A time of giving

Dec. 20, 2011
Stories of Goos Samaritans abound.

By Claudia Pohl, ADAA president

During this time of year, we are reminded of the need for and benefits of giving. It’s been heartwarming to hear stories of Good Samaritans, such as the Walmart Santas who have anonymously paid people’s layaways, the pay-it-forward movement, or my long-time friend who died while helping someone else.

Oftentimes, though, we don’t see how we can give because we equate giving with money. We think of our own circumstances and believe what we have to give won’t measure up or isn’t enough to make a difference, or we really may not have it to give. This limits our ability to have a positive impact on someone else’s life because giving to others doesn’t always require money — or our life. In fact, sometimes the best gifts aren’t financial. We can give to others with our time or talents. Giving might be as simple as a smile, a kind word, opening a door, or speaking up for those in need.

Such an opportunity for those in need exists right now. The American Dental Assistants Association has long endorsed the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program, a humanitarian initiative that provides pro bono dental care for needy disabled, elderly, or medically compromised individuals. Many of our members have been involved in helping the 100,000+ people who have obtained more than $200 million in comprehensive dental therapies.

There is a need to expand the project. A bill (S. 1878) recently introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) authorizes federal support to expand programs such as DDS in order to assist more Medicare and Medicaid recipients who require medically essential, but unaffordable and uncovered dental care.

The ADAA is joining the American Dental Association (ADA), the Academy of General Dentistry, most state dental associations, the Medicare Rights Center, and other groups to advance the legislation. They are asking members to use the link below to ask your senators to join as cosponsors. The bill will help improve and sustain the lives of many medically challenged individuals, while saving government the significant costs of dealing with avoidable medical complications that can develop when dental needs are not addressed.

In addition to using the first link below to communicate with your senators, please ask those with whom you work to do so also. Additionally, we encourage you and your colleagues to post the Facebook and Twitter links below to engage friends in helping advance this humane and fiscally responsible legislation.

Giving not only leaves our world a better place, it leaves each of us a better person. No matter our circumstances, giving to others reminds us of the many things for which we can be grateful, regardless of our circumstances, and that is a very good thing. I hope you join me in helping to provide dental care to those in need through this legislation.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with peace, joy, contentment, and gratitude.

Claudia Pohl, CDA, RDA, FADAA, BVEd

President, American Dental Assistants Association

Click here to communicate with your Senators

Click here to connect to Facebook