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COVID-19 – ASDA takes action on behalf of dental students 

We want to reassure you that we continue to track the developments around COVID-19. We understand your concerns and are monitoring the updates issued by the Federal Government and the CDC. The American Student Dental Association's (ASDA) first priority is the health, safety and well-being of everyone.

While the risks and long-term impacts of the coronavirus are hard to quantify and change day-to-day, we are taking the appropriate steps and continue to actively monitor the impact the virus may have on the communities we serve. 

ASDA will continue to work with the dental community during these uncertain times to resolve the impact of COVID-19. Please refer to ASDA official statements, chapter communications and resources below.


ASDA Official Statements
5.18.2020 - Message from the President: Our Commitment to You

We continue to navigate through COVID-19 and just like you, we don't know what's to come. What we do know is that ASDA continues to focus on dental students and how we can serve you through this crisis and beyond.

We know you value education and knowledge from reliable sources, especially in a time of uncertainty. ASDA is proud to continue to offer solutions aimed at providing resources and tools to help with the variety of challenges you are facing. Here is a summary of our activities over the past few weeks.

LICENSURE REFORM

Licensure ReformASDA remains focused on COVID-19 ramifications that are affecting dental students. ASDA spearheaded an initiative to send a letter to each state dental board in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Board of Trustees worked with chapter leaders to send letters that advocated for non-patient based alternatives that were best for each state. Our efforts have been successful in some states. Information related to ASDA's action on licensure by state, updates from regional testing agencies and other stakeholders, recent licensure reform victories and more can be found on our website


VIRTUAL BOARD MEETINGS

Virtual Board MeetingsThe ASDA Board of Trustees met virtually twice in April and continues to conduct business on behalf of the Association. The Editorial Board will also meet virtually in June as they continue to produce Contour, ASDA's award winning publication, and the ASDA Blog.

CHAPTER PROGRAMMING

Webinar Series

Webinar SeriesASDA is hosting live and recorded webinars to support members during these challenging times. Webinars are free to current ASDA members. Topics include Coping with Stress During an Uncertain Time; Maintaining Social Wellness and Relationships; Enhancing your Technique in Dental Photography; and more. Webinars can be viewed here

Chapter Idea Exchanges

ASDA is hosting virtual chapter idea exchanges aimed at helping chapters navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Members have met to share ideas about Community Service in the Time of COVID-19; Taking ASDA Fever Virtual; Communicating with Members and Working with Your Administration During COVID-19.

ADVOCATING FOR THE PROFESSION

Advocating for the ProfessionASDA has been working closely with associations within organized dentistry to advocate for small business loans, liability insurance, appropriate PPE for dentists and other measures that would help dental students and dentists. ASDA, along with other dental and healthcare associations signed on to letters requesting Congress provide support for 501(c)(6) non-profits in future COVID-19 legislation; requesting additional funding for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund and to streamline the process for dentists applying to receive funds; asking for flexibility for Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans to small business health care providers.

It's been a long and difficult quarantine time for many. We are stressed and concerned about how we can safely go about our lives again. Trust that ASDA will continue to advocate on your behalf. Check our website for updates on initiatives and engage on our social media platforms.

Stay safe and well during these challenging times.

Sincerely,


Sydney Shapiro
President
American Student Dental Association


Nancy R. Honeycutt, CAE
Executive Director
American Student Dental Association


5.5.2020 - Letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

On May 5, ASDA sent a letter to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advocating for the extension of deadlines and grace periods for OPT and the expedition of processing H-1B visas to ensure a timely graduation and licensure for the class of 2020.

4.3.2020 - Message from the President: Licensure Reform Victories

ASDA is pleased to report that after years of advocating for the removal of human subjects in live clinical testing scenarios, external agencies are releasing non-patient based alternatives. 

In 2015, ASDA Past President Christian Piers submitted a request for the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure (CDEL) to develop a business plan to create an OSCE exam. Five years later and the ADA announced expedited plans to release the Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Exam (DLOSCE) in light of this national crisis. This is a huge win for dental students and the dental community. 

Additionally, the Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS) announced their release of an all-manikin exam that can be administered for licensure. ASDA is also in communication with all other testing agencies that have plans to fast-track the development of their own manikin exam. 

However, there is still work to be done. Each state dental board needs to accept these as pathways to licensure. That’s why ASDA is working on a state by state strategy with chapter advocates to advance reform. 

ASDA believes that an ideal exam should include a manikin assessment, an objective structured clinical exam and a portfolio. However, we see these recent developments as critical in paving the way to achieve our ideal. 

We will be holding a COVID-19 Licensure Update Town Hall on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 pm CT to answer all questions and look forward to you joining. In the meantime, stay safe and celebrate these advancements in licensure reform. 

Sincerely, 


Sydney Shapiro

2020-21 ASDA President

3.21.2020 - Statements to Congress, ADA, ADEA, AADB, Dental School Deans, Regional Testing Agencies and State Dental Boards

ASDA is aware of the issues you face as a dental student during these difficult times. We continue to monitor the developments around COVID-19 and are respecting the guidelines and mandates from the federal government and the CDC. Our first priority is the health, safety and well-being of everyone.

ASDA remains focused on COVID-19 ramifications that are affecting dental students. We have been in contact with the American Dental Association (ADA), American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and American Association of Dental Boards (AADB) about the following issues:

  • The postponement of graduation and clinical examinations aimed at protecting the health and safety of everyone
  • Concern about loans and losing the loan deferment period due to the postponement of several licensure exams

ASDA is advocating for regional testing agencies and state dental boards to endorse a licensure process involving a manikin-based assessment along with a diagnostic skills assessment, available for fourth year dental students when schools re-open.

ASDA is also recommending testing agencies and state boards consider providing 2020 graduates of CODA-accredited programs with preliminary licensure, allowing graduates adequate time to prepare for a clinical examination. Please review the correspondence that has been distributed to the ADA, ADEA, AADB, Dental School Deans, Regional Testing Agencies and State Dental Boards. 

ASDA sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, encouraging them to consider deferring interest on federal student loans for dental students while in dental school, or a residency and deferring all monthly payments on federal student loans for all health care professionals, including dentists, without penalty. Please review the letters

Regarding future national meetings, the ASDA April 3-5, 2020 Spring Council and Board meeting has been postponed until a later date. ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day has been cancelled. We will refund registrations that we received for this meeting. 

Please check our website for updates on these issues.  ASDA continues to advocate on your behalf.  

Regards,


Sydney Shapiro
President
American Student Dental Association

3.17.2020 - ASDA's COVID-19 Statement

We want to reassure you that we continue to track the developments around COVID-19. We understand your concerns and are monitoring the updates issued by the Federal Government and the CDC. The American Student Dental Association's (ASDA) first priority is the health, safety and well-being of everyone.

The situation continues to evolve at a rapid pace. We are taking the appropriate steps to lessen the impact the virus may have on the communities we serve. Our intent is to gather factual information that we can share to help you navigate through these most difficult times.

ASDA is aware of some of the challenges that dental students are experiencing in this crisis, including the following:

  • The postponement of school-based examinations aimed at protecting the health and safety of not only candidates and patients, but also the schools, staff, and general population.
  • Concern about loans and losing the loan deferment period due to the postponement of several licensure exams.

We have connected with ADEA and the ADA for further information and resources to share with our members. Please review the following:

  • In regards to the regional testing agencies, we will continue to keep informed on new developments. Please refer to the agency websites as they will have the most updated information on this situation.
  • Check this link for information on the examination programs implemented by the ADA's Department of Testing Services. 
  • President Trump announced at a press conference on Friday, March 13th that he will waive interest on all federal student loans held by federal agencies. We have no information yet about deferment and how the waived interest will be implemented. 
ASDA continues to communicate with ADEA, the ADA, regional testing agencies and others. We will keep you informed of any news we receive. Here are some other resources you can refer to during this time:

ADA Coronavirus Updates

State Dental Board List

CDC Coronavirus Website

Nancy R. Honeycutt, CAE, executive director
American Student Dental Association

ASDA remains focused on COVID-19 ramifications that are affecting dental students. Information related to ASDA’s action on licensure by State, updates from regional testing agencies and other stakeholders, recent licensure reform victories and more can be found on this page.
ASDA’s sponsors are equally as focused on supporting dental students in response to COVID-19. A collection of resources, articles and more from these sponsors can be found on this page.

Coalition Letters
7.17.2020 - Relief Priorities Letter to Congressional Leadership
On July 17, ASDA along with 49 other dental organizations signed on to a letter outlining the top priorities for consideration in future COVID-19 relief packages.
7.1.2020 - Small Business PPE Tax Credit Act
On July 1, ASDA along with 14 other dental organizations signed on to a letter of gratitude and support for H.R. 7216.
6.1.2020 - PPP for PPE Letter to Senator
On June 1, ASDA along with 14 other dental organizations signed on to a letter thanking Senator McSally for introducing legislation to allow PPP funds for PPE.
5.27.2020 - Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act Letter to Congressional Leadership
On May 27, ASDA along with 14 other dental organizations signed on to two letters extending gratitude and support for bills that provide flexibility for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
5.20.2020 - Business Interruption Insurance Reform Letter to Congressional Leadership

On May 20, ASDA along with 14 other dental organizations signed on to a letter urging lawmakers to address commercial business interruptions caused by the current pandemic in insurance policies.

5.4.2020 - DACA Health Professions Letter
On May 4, ASDA along with 76 other dental and healthcare organizations signed on to a letter urging legislative action to maintain work authorization for individuals currently in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status during the COVID-19 national emergency.
5.4.2020 - PPP for PPE Dental Organizations Letter to Congressional Leadership 
On May 4, ASDA along with 15 other dental organizations signed on to a letter asking for flexibility for Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans to small business health care providers.
4.22.2020 - Letter to HHS for Liability Protection for Dentists

On April 22, ASDA along with 13 other dental organizations signed on to a letter asking the Assistant Secretary for Health to use his discretionary authority during public health emergencies to give additional liability protection for dentists who administer FDA-“authorized” COVID-19 testing kits. Similar to the liability protection given to pharmacists.

4.17.2020 - Letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

On April 17, ASDA, along with over 50 other dental organizations signed on to a letter requesting that the Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provide immediate access to capital by releasing funding from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to dentists that are Medicaid providers.

4.17.2020 - Letter to the US Congress

On April 17, ASDA, along with over 60 other dental organizations requesting additional funding for the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund and to streamline the process for dentists applying to receive funds.

4.14.2020 - Letter to the US Congress

On April 14, ASDA, along with 36 other healthcare associations signed on to a letter requesting Congress provide support for 501(c)(6) non-profits relief in future COVID-19 legislation.

3.18.2020 - Letter to Department of Labor from Dental Organizations
On March 18, ASDA, along with 48 other dental organizations signed on to a letter requesting that the Department of Labor consider exempting small businesses from the family and medical paid sick leave for workers in H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

ASDA is hosting live and recorded wellness webinar aimed at supporting ASDA members during these challenging times. Webinars are free to current ASDA members.  


ASDA Communications to Chapters
3.23.2020 - ASDA COVID-19 Chapter Survey
ASDA continues to monitor the developments around COVID-19. Our priority is the safety and well-being of everyone.

We have taken actions to assist dental students with the COVID-19 ramifications around student debt and licensing. We are also focusing on chapter management during this challenging time. Our intent is to gather information so we can support you in working with your chapter during these extenuating circumstances.

An email was sent to ASDA’s 66 predoctoral chapter Presidents and Vice Presidents/President-Elects. The email included a survey for each chapter to complete by 11:59 pm central March 26, 2020.

Lilliane Smothers, CAE, director of membership
American Student Dental Association
ASDA is hosting virtual chapter idea exchanges aimed at helping chapters navigate the COVID-19 crisis.
Additional Resources