Summer ‘Advocacy Academy’ Provides VCU Dental Students with Education on Dental Advocacy Aug 21, 2018 by Laura Givens, Director of Legislative and Public Policy The VDA held a 3-day Advocacy Academy lecture series at the VCU School of Dentistry in August. This was the second time hosting this program and we were thrilled to have forty-five enthusiastic 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students participate. This educational program promotes the importance of organized dentistry, dental advocacy and political action. Speakers included VDA members Drs. Thomas Glazier and Bruce Hutchison; VDA lobbyists Chuck Duvall and Tripp Perrin; and special guest, Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg (Virginia House of Delegates District 72). The speakers presented on both state and federal legislative processes as well as specific issues that our members are currently focusing on, have faced in the past and foresee addressing in the future. Each presenter was very informal, engrossing the students in open discussions to hear their questions and concerns. Students were also informed of the opportunities for involvement in VDA advocacy efforts and activities as a student and eventually as a practicing dentist. We ended the week with a celebration at Wong Gonzalez in downtown Richmond, where the students mingled and networked with some of the speakers, VDA staff and VDA leaders over delicious food and beverages. It was invigorating to see the eagerness to be involved from this group of energized students. Their positive feedback reinforced the importance of planning such programs and events, which constructively engages members.