand how important it is that we, as the AAPD, always keep Washington informed of what is best for the oral health of the children.”

Dr. Sahar Hamedani, a Brandli Intern and USC resident, said:
“This was my first time attending the AAPD Public Policy Advocacy Conference in Washington D.C. and I certainly hope it won’t be my last! I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with congressional leaders and discuss the legislation that not only impacts the oral health of our patients but also the future of our profession. It was exciting to see how many residents were involved and inspired me to continue participating in future advocacy activities. A big thank you to AAPD and CSPD for their support and allowing me to participate in such a great conference!”

Dr. Salina Massei, a UCLA resident and student in the UCLA School of Public Health, said:
“It was exciting to speak with members of Congress and their staff on issues affecting children’s oral health. It made me feel like I can make an impact on a national and state level. I plan to take the knowledge and skills I’ve gained to make a difference in my local community.”

Dr. Angela Lee, a UCSF resident, said:
“This experience reinforced my sense of responsibility as a future pediatric dentist to advocate for patients and help to reduce children’s barriers to oral healthcare. I enjoyed meeting pediatric dentists and fellow residents who are passionate about the same issues. I also valued our meetings with members of Congress and gained more insight on the political process. One of our “asks” to members of Congress included the reauthorization of CHIP, and the fact that the bill was passed following our lobby day, reinforced that our efforts matter.”

Dr. Denisse Monroy, a UCLA resident, shared:
“I really enjoyed participating in the AAPD Advocacy Conference where I got to meet the congressman from my district. It was encouraging to see that he was open to learning about the needs of children regarding oral health and support policies that will ensure the well-being of our community, where there is a great number of underserved children and a shortage of health care providers. I look forward to going back to my community and to continue to advocate for children’s oral health.”

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