On September 25, 2021, the California Association of Orthodontists (CAO) held its annual Leader Appreciation reception and dinner to honor CAO leadership for their service. Noteworthy at the event was the CAO’s additional recognition of California Assemblyman Evan Low with the CAO Award of Merit, with Assemblyman Low attending to accept the award. Assemblyman Low has been instrumental in legislative efforts in California to protect orthodontic patients undergoing direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment.

“Assemblyman Low has been a champion of safe and effective healthcare and has worked hard to help his colleagues better understand the importance of the ethical and safety standards in the orthodontic profession,” said CAO President Dr. Boyd Martin. “Mr. Low was chosen for the Award of Merit by our selection committee to recognize his work as a strong and vigilant advocate for patient safety in orthodontic treatment. This work is a shining example of his commitment to the health and well-being of residents throughout the state—a commitment shared by CAO members,” Martin added.

In 2019, Assemblyman Low sponsored and led efforts to pass AB 1519. AB 1519 requires the treating dentist to review radiographs prior to beginning orthodontic treatment; it requires that patients be provided with the name, license information, and contact information of any dentist providing them orthodontic treatment; and it prohibits requiring patients to sign an agreement limiting their ability to file a dental board complaint. AB 1519 has been a model for other states considering legislation to protect patients receiving direct-to-consumer treatment. In 2020, Assemblyman Low introduced a bill that would have required an in-person examination prior to beginning orthodontic treatment.

AAO General Counsel Trey Lawrence (pictured above) attended and spoke at the event as well. He thanked the CAO, and its leadership and members, for their zealous advocacy efforts on behalf of patients in California, as well as Assemblyman Low for his strong support. Lawrence also gave CAO leadership an update on AAO advocacy efforts, including the new advocacy resources available at www.orthofacts.org.

The joint advocacy efforts of the CAO and AAO to obtain passage of AB 1519, and the CAO’s utilization of funds from the Component Legal Support Fund, serve as a model example of how the AAO and its constituent/component organizations can partner together on advocacy issues.