Posts tagged #CoASDAis
True Life: How I Caught ASDA FEVER

10734220_10152804405556465_8140816476630931520_nAs a first year dental student, I certainly didn’t start out with a very firm grasp on what ASDA was and how it could help me to become a more informed and capable dentist. However, as I’ve progressed through my first year I have become more involved in ASDA and learned what a valuable asset it can be to us as dental students. This February, I had the privilege of being sent to Boston for the ASDA Annual Session. This trip was not only an extremely fun adventure; it was also HUGE in helping me to understand the scope of the organization. Upon returning from the ASDA session I felt like I had to share this experience with everyone! So here it is, the top 5 reasons that every ASDA member should put attending annual session on their dental school bucket list!


1. Networking with dental students from every other school in the country.

Besides making lots of friends, the great thing about meeting students from all over the country is that you tap into a powerhouse of opportunity and ideas. I’ve met upperclassmen that are pumped about service and outreach, as well as students that have recently survived what I’m trying to prepare for. Without fail, these students will have great ideas and experience to share.

You will meet students that seem to be living your same life while in another state. They will have great tips and experience to offer that will enrich your school experience. Whether you’re preparing for boards, or drilling your first preps it will be impossible to come away without great ideas.

One student I met was extremely excited about a bone marrow cheek swab drive she had recently organized to benefit a fellow student. This was interesting, but I didn’t fully comprehend the value in our meeting until several months later, when one of our own classmates was in need of the same help. All it took was one quick message, and we had an enthusiastic and experienced ally joined to our cause.

  1. Discussion of issues affecting dentistry HERE and NOW.

We often hear about municipal water fluoridation debates or health-care reform measures, but as a dental student it’s easy to feel far removed from these issues, which are incredibly important to the future of our profession.

As a component of organized dentistry, a fundamental part of ASDA involvement is discussion of these issues with the end goal of establishing policy.Through this process we are able to fulfill our mission of pursuing resolutions which will be best for our profession and for our country’s oral health in the long term. Annual session is where a lot of this policy making begins. All attendees are invited to bring forward resolutions (essentially a legislative policy proposal) to be discussed and later voted upon. If passed, your resolution will be made official policy of one of the most well represented professional organizations in the country.

In addition to the policy making, annual session also offers a number of breakout sessions that cast light on a lot of today’s hot issues. Personally, I was able to attend one called “The State of Dentistry”, which discussed current economic trends & projections, specifically in the context of the ACA. What I learned was extremely pertinent to my future as a dentist and potential business owner. Such experiences are really what ASDA participation is all about.

  1. Participation in national & district leadership elections.

This process is not just informative, it's simply one of the most fun things you will do at annual session. We are part of a district (District 9) that includes five different chapters (schools). We meet with another district (District 8) for a total of ten chapters present. (This is called a Caucus, but don’t get hung up on the terms right now).

Each school, or chapter, submits questions that will be asked individually to each candidate for the following positions:

National President

Speaker of the House

District Trustee

Our group is known for making this process fun, and a little irreverent! Odd challenges, word association, and serious questions all mesh into a wonderful, chaotic and loud demonstration. Come prepared with intelligent questions, but also your most awkward and embarrassing suggestions, this day will not disappoint!

  1. Education opportunities not available in dental school.

The speakers that come to any national ASDA meeting are top notch. You will have a chance to hear from people like:

Neil Pasricha - New York Times bestselling author

Roger Crawford - Hall of Fame Division I athlete

Maxine Feinberg – President of the ADA

Chris Salierno - Nationally-recognized author and lecturer

Adam Braun - New York Times bestselling author

These presenters take your mind out of dental school and help you view your career with a long-term perspective. The information I gather in these meetings is always something I know will be applied in my future. This long-term perspective helps me feel motivated and energized every time.

  1. AWESOME social events!

ASDA has so much to offer in regards to professional development and education, but rest assured, annual session is not just one long weekend of board meetings.

There are essentially two types of social events that you will enjoy at session, those that are district specific  and those that are organized by national ASDA. Our district trustees did a spectacular job of organizing luxurious dinners and/or open bars for us to enjoy almost every night. These events are a blast not only because they were delicious and elegant (one night we had a seafood buffet and open bar right on the water!), but they offer a more intimate atmosphere. It is thanks to these events that I was able to get to know so many other students from our local district.

The national events are awesome because they are super elaborate and all of the dental schools are represented at them. These events included the Gold Crowns, which honor chapters that did outstanding work over the last year (cough, cough, Colorado), and the Presidents Gala, which is essentially a really, really awesome party and the bittersweet conclusion of session.

The social aspect of session was not something that I expected, but it is definitely one of the most memorable highlights. I guarantee that you will catch ASDA fever after experiencing what we all experienced this year in Boston!

So, how do I get to Annual Session? You ask... Well, there are two ways. You can fund yourself, or you can be sponsored by the chapter.

The Colorado ASDA chapter will choose students to sponsor in a variety of ways. There may be an essay contest, or the attendee may be determined based on their ASDA Diamonds. The Colorado ASDA chapter awards “Diamonds” for participation in local events, each time you attend an activity, you will be awarded more diamonds. You can also earn diamonds when you write for our chapter blog, “The Colorado Quickset” or the new letter, “The CEJ”.

Often, being considered for Annual Session is as simple as showing up to all the ASDAwesome events held by our chapter all semester long. One thing many students will say, is that any way you get to Annual Session, it will be worth it! So do everything you can to be at ASDA’s annual session next year!



The first time I heard about ASDA, I didn’t even realize I was hearing about ASDA. All I knew was that I wanted scrubs with the CU School of Dental Medicine logo on it. Since then, however, ASDA has completely changed my dental school experience for the better.

When ASDA was first introduced to our class, a lot of effort went into explaining what it was, and yet, I still found myself struggling to understand it. When I would ask different members about ASDA, they would all give me different answers. Finally, after about a year, I realize that the reason I was having trouble understanding ASDA is because ASDA is everything. It is so all-encompassing that sometimes it can be hard to explain. It wasn’t that nobody knew what ASDA was, it was just that ASDA was something different to everyone.

Simply put, ASDA is the American Student Dental Association which is the nation's largest student run association whose mission centers around protecting and advancing the rights, interests and welfare of dental students. But what does that mean exactly, and more specifically, what does that mean to you?

Well, to better explain ASDA and make its mission, purpose and benefits more clear to those who are less familiar with it, we have decided to literally spell it out for everyone. The letters "ASDA" stand for the American Student Dental Association. But to us, ASDA also stands for the four pillars of Colorado ASDA: Advocacy, Service, Dentistry and Activities. We have decided to focus on these four categories because everything within ASDA can fit into them (and it also conveniently spells out ASDA). We have tried to restructure the chapter's resources to follow this theme. You may notice that even our blog categories are set up to reflect this new focus, as will our website once we get that fully up and running. Of course ASDA is more than just this, but these four words are where everything starts.

Advocacy. Advocacy is what makes ASDA unique from any of the other dental student organizations out there. Locally, we work with the Metro Denver Dental Society and the Colorado Dental Association to educate our state representatives on current issues facing our profession and topics affecting us as students. Nationally, we represent about 92% of all dental students, so people listen to us when we vote in a new policy and take us seriously as an organization.

Service. Service is why most of us sought a career in dentistry in the first place. Our chapter is always organizing service and community outreach activities. From helping out at COMOM to volunteering at the Fifth Gear Kids events, there is always something that you can get involved in to help out the community around us.

Dentistry. I have had numerous people from my class ask me what ASDA is. Before now, the only way that I could really explain it is "everything dentistry outside of dental school." Even though that answer isn't as complete of an answer as I would have liked to give, it still is true. ASDA is where you learn everything about dentistry that you don't learn in dental school. ASDA teaches you to be a leader in your practice and in your community. ASDA shows you how to manage your finances while you are in dental school and ways to manage your business when you graduate. ASDA helps you to prepare for things that you might not even realize that you want to know yet, like integrating new technology into your practice without overdoing it and what things to look for when searching for an associate position.

Activities. The activities that Colorado ASDA puts on are awesome. If you participated in Thrush Week and the Amalgames (see our Facebook Page for pictures), then you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, then it's not too late. We still have plenty of things coming up in the near future (be on the lookout for "Shimstock," our music and talent competition coming in October).

I got involved in ASDA without even fully understanding what it was because I could see potential-- not only in the chapter, but in myself through the chapter. ASDA was the only student organization, in my mind, that had everything... and best of all, it was free!

Since deciding to get involved, I have had some of the most amazing opportunities of my life. ASDA motivates me to step just far enough outside my comfort zone that I do things I have never done before, but not far enough that I regret my participation. It pushes me to meet people, helps me find mentors and gives me the resources that I need to succeed (and not just on boards).

ASDA is a lot of things to a lot of people and our chapter here at Colorado is expanding to become more than it has ever been before. To me, Colorado ASDA is opportunity. It is fun. It is my creative outlet. It is networking. It is the best experience I have had in dental school and it has become a big part of my life. I believe in everything that this organization stands for and choosing to become involved has been one of the best decision I have ever made. I can’t imagine dental school without ASDA, nor would I ever want to. ASDA is about getting involved and having a voice-- so get involved and say something. You might just be surprised at what can happen because of it.

Tell us what #CoASDAis to you in the comments below or use the tag #CoASDAis to tell us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter by Aug 29th for your chance to win a $10 Target Gift Card!

~Kyle Luis Larsen, Class of 2017, Colorado ASDA President-Elect