February is a month of celebrations: Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, ASDA’s annual session, and lots of snowy days.
The University of Michigan School of Dentistry ASDA’s local chapter just held their elections for the next academic year (2022-2023) a bit earlier than usual to permit those newly elected chapter leaders to enter a smooth, gradual transition to their official positions. Congratulations to our recently elected leaders! We look forward to seeing our chapter continue uplifting to the standards that we hold unto!
The largest event in February was Annual Session 2022 that took place in Louisville, Kentucky. Some fun facts our members learned about the city (and the state itself) include that they are famous for bourdon beverages, horse derby, and deep-fried chickens; whenever you visit the state, you have to try at least one of those items listed! Back to the point… ASDA’s annual session was the first in-person event at the national level for the professional organization, and it was very exciting! Members spent four days with a packed agenda which included House of Delegate debates on amendment & policies that reflect ASDA’s core values, Continuing Education style courses, keystone speakers, and elections on ASDA’s national president, vice president, speaker of the house, and all nine district trustees. The heated topic that was frequently debated on the floor was addressing resolution on governance and licensing amendment [404-2022 – Initial Licensure Pathways] to decide whether an additional requirement to all graduating dental students would be necessary, which is a PGY-1, also known as a residency. However, the house of delegate has decided to pass this resolution issue to the boards of trustees for further investigation and to be re-addressed to the next year’s annual session.
Not all resolutions were held back with arguments- some were immediately proposed for voting. During a previous open floor portion of a past ASDA Annual conference, when ASDA members are freely able to argue or propose amendments, one such amendment proposed by a deaf, ASL-user ASDA member from University of Michigan argued the specific terms and wording regarding marginalized populations that are considered as vulnerable to ASDA. The amendment was successfully passed with a majority vote from the House of Delegates after being approved by the Amendment Reference Committee. The issue with the amendment, however, was that it incorrectly used the terms to identify a person with hearing loss using such terms as “hearing Impaired,” and “muted.” ASDA’s amendment unfortunately had classified those people as vulnerable population, and the document used “hearing impaired,” which was outdated and later challenged by our third-year dental student and University of Michigan ASDA member, Michael Korleski. At this conference, with his help, the proposal for a revision was immediately passed to the Amendment Reference Committee without any debate. Later, that resolution landed in the House of Delegates for final voting on whether the revision would be permanently amended. It was overwhelmingly passed with the entire floor voting with a yes! This was a major success for the Deaf community as well as the dental profession as they continue to advance themselves to become more inclusive for all walks of life.
That would be all for the month of February… Next month's major event is ASDA’s Lobby Day occurring in Washington D.C. We have been so grateful for these in-person conferences and abundant opportunities. ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day creates the opportunity for dental students and dentists to meet with members of Congress together and network throughout the meeting. These dentists and dental students gather in order to protect and advance the profession. Stay tuned for next month’s blog!