2023 Dr. Gerald Gelfand Day on the Hill Scholarship recipients

What do you think the value was to advocate as an organized group with AAOMS and its staff?

  Preston Fong, DDS, BS

“AAOMS Day on the Hill was an amazing opportunity to talk to congressional representatives and senators about student loan reform, craniofacial deformities, and dental insurance. I met California Rep. Kim, Chu, and Swalwell in person! I also met the staff of Senators Feinstein and Padilla. I want to help mold decisions affecting our professions rather than letting others decide for us. As a strong united voice, our opinions are amplified when we work together to make change.”

  Praveen Kumar R Guntaka, DMD

“Advocating as part of an organized group showed me the true strength that lies within our OMS specialty and highlighted the importance of how strong having a united, yet diverse collection of voices is. The organizers, lobbyists, and AAOMS organization provided the perfect environment for collaborative and challenging growth, and I look forward to both recommending and attending the conference again in future years to come!”

  Adam Wandell, DDS, MD

“I attended the Day on the Hill to learn more about the process of how policy making works in healthcare. I feel like that goal was accomplished. I now also understand the issues that face our specialty.”

  Andrew E. Bertagna, DMD

“To demonstrate to congressional leaders the unity amongst providers within our specialty. As well as illustrate our fervent interests in advocating for the most optimal care for our patients.”

2021 Virtual Day on the Hill

“Virtual Day on the Hill provides a wonderful opportunity  to get directly involved in shaping healthcare policies that affect our specialty as a whole. I was able to meet with congressional offices and voice my concerns over matters that are important to me as a private practitioner and oral and maxillofacial surgeon. I encourage everyone to participate, as this small commitment significantly impacts the growth and future of our specialty.”Nira Dwivedi, DDS

“Day on the Hill is a powerful way to make positive changes. Not only does it strengthen our profession, but it provides an opportunity to let lawmakers know what's important for our patients. The 2021 Virtual Day on the Hill was my first time participating, and AAOMS made it very easy. I would encourage all my colleagues to consider participating next year. Our profession needs us.”Salman Malik, DMD, MD

“Attending Day on the Hill was a great experience because I care about the specialty, and it allowed me to network with Dr. Charles Crago from North Dakota. It also helped me to get informed about issues that I could bring to attention in my local AAOMS and ADA chapters.”Tyler Boyd, DDS, MD

“Day on the Hill is a great opportunity to learn about issues affecting our field and patients and advocate to improve these situations. For example, one of the bills we have been discussing with congress is the Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act. If passed, this would expand insurance coverage so that those born with congenital anomalies can get full reconstructions – including dental implants, which as we know is often difficult for patients to get insurance coverage for. It is important for oral and maxillofacial surgeons to be involved in advocacy for issues like this because – though it is obvious to us why teeth/implants are so much more than a cosmetic concern – it is not always immediately apparent to others, which ultimately negatively impacts patients.”Jennifer Dolan, DDS, OMS resident

“Day on the Hill allows residents to voice our concerns or support about the issues that can directly affect us.”Alexis Linnebur, DMD, OMS resident

Past attendees share why they decided to participate in AAOMS Day on the Hill

Dr. Rooney urges fellow OMSs to ‘give back’ during Day on the Hill

Here’s what Dr. Thomas Rooney of Illinois had to say about his experience attending Day on the Hill for the first time in 2017.

Q What prompted you to attend your first Day on the Hill?

Dr. Herbert Stith (from left), dentist Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Dr. Thomas Rooney.

A “I had several reasons for volunteering – 1) I have always been interested in how things got done in Washington, 2) the fact that it didn’t really take that much time out of my schedule made it easy to participate and 3) I have recently felt a little guilty about not having spent enough time volunteering for my organization or – in other words – giving back.”

Q What was the highlight of Day on the Hill for you?

A “That’s an easy one for me. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) is my state representative, and he was one of the targets of AAOMS’s leadership visits. So my first meeting with him was actually run by Drs. (Douglas) Fain and (Brett) Ferguson. In a few short minutes, I learned exactly how to do what I was there to do.”

Q Why do you believe it is important to attend this event?

A “Personally, I hate the idea that our legislature is ‘pay to play.’ But I understand the reality of the situation and feel it is critical that we participate in the process to ensure the health of our specialty.”


Dr. Thaker: Residents are guardians and keepers of OMS profession

Dr. Raj Thaker (left) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)

Here’s what Dr. Raj Thaker of New York had to say about his experience attending Day on the Hill for the first time in 2017:

Q What prompted you to attend your first Day on the Hill?

A “I felt the importance to attend Day on the Hill after being involved in ASDA as a dental student and learning the importance of organized dentistry. As an oral surgery resident, one of my colleagues was very involved in AAOMS and went to Day on the Hill. Her positive experience influenced my decision greatly to continue my involvement in AAOMS and OMSPAC at the resident level and hopefully in the future as an upcoming surgeon.”

Q What was the highlight of Day on the Hill for you?

A “A major highlight for Day on the Hill was actually having an opportunity to connect and speak one-to-one with my federal representative, Rep. (Jerrold) Nadler (D-N.Y.), and I was able to get a picture with him. More importantly, my representative actually asked about my story, how I got to where I am today, and asked me my personal concerns regarding the issues AAOMS was lobbying for.”

Q Why do you believe it is important to attend this event?

A “One of the most important reasons as to why residents should attend Day on the Hill is for the simple fact we are the guardians and keepers of our profession. To safeguard the work of our predecessors, it is imperative residents give that touch of ‘young blood’ when connecting with congressional staffers and representatives. Furthermore, the more engaged we are as a profession in our future, the more likely we are to protect our privileges and help mold the decisions affecting our profession rather than others who might decide for us.”