Written by Laine Janzen, DMD 2017
This year at ASDA National Lobby Day, we met with US senators and their staff to ask for co-sponsorship and support for two different bills: Action for Dental Health Act (H.R. 539) andStudent Loan Refinancing Act (H.R. 649).
The “Action for Dental Health Act” bill would allow programs such as Give Kids a Smile and Missions of Mercy, such as CDA Cares, to access existing CDC grants currently being allocated to state health departments. This bill would not cost taxpayers any money and simply allows more oral health programs to apply for these grants. This is a bi-partisan bill that most senators we talked to were happy to support.
The “Student Loan Refinancing Act” would allow individuals to refinance their federal student loans more than once at a lower interest rate. This includes Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Federal Grad PLUS Loans. We lobbied that when healthcare education becomes more affordable for students, we are more likely to choose to practice in underserved areas, as we don’t become solely concerned with practicing in an area where we can make enough money to pay our crippling student debt. This is also a bi-partisan bill that most senators we talked to were happy to support.
The chance to meet with senators and their staffers was a wonderful opportunity to learn about some of the current issues facing dental students and it was an incredible experience to feel as though I’m truly making a difference in the dental school experience for my peers and myself. I’m very excited to hold our second annual Advocacy Academy this year and bring what we have learned to other students in District 11 ASDA!