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AGD Advocacy Conference Connects General Dentists with Congress
Date:3/26/2008

Members Rally for the Concerns of General Dentists and Their Patients

CHICAGO, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) second annual advocacy conference, A Great Dentist Goes to Washington, was recently held in Washington, DC. Nearly 60 AGD constituent leaders and member general dentists from 30 states learned how to get Congress to listen. They later applied these sophisticated skills to more than 100 Congressional offices on Capitol Hill to convey the interests and concerns of general dentists.

"This year's advocacy conference, once again, proved to be a major success as AGD leaders and members rallied together to express the issues that affect general dentists to the men and women in Congress," says AGD President, Vincent Mayher, DMD, MAGD.

The two-day Washington event began with a day-long advocacy training session. Mr. Jim Saturno, of the Congressional Research Service, delved into the intricacies of effectively interacting with Congress during a session, "Congress 101." An interactive session, "Decision Makers: Do They Listen?" was a highlight as attendees explored scenarios designed to develop and enhance lobbying skills at the constituent level. Training continued for attendees with sessions such as, "Taking it to the Hill," "Putting It Into Practice" and "The Game Plan Explained in Detail."

"The AGD advocacy conference was well organized and really helped to prepare us for the visits to Capitol Hill," says Lynnette Smith, DDS, FAGD. "I am thankful to the AGD for providing the 2008 advocacy training and an opportunity to use these skills to benefit our patients."

Deamonte's Law (HR 2371), Children's Dental Health Improvement Act (S 739/HR 1781) and Meth Mouth Bills (S 1906/HR 3186) were three issues, known as "asks," that AGD leaders and members lobbied for during their visits with legislators on the Hill. Within 24 hours of their meetings, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Dennis Moore (D-KS) became co-sponsors of the Children's Dental Health Improvement Act.

The morning of the Hill visits, attendees gathered to watch their president, Dr. Mayher, present Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID-2), a dentist himself, with the AGD's Legislator of the Year Award. The AGD also honored Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7) and Rick Larsen (D-WA-2) with appreciation awards for their support for oral health initiatives.

"The entire session was extremely informative about issues facing the dental profession, especially the practicing general dentist," said Iowa AGD Legislative Chair, Stephen Thies, DDS. "I strongly believe that it is our responsibility to speak on dental issues to the legislative groups involved. I am glad to lobby either nationally or locally on behalf of the AGD on any issues affecting general dentistry."

About the AGD

The AGD is a professional association of more than 35,000 general dentists dedicated to staying up-to-date in the profession through continuing education. Founded in 1952, the AGD has grown to become the world's second largest dental association, and the only association that exclusively represents the interests of general dentists.

More than 786,000 persons are employed directly in the field of dentistry. A general dentist is the primary care provider for patients of all ages and is responsible for the diagnosis, treatment, management and overall coordination of services related to patients' oral health needs.

For more information about the AGD, please visit http://www.agd.org.


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SOURCE Academy of General Dentistry
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