AGD hires lobbyist for more proactive advocacy campaign

Jan. 9, 2006
Janet Kopenhaver will work with the organization members and staff to promote legislative and regulatory issues of importance to general dentists.

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a Chicago-based organization serving as the premier educational resource for general dentists committed to providing quality patient care, has announced the appointment of Janet Kopenhaver, president of Eye on Washington LLC, to serve as the AGD's new Washington lobbyist.

Kopenhaver will represent general dentists on Capitol Hill in a more proactive manner. Kopenhaver will work with the AGD members and staff to promote legislative and regulatory issues of importance to general dentists.

"Janet brings her vast experience in the advocacy arena to the AGD, and we
look forward to having her lead our organization on a more aggressive path
with respect to our number one goal of an advocacy effort," said AGD
President Bruce A. Burton, DMD, MAGD, ABGD.

AGD recently conducted a surveyand strategic planning exercise that resulted in increased advocacy as the top goal for its members.

"I am looking forward to a busy year voicing the views and concerns of
general dentists to legislators and their staffs," said Kopenhaver. "We have
hit the ground running on several fronts to increase the visibility of the
AGD on Capitol Hill."

AGD advocacy initiatives already underway include development of a new
interactive grassroots Web site, which will allow members to easily submit
letters to their legislators on various issues of importance to general
dentists; an employment statistical project broken out by congressional
district, along with an interactive map; and the expected launch of a
monthly newsletter updating members on important legislative and regulatory developments that could have an impact on their practices and employees.

Kopenhaver has more than 20 years experience in the public policy and
government relations fields. She founded and has served as president of Eye
on Washington LLC for almost nine years.

Medicaid, OSHA Reform—Top Issues of Concern for General Dentists

The AGD remains concerned about cuts to the Medicaid system and reducing
dental services under the Medicaid program.

"Oral health care is, and should be considered, an essential primary health care component of our health care system and priorities," said Dr. Burton. "Poor oral health only results in increased costs to our government."

Since dentistry is primarily comprised of small businesses and many OSHA
regulations result in enormous costs to these employers, general dentists
are working towards the enactment of OSHA reform legislation.

While the AGD does not support reduced protections for employees, the AGD believes changes need to be made to the regulations to help general dentists comply with or, if necessary, fight frivolous charges brought by OSHA agents.