CHICAGO--The Academy of General Dentistry has announced the organization's four legislative priorities for the remainder of the 110th Congress.
The priorities are:
1. Full funding for Title VII Health Professions Programs. These federal programs provide grants to organizations that train and educate health care professionals at more than 1,700 institutions. The AGD asks that Congress restore funding back to fiscal year 2005 levels for the Primary Care and Dentistry component of the Title VII program.
2. Enactment of Deamonte's Law (HR 2371). The AGD will support the passage of this bill, which proposes to expand and improve the provision of pediatric dental services to medically underserved populations.
3. Enactment of the Children's Dental Health Improvement Act (S 739/HR 1781). The AGD appreciates that both the Senate and the House version would focus on providing disadvantaged children with access to dental services.
4. Enactment of "Meth Mouth" Bills (S 1907/HR 3187 and S 1906/HR 3186). Realizing the devastating effects that methamphetamine has on the mouth, the AGD endorses each set of bills. One bill would provide a school-based prevention program to educate students about the oral health risks associated with meth use; the other bill will create an infrastructure assistance program that will sustain correctional dental programs.
"These four legislative priorities will help us go above and beyond our number one goal of ensuring access to oral health care--especially our nation's children," said AGD President Vincent C. Mayher, DMD, MAGD. "We look forward to working with the members of Congress and their staff during the remainder of the 110th Congress to achieve these important legislative priorities."
AGD has a lot of initiatives planned for the next year for grassroots advocacy. "Along with our active grassroots letter-writing efforts," explained Myron J. (Mike) Bromberg, DDS, chairman of AGD's Legislative and Governmental Affairs Council. "We are also planning our second advocacy conference, A Great Dentist Goes to Washington, in March during which we will be visiting more than 100 Capitol Hill offices to discuss our profession, the importance of oral health care and our legislative priorities."
In anticipation of this event, the AGD will update its dental profession employment/ payroll statistics by congressional district using 2006 totals and delivering this information in individualized packet for each member of Congress upon the start of the second session of the 110th Congress. The AGD scorecard will also be compiled for actions and votes lawmakers made during the first session of this 110th Congress.
"Our members want to know how supportive their legislators were about issues of importance to general dentists," said Janet Kopenhaver, the organization's Washington lobbyist. "We will be judging members of Congress on bills they have co-sponsored, votes they have taken, and letters they have signed following requests from AGD members," she added.
For more information about the AGD, visit Academy of General Dentistry.