ASDA Annual Session. Home of the Gold Crown Awards and President’s Gala. Petri dish of isolated and cultured ASDA fever (and maybe laryngitis). Annual session is where you gather with 650 of your closest friends and fellow ASDA leaders in a hotel to share ideas, stories, and to elect the Board of Trustees. This year, our very own seahorse farmer gone chapter president, Christian Piers, ran for, and was elected president of national ASDA.
So you may be thinking…. okay cool, being president is AWESOME, but what exactly does that mean?
Long story short, being ASDA President means it is your goal to fight for the issues presented by a body of 22,000 dental students. To put this in perspective, that represents about 95% of ALL dental students across our country. The president serves as the head of the board of trustees (which now also contains Colorado's Kyle Larsen), a group representing leaders from each geographic district voting on issues plaguing dental students, such as student debt and licensure. ASDA serves as the little brother of the American Dental Association (ADA), and the president works hand in hand with the ADA to better the future of our profession.
Running for president requires all the things you might expect; a candidate should have a strong CV, a platform for the issues they plan to address, a great speech, stunning good looks and a charming personality. It also requires many things you might not expect. As I mentioned earlier, ASDA is divided into geographic groups called districts. Districts are joined together to form a caucus. Candidates go on a parade through each caucus where they are asked questions ranging from explaining ASDA policy to showing a demonstration of their twerking ability. ASDA really brings out your true colors. Each caucus has its own personality. Some are very serious where candidates are interrogated. Others more fun, where candidates can expect to perform their greatest dance moves. This gives each candidate an opportunity to demonstrate their potential beyond their skills on paper and public speaking ability. After all, who wants a president that can’t dance? Meanwhile, candidates spend every spare minute (and time dedicated to sleeping) on meeting as many new people as they can.
Supporters of Christian might say that this sounds like something Christian would excel at. Well friends, he dominated. The following day, each dental school had an opportunity to cast votes for their top 3 choices to make up the executive committee (EC) that consists of 2 vice presidents and 1 president. Our ballots were cast and eventually we learned that Christian was in the top 3 and would be serving on the EC. Each candidate was then given the opportunity to answer just a few more questions by who is now the immediate past president so that each school could vote on their top individual. Christian Piers was announced as the new president of ASDA, where he was promptly pinned and photographed.
My personal role in campaigning was to ensure safe transportation home from the various district events. Needless to say, navigation on foot in an unknown city is not in my skill set. Fortunately our fearless leader Christian recognizes that a cobblestone onramp is in fact a road for vehicles and not a sidewalk, adding 'sense of direction' to the list of talents our favorite seahorse farmer possesses.
So what can we expect from Christian Piers? His primary issues to tackle are licensure reform, student debt, and midlevel providers. ASDA has been pushing to eliminate live patient exams for a while now and Christian hopes to fight to reform licensure, so that our ability to practice dentistry does not depend on using our patients in an unethical exam. Additionally he hopes to work on student loan reform to not only lower interest rates, but also expand our options to repay our astronomical debts. Finally he hopes to address the issue of midlevel providers, something that could influence how we practice dentistry and undermine our education and knowledge as dentists. For more information on these topics, see the link at the end of this post.
We are so fortunate that Christian Piers will not only be advocating for us future as dentists, but also that he will continue spreading ASDA fever through our local chapter. If you see him around, give him a handshake, a high five, or a hug. Warning: any physical contact with Christian might cause ASDA fever and there are no known preventative vaccinations or treatments.
Congratulations Christian Piers, the world is your seahorse
If you’d like to learn more about Christian’s platform, and information on each subject he plans to address, please visit: http://www.asdanet.org/uploadedfiles/Events/elections/2015/Christian%20Piers%20EC%20Platform%202015.pdf.