AAO Member Grassroots Engagement on Capitol Hill Makes All the Difference

The AAO 2023 Professional Advocacy Conference co-chaired by Dr. Dale Anne Featheringham and Dr. Mike Durbin hosted a maximum capacity blend of AAO advocacy veterans and more than 60 orthodontic residents in Washington, D.C. last week, February 28-March 1. The conference had a total of 122 attendees.

Grassroots advocacy engagement remained the dominant theme throughout a range of topics on the programming agenda, followed by action on Capitol Hill. The AAO delegation carried out over 60 meetings in U.S. House and Senate offices to share our evidence-based policy priorities, including patient health and safety concerns relating to mail-order orthodontic treatment models; workforce shortages and small business challenges; and pervasive student loan debt concerns, with the average debt at $567,000 for an orthodontist after completing residency.     

The AAO Political Action Committee Board hosted a bipartisan reception and dinner at the Hamilton Hotel where Professional Advocacy Conference attendees represented AAO Members and AAO Advocacy policy priorities directly with the following Members of Congress in attendance:

  1. Senator Todd Young
  2. Congressman Don Bacon
  3. Congressman Brett Guthrie
  4. Congresswoman Virginia Foxx
  5. Congressman Jerry Carl
  6. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick
  7. Congressman John Joyce
  8. Congressman Jodey Arrington
  9. Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks
  10. Congressman Michael Burgess
  11. Congressman Brian Babin
  12. Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne
  13. Congressman Bill Johnson
  14. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi
  15. Congresswoman Kim Schrier
  16. Congressman Randy Feenstra
  17. Congressman Bob Latta
  18. Congressman Jeff Van Drew
  19. Congressman Pat Fallon

Members of Congress were grateful to connect with AAO Members in this informal setting.

The programming agenda for this year’s conference attendees was built by the AAO Legal & Advocacy Team to cover a variety of topics with executive level overviews that will be complemented by a new virtual series offered throughout the coming year to AAO Members to continue grassroots engagement and conversations focused on issues ranked most important by AAO Members taking the annual AAO Public Policy Survey.  

Presentations and Other Highlights from this Professional Advocacy Conference

  • AAO 2023 Advocacy Insights and Action in States across the U.S.
  • Day One Keynote Address by Dr. Natalia Chalmers, Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) first Chief Dental Officer
  • Introduction of opportunities to lead and join AAO’s new National Advocacy Network
  • Workforce Challenges discussion, including updates from Michigan (Dr. John Monticello) and New York (Dr. Renée Pompei)
  • Key Insights from Orthodontic Residents as our Advocacy Voices for the Future (featuring Drs. Katie Garrett-McCormack, Beatrice Williams, Alauna Martinez, Davide Green, and Andrew Larkin)
  • AAOPAC Reception and Dinner and direct interaction with eighteen Members of Congress
  • Optional Night Tour of the National Mall (including the Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial)
  • Day Two breakfast kick-off with AAO CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon
  • AAOPAC fueling AAO Advocacy roundtable with Drs. Clark Colville, Phil Mansour, Mike Durbin, and Dale Anne Featheringham
  • Day Two Keynote Address by Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL)
  • AAO/ADA collaboration: updates from ADA Congressional Affairs Director Chris Tampio
  • Center for Telehealth and eHealth Law (CTEL) updates from CTeL Legislative Policy Director Ben Steinhafel
  • Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies Team + AAO Legal and Advocacy Team send-off to Capitol Hill for over 60 Congressional meetings in the U.S. House and Senate

AAOPAC: Please help keep this incredible advocacy momentum going by making your 2023 contribution at AAOPAC.org now!  AAOPAC is helping to fuel our advocacy success not only in Washington, D.C. but in states throughout the country as well. Our AAOPAC Pillars of Giving are working and AAO’s advocacy influence continues to grow through AAO Member grassroots engagement.

SAVE-THE DATES: Mark your calendar to join us for the next AAO Professional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., February 27-28, 2024.  AAOPAC contributors and residents are eligible to receive invitations.  Space is limited!