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WVU’s First Annual AMALGALA

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By: Megan Borak

Every spring WVU ASDA hosts a formal event for students at the usual spot: the upstairs of a downtown Morgantown venue. Every year, no one really knows what to call this event. Looking on past Instagram posts, the name had ranged from “Dental School Formal” to “Dental School Prom” to “Dental School Semi- Formal” and even “Dental School Dance.” We would all get super dressed up to just go downtown and try our best not to bore our dates by talking about teeth the entire night (we ALL do it- and we all can’t help it).

This year, when I was supposed to be cramming for my Principles of Medicine exam and was on Facebook instead, I came across OSU’s MandiBall. Green with envy, I decided the most important thing to do for the rest of my Sunday study session was to re-name the formal ASDA puts on. After polling all the students I could find in the library, “Exocytosted” was considered not-so-appropriate and “The AMALGALA” was deemed the official WVU ASDA formal name! With huge organization and planning of our social chair, Christa, we gave the event a much-needed revamp and changed the affair to a sit down dinner followed by dancing at a local country club to match the snazzy new name.

The turnout ended up fantastic! The students looked great! And one of our D2’s with the second-best moves on the dance floor put together an awesome playlist at a weeks’ notice. The best part is that only one table was broken, and we were officially invited back next year! So, if you want to see what fun was had by the West Virginia ASDA chapter, just check the #Amalgala hashtag on Facebook or Instagram to see our trademarked event! I may end up taking a B or a C in Principles of Medicine, but it was worth it listening to everyone struggling to pronounce “Amalgala” as they talked about how much fun they had weeks later!

National Dental Student Lobby Day 2015

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by: Randi Polster

Attending National Student Lobby Day in Washington D.C. was an amazing experience. It was an opportunity for all us students to see dentistry from a different point of view. Sometimes while studying for exams and stressing over the next complex dental procedure we have to perform, we forget about how bigger things like politics can affect our future. In Washington, we were all reminded of how important it is for us to speak out and use our voice to protect our profession.

We kicked off the meeting with a great District 6 event at Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and a better atmosphere to reconnect with old friends and make new! It was a really great way to come together as a district and share stories about our dental school experiences as well as our lives outside of dental school. Later we were joined by other districts to make the evening more exciting than it already was! It was really nice to mingle with everyone before the lobbying began.

On the first day of the meeting, we learned more about our purpose in Washington. We learned how to lobby, what issues we were lobbying, and were fortunate to listen to a variety of excellent speakers. We spent the majority of the day learning about H.R. 539 Action for Dental Health Act and H.R. 649 Student Loan Refinancing Act. These bills are important to us as students because they would allow our communities better access to care and create less stress on students as they face their overwhelming debt after graduation. We were fortunate to have Representative Brian Babin and Representative Paul Gosar speak to us about these bills before our journey to Capital Hill the next day. We engaged them in a very helpful Q & A session and learned how to approach our goal of gaining support to these issues.

The next morning, the bus departed for Capital Hill and approximately 380 students unified together to share our thoughts and personal stories with our respective congressmen. We voiced our opinion of H.R. 539 and H.R. 649 with representatives, senators, and their office staff. One of my meetings was with Representative Steve Stivers who represents the 15th district of Ohio. I was nervous at first to meet with a congressman, but it turned out to be a very casual conversation. It was great to hear his view on the issues and I felt my voice was heard. Throughout the day, it was refreshing to feel support in all my meetings and witness how invested they all were in our concerns.

At the end of the meeting, we were all exhausted after some good lobbying and connecting with students from all across the country. This exhaustion was a good feeling because it meant it was yet another successful ASDA adventure! It was an exceptional experience that I recommend every student attend if possible before they leave school.

Supreme Court Decides Against Dentists in North Carolina Teeth Whitening Case

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by: Mudita Agrawal

Teeth-whitening services can be expensive in a dentist’s office. It can range anywhere from $400 to $1,300. In North Carolina, spas, salons, and stores realized this and they began offering similar services for dramatically lower prices. By 2003, these spas and salons were spread all over the state.

Soon enough after these non-dentists began providing teeth-whitening services, there were several complaints from consumers such as bleeding or “chemically burned” gums. There were also complaints of procedures being performed without gloves or masks. As a result of this, the state dental board did an investigation, and more than 40 cease-and-desist letters to non-dentist teeth-whitening providers were issued. The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners accused the whitening businesses of practicing dentistry without a license and ordered them to stop the practice or face potential criminal charges. They also sent letter to malls asking them not to lease space to non-dentists who provided teeth whitening.

The Federal Trade Commission complained against the board on June 17, 2010, alleging that the board was harming competition by preventing non-dentists from providing teeth-whitening services in North Carolina. The U.S. Court of Appeals agreed that the state regulatory scheme violated federal antitrust law by giving private dentists the power to knock out their competitors for personal gain.

The North Carolina state board then filed the case with the U.S. Supreme Court as they felt that the Supreme Court’s decision could have far-reaching implications. Since 2005, at least 14 states have changed their laws or regulations to exclude all but licensed dentists, dental hygienists or dental assistants from offering teeth-whitening services.

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the decision that the North Carolina state dental board does not have the authority to regulate teeth whitening services. It was a decision with the potential to transform the makeup and reach of similar licensing boards across the country, including those that oversee lawyers, nurses, and doctors. This ruling may have far-reaching consequences for dentists and other professionals across The U.S. and the public they serve.

Michigan Student Lobby Day Recap

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by: Jordan Komyathy, University of Detroit Mercy

One thing that we dental students don’t hear about much in school is the influence that politics have on our profession. In school, we are in our own little bubble where dentistry is perfecting your skills, having the ability to treatment plan, and communicating well with our patients. During my time in ASDA, I have learned that dentistry is a whole lot more than what they teach us in school. There are third party players like insurance companies, healthcare companies, governments, and medical personnel that impact how we treat our patients. At State Lobby Day in Lansing, I realized how important it is to be aware of the laws that influence our profession, and how important it is for me to voice my opinion about these laws.

This past February I went to Lansing to lobby on behalf of the Michigan Dental Association with a few of my colleagues. We lobbied on two issues: Healthy Kids Dental and student loan debt. Healthy Kids Dental is an insurance program for children whose parents cannot afford dental coverage. It is backed by Delta Dental of Michigan and reimburses dentists at a higher rate than Medicaid, which makes private practice dentists more apt to provide care to these patients. Right now, children in all Michigan counties except for Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne are covered. We lobbied to have the three remaining counties added to the budget for this coming year. The other point we discussed with legislators was student loan debt. There is currently no student loan legislation under consideration so our intent was to draw attention to the high interest rates and significant debt that today’s dental students endure. Upon graduation, dentists on average are burdened with an average of $250k in debt while attempting to find a job, establish credit, buy a house, and start a family. With this in mind, we made the case for tax deductions on loan payback after graduation. It was a great experience to be able to talk to legislators about the issues facing us directly that we are so passionate about.

This was my second time attending State Lobby Day. I found that my nervousness faded, but my excitement did not. Much like my first year, I enjoyed learning more about current legislation as well as the legislative process in general. I also found that speaking to politicians who aren’t too familiar with the dental field was a great way to develop my presentation skills. I believe that this will help me as I begin to see my first patients. Getting outside of my dental school bubble and in to life outside of school allowed me to feel a sense of purpose while gaining a better understanding of the forces that could shape my future.

What It Took to Bring Home the Gold

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by: Spencer Tepe

The Ohio State University College of Dentistry Advocacy Team is fresh off a meaningful victory for both its chapter and District 6. Just 12 months ago, OSU ASDA installed a new governing hierarchy that would prove to benefit the chapter immensely. The Legislative Liaison was welcomed on to the executive board, and an LL-elect position was created. Ohio State placed new emphasis on advocacy and strove to involve more members in legislative efforts. In the course of a year, OSU ASDA’s Advocacy Team rallied to compile a list of events and efforts that in turn earned the chapter a Gold Crown in Legislative Initiatives. So what exactly did it take?

2014 Gold Crown in Legislative Initiatives Recipe:
– 12 National Student Lobby Day 2014 attendees including an in-person meeting with Congressman Stivers of the 15th district of Ohio
– 1 ASDA bar crawl for recruitment
– 1 volleyball tournament for recruitment
– 1 D1/D2 social for recruitment
– 1 ASDA fair for recruitment
– A visit from Congressman Stivers to OSU COD where he fielded questions regarding policy
– 1 ODPAC Trivia night with 77 attendees
– 1 Beat Michigan Week ADPAC drive
– 1 letter writing campaign directed at state senators regarding the passing of Ohio House Bill 463
– 1 senator calling campaign the day senators were to vote on HB 463, a day on which the bill was unanimously passed
– 44 D1 attendees at Day at the Statehouse in downtown Columbus, OH
The highlights of these efforts were hosting Congressman Stivers and helping to pass HB 463. Ohio House Bill 463 is a multifaceted bill that addresses access to care in the state of Ohio. It also introduced the option of students to forego a licensure live-patient exam and attend a PGY-1 program as means to attain a license in the state of Ohio. Bills such as Ohio House Bill 463 are vital in the progression of dentistry. It is critical that dental students and doctors alike participate in the legislative process. The willingness that Ohio State has demonstrated to participate in this process assuredly weighed heavily in the council’s evaluation for the Gold Crown in Legislative Initiatives.
So there you have it. A cookbook recipe to Gold Crown “fame and stardom.” District 6 is now prepared to repeat in this category and Ohio State challenges YOU to do so.

ASDA Gala:  A UMich ASDA Tradition

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On March 21, the University of Michigan chapter of ASDA held their Annual ASDA Gala.  The ASDA Gala is an event put on by ASDA open to the entire School of Dentistry student body in order to celebrate another successful year prior to the graduation of the fourth-year students.  This year, the event was held for the first time at the Club Above, a private room above Heidelberg, a German bar in Ann Arbor.

As the event began at 9:00 p.m., people began to trickle in.  It was soon apparent that the event attracted a large crowd, as the 300-person room filled and the line wound out the door.  The event attracted a majority of first-year students, who boast a 92% class registration in ASDA (the largest fraction of any class), as well as students from second through fourth years and the hygiene program.  The event, which was not intended to act as a fundraiser, ended up making a significant amount of money for the chapter with non-ASDA students and guests being charged at the door.  All in all, more than 500 people showed up throughout the night, and the event was a great success.

This ASDA Gala also marked the first time that the organization crowned its ASDA Gala King and Queen, the two students who had the highest attendance at ASDA events throughout the year.  This year, there were a number of students with equal total attendance, so a drawing took place to crown the King and Queen.  Derek Schmidt and Madeline Connick, both first-year students, were crowned and shared a bottle of champagne.

As this event marks the nearing end of the year, a lot of students saw it as one last hurrah.  “It was really great to have all the different classes together outside of school,” Nick Reece (2018) said.  “After a year of getting to know everyone, it was a great way to start looking forward to our second year.”

Meet Our New District 6 Cabinet

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Our new District 6 Cabinet is already hard at work!

Let's wish them a warm welcome and get to know some fun facts about them.

Name: Riley Schaff

Cabinet position: Communications Chair

School and Year: The University of Michigan, D2

What is the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?

I once ate a live minnow. I could feel it squirming in my esophagus.

Name: Neena A. Baghaie

Cabinet Position: Newsletter Editor

School and Year: Case Western Reserve University, D1

What is your favorite song and why?

My favorite song would have to be Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28 No. 15, “Raindrop” Sonata, played on the piano. It was one of the first classical pieces I was able to master, and I always feel a sense of tranquility and peacefulness upon hearing the familiar chords lightly being played.

Name: Lydia Lancaster

Cabinet position: District 6 Trustee

School and year: The Ohio State University , D3

What is the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?

I think that would have to be the grilled llama kabobs I had while I was studying abroad in Chile. A native indigenous village was selling them while we were touring the Atacama Desert in the northern region of the country. They were actually pretty good!

Name: Spencer Tepe

Cabinet position: Legislative Liaison

School and year: The Ohio State University, D2

If you were immortal for one day, what would you do?

If I were immortal for a day, I’d throw on lead boots, sink myself in the Mariana Trench and swim with the fishies. Cowabunga bra.

Name: Chelsea Blank

Cabinet position: Newsletter Editor

School and year: The Ohio State University, D1

What is your favorite song and why?

Favorite song is I Get A Kick Out Of You by Frank Sinatra; I think it captures love quite well in a classy swanky 1950’s kind of way.

Name: Randi Polster

Cabinet Position: Events Chair

School/year: The Ohio State University, D2

If you were immortal for one day, what would you do?

If I were immortal, I would spend a day playing with lions, bears, tigers, and all other animals that I normally couldn’t enjoy because they are too dangerous to be around.

Name: Justine Bednarski

Cabinet position: Events Chair

School and year: The Ohio State University, D1

If you were immortal for one day, what would you do?

If I could be immortal for one day I definitely would go sky diving in the Swiss Alps because although I’m terrified of heights, I know the view would be absolutely breathtaking. I would then probably eat my body weight in Swiss chocolate because I’m a chocoholic at heart.​

Name: Kathryn Dickmann

Cabinet position: Fundraising Chair

School and year: University of Detroit Mercy, D2

If you were immortal for one day, what would you do?

If I was immortal for a day, I would try base jumping and real rock climbing. I’ve seen too many posts on National Geographic’s Instagram that look awesome and scary. But the insane heights tend to keep me grounded!

Name: Mudita Agrawal

Cabinet Position: Electronic Editor

School and year: The University of Michigan, D3

What is the strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?

I have never had meat in my life and I am used to eating vegetarian food, which is easily chewable and crunchy food. When I ate chicken for the first time a year ago I felt that it was very chewy and I could imagine a hen flying between my teeth! However much I tried I felt nauseous.

Name: Shawn Rajendram

Cabinet Position: Technology Chair

School and year: The Ohio State University, D2

What is your favorite song and why?

My favorite song would have to be “Come Sail Away” by Styx. I absolutely loved it growing up because my friends and I used to sing it all the time driving up to ski at Mad River and in the summers when we were out on the lake wakeboarding. I just have so many good memories associated with it!

Name: Megan Borak

Cabinet Position: Social Media Chair

School and Year: West Virginia University, D2

If you were immortal for one day, what would you do?

I would keep doing what I do everyday- laughing & spending time with friends, dancing/ singing badly in my car, and occasionally doing some dental school work for a few hours… I haven’t died yet- so I could already be immortal ;)

Name: Maddy Stumpos

Cabinet Position: District 6 Secretary

School and year: The University of Michigan, D2

If you were immortal for one day, what would you do?

If I was immortal for one day, I would start the day by skydiving in Switzerland and then head to the slopes to snowboard in the Alps. I would love to hike and shed some epic lines in the backcountry. After a long day of fun, I would eat puffer fish for dinner since puffer fish contains tetrodotoxin that could potentially kill you if not prepared correctly.

Name: Zehra Zaid

Cabinet Position: Pre-Dental Chair

School and Year: University of Detroit Mercy, D3

What is your favorite song and why?

My favorite song is Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi because I’m tone deaf so I sing best to it, and I’m basically livin’ on a prayer while doing any procedure in dental school.