As a direct result of the AADR and Friends of NIDCR Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, on March 7, Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) visited the research laboratories of the University of Utah School of Dentistry to learn more about their important dental, oral and craniofacial research program.
During the course of his visit he met with students, Dr. Rena D’Souza, IADR vice president-elect,Dr. Olga Baker, a member of the AADR Government Affairs Committee and Dr. Glen Hanson, Interim Dean They discussed the many research programs including the following:
- Studies that focus on molecular mechanisms underlying drug addiction and the importance of educating dentists in recognizing behavioral and oral symptoms of substance abuse in patients.
- The use of new scaffolds to improve salivary gland regeneration, omega-3 fatty acids derivatives to treat Sjögren’s Syndrome (SS), use of the Utah population database to study genetic causes of SS and saliva diagnostics.
- The high incidence of craniofacial anomalies such as cleft lip and cleft palate in Utah, which warrants further research on non-invasive therapies.
- The funding needs for supporting such research programs and providing the quality training necessary to produce the next generation of researchers.
AADR members asked Rep. Stewart to support providing $34.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $452 million for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in the fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriation bill. He promised to be supportive of their requests. Dr. Baker stated, “Inviting elected officials to your labs makes a big difference when asking for NIH funding because you are making both professional and personal connections, which in turn helps make the message stick.”
“The highlight of my visit with Rep. Stewart was when he commented that visiting his office on Capitol Hill really made a difference! This reinforced my belief in the importance of AADR membership involvement in advocacy both on Capitol Hill and locally,” Dr. D’Souza.
AADR encourages all members to invite policy makers to tour research labs and facilities so members of Congress can learn more about the importance of dental, oral and craniofacial research.
Interested? If you want to learn more about how to invite a member of Congress to visit your campus, simply email the AADR Director of Government Affairs Carolyn Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can discuss how to set up a meeting, provide talking points and background materials to help maximize the impact of your meeting.