Behind the Scenes of Dental Advocacy – Siri Vasireddy ’22

On September 21, six CDMA students had the opportunity to take a closer look at the process of creating successful legislative proposals and smoothly-running lobby days. Year after year, the AzDA graciously invites us to sit in on, and even participate in, their meetings. The three divisions of the AzDA (Northern, Central, and Southern) came together to discuss any revisions to the by-laws, make budgetary decisions, and brainstorm any additions to dental bills that will be sent to legislature in the winter. 

Arizona’s District Five Representative Dr. Regina Cobb addressed 2019’s victories and difficulties. A bill to prevent insurance companies from charging dentists redundant processing fees unanimously passed in the Arizona House and Senate, potentially saving dentiststhousandsof dollars per year. But unfortunately, a separate proposal to have maternal dental benefits added to AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid agency) did not pass yet again. She spoke to the importance of helping legislators realize that prevention, rather than treatment, is key. If a few hundred thousand dollars are invested in maintaining maternal oral health during pregnancy, millionsof dollars can be saved – not to mention the avoidance of adverse health outcomes like preterm birth and low birth weight. The divide between oral and systemic health is still discernable, but through educating both the public and legislators, hopefully that gap will begin to dissipate.

This year’s HOD meeting was particularly special, as it doubled as a celebration of Executive Director Kevin Earle’s eleven-year tenure at the AzDA. While I only met Kevin a little over a year ago, it was obvious after working with him at both state and national lobby days and hearing him speak about advocacy that he has a sincere passion for helping Arizona’s dentists. Many member dentists spoke to Kevin’s dedication and character, and how within the past decade he has facilitated a close bond between the AzDA and dental schools. We are so grateful to him for the opportunities he’s provided us students to get involved in organized dentistry and get a head start in learning about policies that will affect us when we start practicing. Additionally, Arizona’s own Dr. Dan Klemmedson of Tucson was recently named the ADA President-Elect, and will take over the title of President next year. He will be the first ever ADA President from Arizona, and we are so lucky to have his support.  

The more advocacy events I attend, the more apparent the importance of defending our profession becomes. Legislators love to make laws aboutus, and if we are not part of the conversation, then our profession will be governed by an essentially clueless entity. Many issues affect us even as students; the debt we accumulate now will directly translate into the way we will practice when we graduate. The dentist members of the AzDA repeatedly expressed their appreciation of student participation in their organization, and we hope to continue that involvement in years to come.

-Sirisha Vasireddy, Class of 2022

Midwestern’s Music Monday – Emad Abdou, OMFS Resident

A weekly mixtape of Monday jams to get you through your week. Enjoy a curated playlist by our very own Midwestern ASDA dental students to listen to whether you’re in clinic or SIM. New playlists posted every Monday. Always fresh.

This week’s playlist is curated by our very own Emad Abdou, OMFS Resident .

Emad Abdou, OMFS Resident
October 20, 2019

Health and Wellness – Alex Fung ’22

If you’re like me and have terrible posture, yet still wonder why your back hurts at the end of a procedure, then it never hurts to be reminded of proper ergonomics. I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve had the privilege of good teachers, vigilant partners, and trial and error, so I’d like to highlight a few of the tips and cues that work for me. 

One point I’d like to make before I get started is that ergonomics is a team sport. Don’t forget that your own proprioception is not the only tool you have at your disposal to fix your ergonomics. Recruit the help of a coworker, assistant, friend, or even a camera (yes, to film your own posture), because with different perspectives comes better ergonomics.

One of the fundamental pieces of advice I’ve received for general sitting posture is “shoulders back, chest high, and spine aligned.” I like to think as if there was a rod directly through my spine that is pulling me straight up off my seat. Other cues that have stuck with me are “ten toes down” as a reminder to always have your feet planted as a solid base, and “love your abs or they won’t love you back” as a reminder to continue to maintain some level of abdominal pressure to support your back. 

In terms of more complicated situations of pain, I think it’s easy to overcompensate one way or another when things start to tighten up. For example, I struggled with lower back tightness, so I would be overly concerned with lumbar support and trying to compensate with more of an anterior pelvic tilt. I found out that I needed to take a step back and look at my overall position, which directed my attention to more upstream effects, like stretching out my hip rotators and elongating my upper body for more support. My point is that it is important to look at other areas of posture, even if it doesn’t directly involve the painful area.

All-in-all whether you’re pain-free or struggling to get in and out of a chair, it is always important to be comfortable and self-aware. I encourage you to make cheesy cues for yourself and implement daily/hourly reminders to help you stay vigilant. Our goal with ergonomics is longevity, so if you see others around you give them some feedback, because we’re all in this together! Go be great y’all, have a terrific day!

-Alex Fung, Midwestern Dental Class of 2022

Midwestern’s Music Monday – Ann Andrews ’21

A weekly mixtape of Monday jams to get you through your week. Enjoy a curated playlist by our very own Midwestern ASDA dental students to listen to whether you’re in clinic or SIM. New playlists posted every Monday. Always fresh.

This week’s playlist is curated by our very own Annie Andrews ’21.

Annie Andrews ’21
October 14, 2019

Midwestern’s Music Monday – Christy Redmond ’21

A weekly mixtape of Monday jams to get you through your week. Enjoy a curated playlist by our very own Midwestern ASDA dental students to listen to whether you’re in clinic or SIM. New playlists posted every Monday. Always fresh.

This week’s playlist is curated by our very own Christy Redmond ’21.

Christy Redmond ’21
October 7, 2019

Midwestern’s Music Monday – Felicia Desai ’21

A weekly mixtape of Monday jams to get you through your week. Enjoy a curated playlist by our very own Midwestern ASDA dental students to listen to whether you’re in clinic or SIM. New playlists posted every Monday. Always fresh.

This week’s playlist is curated by our very own Felicia Desai ’21.

Felicia Desai ’21
September 29, 2019

Midwestern’s Music Monday – Judy Nguyen ’21

A weekly mixtape of Monday jams to get you through your week. Enjoy a curated playlist by our very own Midwestern ASDA dental students to listen to whether you’re in clinic or SIM. New playlists posted every Monday. Always fresh.

This week’s playlist is curated by our very own Judy Nguyen ’21.

Judy Nguyen ’21
September 9, 2019

Navigating New Partnerships – Amanda Tran ’21

Just a brief introduction – my name is Amanda Tran and I am currently a D3 at Midwestern-AZ. A little over two and a half months ago, we began our journey into clinic. As expected, clinic presented many new challenges, from navigating Axium to managing and caring for patients – there was just so much to learn! Here at Midwestern, we are paired up with a fellow D4 for the year. We find out who our partners are during our D2 year, and as you can imagine, it’s the talk of the town when we receive the news; all of us buzzing about, asking, “So who’s your partner? Do you think you will work well together?” Some will react with excitement, some with concern, and others with uncertainty. What I have grown to appreciate about our pairing structure is that it gives each of us the opportunity to learn how to practice four-hands dentistry, learn how to communicate effectively, and, most importantly, develop leadership skills. This is not to say the process of learning to work effectively with my partner has not been challenging. Here are a few things I have learned from this experience thus far:

1. Stay patient with your partner. 

D3s, try to remember that your partner had fixed and developed systems, processes and communication methods with their previous D4s. If there is something that is not working for you, just set aside a time to address it with your partner. D4s, try to understand that we are simply trying to develop an effective working relationship with you

2. Invest in each other’s success. 

Building a strong relationship stems from understanding that you both have each other’s best interest in mind. This can be established early on by going over one another’s goals and coming up with a plan on how to reach them together.

3. Support the leader in one another.

Being the leader is quite often, the more glamorous role. What we often forget is that being a good follower is just as valuable. Encourage your partner to become the best leader they can be by giving them feedback and engaging with them. Effective systems can result from critical engagement between leaders and followers. Not to mention, through following, we can each learn what type of leader we want to become. 

4. Set the tone for constant improvement.

Set up regular meetings and stick to them. These are times where you both can discuss way to improve, increase efficiency, or go over your goals. Aside from that, it also gives you an allotted time to put out any fires before they start. Address any concerns or feelings you have early on.

5. Listening is a skill. 

Sometimes it’s hard not to take feedback personally. I like to tell myself this, “Well, better now than later, and on Yelp!”. It truly is a gift to receive feedback from my partner. Remember, as hard as it is for you to take feedback, it can be just as hard to give it.            

From things done right, things done not-so-right and things that weren’t done at all; learning to work alongside my D4 has been quite the ride! For those of you who are in clinic right now, I’m sure you can relate. To those who have not yet made it over, I hope this is something that can help you in the future.

– Amanda Tran ’21

#BeUtahful – Aditi Desai, ASDA District 10 Trustee, Roseman ’21

You will find two types of people in Utah. One who would claim there isn’t much to do in Utah, and other who would say there is so much to do in Utah! It all comes down to what type of person you are. Do you like to party like you are in Vegas every weekend? Or are you an adventurous outdoor person?  If you are the latter, then you can never be bored in Utah! Utah is the perfect place to live if you love outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, mining, swimming, snowboarding and more. Any type of outdoor activity you can think of, can be done in Utah!

After moving to Utah, I was surprised by the amount of time it took me to get acclimatized to the altitude. Having grown up on flat terrain in Ontario, Canada where running a mile was no large feat, here I found myself huffing and puffing after running just 100 yards. I didn’t feel alone when I found out that this was a common phenomenon for others who made a similar geographical change.  Overtime my lung capacity and stamina increased, and I’m grateful for the experience of getting to live in such a beautiful state. 

Utah is a unique state as it has mountains, lake, hot springs, caves, snow and desert! It is very common to see students in Utah go hiking or skiing/snowboarding weekly. There is so much to do and see here that even if you went hiking every weekend to a new location for a year, you would still not be close to experiencing all the different hikes and views. If you have Instagram, you should check out this popular trending hashtag #BeUTAHful and see all the beautiful pictures of Utah. So far, I have had the opportunity to visit 2 out of 5 National Parks. My goal before I leave Utah is to go from a beginner skier to an expert level skier and complete all the hard level hikes at all the National Parks of Utah. 

So for anyone planning to visit Utah, here is what I recommend according to the season.

Spring
Best activity: Visit Arches or Bryce Canyon or Salt Flats (Best time for photography after a good rain fall)
Favorite Hike:

Summer
Best activity: Homestead crater or camping in Lake Powell (Don’t forget to stargaze at night!)

Fall
Best activity: Visit Zion
Favorite Hike: (Can not pick one) Angel’s landing but all the way to the peak, The Narrows (don’t forget to rent out warm pants and boots)

Winter
Best activity: Skiing or Snowboarding or Horseshoeing in Park City or attend Sundance Festival (this year I had a chance to see Mindy Kaling in passing!)

Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like or what season it is, you will always be able to see something beautiful in Utah! I am very lucky that I am able to spend 4 years here and I am excited to see what else Utah has to offer!

-Adita Desai, ASDA District 10 Trustee, Roseman ’21

Midwestern’s Music Monday – Trent Kaiser ’22

A weekly mixtape of Monday jams to get you through your week. Enjoy a curated playlist by our very own Midwestern ASDA dental students to listen to whether you’re in clinic or SIM. New playlists posted every Monday. Always fresh.

This week’s playlist is curated by our very own Trent Kaiser ’22.

Trent Kaiser ’22 June 3, 2019

Apple Music Playlist Link: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/my-favorite-music/pl.u-gxblla1C1vDgp