The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) awarded BU student David Lane DMD 16 Legislative Liaison of the Year at ASDA National Student Lobby Day 2014, April 7–8, in Washington, D.C. ASDA chooses an honoree from among all Legislative Liaisons in ASDA chapters nationwide. Lane is completing his second term as Legislative Liaison for the ASDA chapter at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM).
According to the ASDA website, the Legislative Liaison of the Year award “honors an outstanding Legislative Liaison in motivating and organizing his/her chapter in the legislative arena and getting the chapter involved in advocacy efforts and events.” ASDA’s Council on Advocacy picks a winner from among nominations from the Legislative Coordinators. Ricardo Fontoura, Temple University Legislative Coordinator for districts 1–3, nominated Lane.
“Receiving this award was such an honor and was a great motivation to keep up the work,” says Lane. He adds, “It’s important for me to point out that I rarely did things alone; I often had a team of classmates with me.”
Lane’s responsibilities included organizing events and researching issues of local interest.
“This past year, we were able to organize local meetings with state and national legislators here in Boston, outside of lobby days, as well as visit nearby dental societies to help with their legislative efforts,” Lane says. “This helped us have a continued presence throughout the year rather than only on lobby days.”
GSDM ASDA members worked with the deans of all three Boston-area dental schools to promote licensure reform (bill hb2080) and stop an aggressive, mid-level providers’ bill in Vermont (bill s35). Lane recognizes classmate Brandon Vanasse for going on public record as to how such a bill would hurt Vermont dentists.
National Student Lobby Day convenes hundreds of ASDA members to receive training on legislative issues and how to effectively lobby legislators. Following training, the students head to the Capitol to participate in more than 175 appointments with congressmen and their staff.
This year, students were educated on three specific issues:
The Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act, which enables dental school graduates to consolidate or refinance their Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (and/or Federal Direct Consolidation Loans) at a fixed rate of 4.0 percent. It would retroactively apply to all such loans taken out between July 1, 2006, and the date of the bill’s passage.
The Student Loan Interest Deduction Act of 2013, which increases the deduction allowed for student loan interest from $2,500 to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for a joint return. The deduction is available to all, regardless of income.
The Coordination of Pro Bono Medically Recommended Dental Care Act, which proposes a grant program that supports national dental programs that coordinate medically recommended dental care for low income individuals. Dental services would be provided by volunteer dentists at no cost to patients who have medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, or who need heart or joint replacements or transplants.
The full list of GSDM students who attended National Student Lobby Day includes: Christopher Rylan Cason DMD 17, Rushil Rajiv Dang AS 15, Sara Elashaal DMD 17, Alexandra Fili DMD 17, Keely Matheson DMD 15, Amit Merchant AS 15, Jessica Metcalfe DMD 15, Adam Robbins DMD 15, Monica Schmidt DMD 17, and Garrett Wingrove DMD 17.