Dr. Bill Risk (right) served as Contact Dentist for former State Representative Randy Truitt (left).
The Indiana Dental Association Contact Dentist Program is the foundation of IDA’s advocacy. The program advocates for the dental profession in Indiana and aids the efforts of Indiana legislators in improving Hoosier oral health. The focus is on promoting dialogue and enhancing long-term relationships between the Association, its members and all members of the Indiana General Assembly.
Why Do We Need Contact Dentists?
IDA’s accomplishments at the Statehouse rely on the ability to communicate our priorities and the importance of oral health to Indiana legislators. This can only be done with the involvement of our Contact Dentists. While we have a strong lobbyist and other advocates, hearing from a dentist with experience in patient care, dental benefits programs, the dental profession, as well as knowledge of the importance of oral health to overall health can make all the difference in the world. When legislators are faced with critical health care issues, they look to their expert contacts for information and guidance. Organized dentistry is stronger when more members serve as these expert contacts.
Who Makes a Good Contact Dentist?
Any IDA member who already has a relationship with a current Indiana legislator, a member of their staff, or another Indiana decision maker, can make an excellent Contact Dentist. However, even those who don’t have a relationship with their legislator but would like to develop one can become a part of IDA’s advocacy efforts. Members do not have to be political experts or know a legislator directly to serve as a Contact Dentist. The only requirement is the desire to make an impact and the willingness to build and foster mutually beneficial relationships with key legislative contacts.
What Do Contact Dentists Do?
Contact Dentists volunteer to actively cultivate professional relationships with Indiana legislators, serve as a liaison to these legislators regarding the goals of the dental profession and organized dentistry, and work with IDA to identify the best opportunities to engage these legislators. Contact Dentists may be asked to meet with their legislative contacts or staff members, to alert their legislative contacts on important issues affecting Hoosier oral health and follow up on these issues as needed, to become an expert resource to their contacts and staff on issues of oral health and/or its link to overall health, to attend local fundraising events and, when applicable, to support their contact legislators in their election campaigns.
Do Contact Dentists Receive Training?
IDA provides Contact Dentists with all the tools necessary to develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with legislative contacts. Contact Dentists receive training in how to effectively deliver key messages to their legislative contacts, how to advocate for the dental profession, and how to promote oral health throughout Indiana. They are given updates as needed in order to stay informed on important issues and become a valued expert resource to Indiana legislators.
IDA is proud of our advocacy program and the many men and women who serve as Contact Dentists. But more work is needed to reach every legislator in the state of Indiana. Many legislators do not currently have an IDA contact, and members are invited to fill these vacancies. If you are interested in volunteering for the Contact Dentist Program please submit your information below or contact Alexandra Sumner at alexandra@INDental.org or 317-213-6900.
Apply to Become a Contact Dentist
Thank You Contact Dentists!
IDA Thanks the many men and women who support the dental profession and Hoosier oral health by serving as a contact dentist. These voices are essential to organized dentistry’s success at the Statehouse.
Critical issues affecting dentists, the dental profession, and the oral health of Hoosiers are being debated and decided on by the Indiana Legislature at lightning speed. The majority of these legislators have no background in dental health nor any knowledge of running a dental practice. IDA Contact Dentists play a vital role in sharing dentistry’s concerns with legislators and key contacts who will be shaping the future of dentistry in Indiana.