Dr. Bruce Hutchison on Impact of VDA PAC

Advocating for our Precious Profession is Both a Privilege and an Obligation

Jun 19, 2024 by Dr. Bruce Hutchison

Previously published in NOVA News

April 7, 8 and 9 was a busy time for dentistry in Washington DC as over 1200 dentists and dental students attended the annual ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. The largest such event in the history of what used to be called The ADA Leadership Conference. Forty-eight states, DC and Puerto Rico were represented along with 48 of the 70 dental schools. There were 400 hill visits to our Senators and Representatives offices over a two-day period. There were 2.74 million social media reads.

The three-day event started Sunday and Monday with educational events such as “How to Meet With Your Member of Congress,” “Weaving Your Story Into the Issues,”  “Congress Decoded: Introduction to Capitol Hill and Advocacy,” along with breakout sessions on each of the three issues we carry to our legislators. Sunday evening was a Welcome Reception for Dentists and Students to mingle and get to know each other that ended in an entertaining Karaoke session. Saturday night included a Fundraising event for Congressman Mie Simpson, DMD of Idaho- the most senior of our five dentists in Congress. Yes, we have five dentists in Congress! Senate meetings started Monday Afternoon, and Tuesday included a full day of Capitol Hill Meetings.

The synergy of having experienced dentists teamed with dental students and new dentists is amazing. The energy created is unbelievable, and reports of each of the congressional meetings was very positive as legislators seemed very receptive to our ideas.  We were welcomed into each office and had some great conversations. My experience this year with the students who met with us was exhilarating at he least. These students are smart, and seem to have a very good grasp on what their futures hold and how important it is to continually advocate for our profession and our patients we serve. 

I want to thank the following VDA dentists for attending: Drs. Mohammed Aarif Abdul Kareem, Casey Ginger, Abby Halpern, Dani Howell, Ralph Howell, Stephanie Hoyos, Bruce Hutchison, Frank Iourno, Janna Lavendere, Justin Norbo, and Elizabeth Reynolds.

Laura Givens, our VDA Government Affairs Director was also there and arranged a very nice Virginia dentist dinner for our members Monday night. We each paid our own way!

I also want to thank the 15 dental students who attended both from VCU School of Dentistry and several other schools of Virginians studying out of the state who plan to return.

All in all- another successful ADA Dentist and Student lobby Day. Check out the post session video here: Watch the 2024 Lobby Day highlight reel!

I encourage all VDA members to support these efforts.