May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


A Message from Your President

May 2018 Volume LIII Number 3

The Season Change Brings Renewal Greetings from the hard water state of Minnesota! The season change is in full swing and the outdoors

are in a process of renewal. It always amazes me when the sun finally feels warm and goes about its job of melting snow and making plants grow.

Personally, this time of year always brings about a sense of personal renewal. I’ve just returned from our 2018 AAPD Public Policy Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. Old friendships are rekindled, and new friends are made. This year’s million-dollar moment was meeting our future practitioners and watching them in action on the Hill. At this year’s conference, approximately 180 residents attended the meeting to learn about advocating for pediatric health. It was fun to watch them eagerly soak in the knowledge and immediately put it to use. Even our nervous colleagues rapidly assimilated the information and after several rounds of practice, were able to confidently make a coherent persuasive presentation on why issue "X" or "Y" were important to how we provide care to our nation’s children. The best return on the AAPD’s investment is that these individuals will return home and utilize those skills in their communities and state.

The key issues this year were related to Title VII, repeal of McCarran-Ferguson Act for health plans, and student debt. This year, the AAPD requested the continued funding of 12 million dollars devoted to pediatric dentistry training programs. We have made great use of those dollars in the past, increasing the number of pediatric dentists working with our nation’s children. Two million of the 12 million requested, is directed by HRSA through a competitive grant process to full-time pediatric dental faculty to be used with dental faculty loan repayment. As academic salaries are approximately a third of full time private practice, these monies are key in recruiting and retaining our future educators. Not only are these key educators training our future pediatric dental specialists, they are training our general dental partners to provide appropriate care.

I would like to thank Dr. Heber Simmons and the past leaders and staff of the AAPD for creating this opportunity. The wisdom of the group has transformed our legislative advocacy group into a significant trusted presence on the Hill. It is usually an easy ask as the children that we have the honor of treating directly benefit from our efforts. We also have created a small army of public policy advocates that carry our messages at a state level and act as a trip-wire to bring issues from their states to a national level that impact the patients we serve. If you are not currently involved, please get involved with your state and district pediatric dental associations. Please also stay involved with your state dental associations as it is key that they understand how children may be impacted by changes at a state level.

We have a tremendous annual session planned in Hawaii this May. This will be a celebration of Ohana which is a Hawaiian term for family. In addition to our families at home, we have a great professional family. Although we may not always agree, our common bond is advancing pediatric oral health and providing safe, compassionate care for our families. Lynn Fujimoto, the local arrangements chairper- son, and the Scientific Program committee have assembled a great program starting with a tremendous preconference course and Welcome Reception and finishing with time on the beach. Thank you for the honor to serve as your president this year. This has been a tremendous opportunity to meet with our members, stakeholders and other partners to advance our mission. I have truly enjoyed meeting new friends and being able to talk about common issues impacting our future. If I can ever be of service to you, please feel free to contact me at james.

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