ADPAC Week 2011

Our school’s ASDA Chapter recently hosted ADPAC Week, an annual campus event. ASDA leaders shared the below recap for the student blog.

Pacific’s ASDA chapter had another successful ADPAC Week this year. If you didn’t know what ADPAC was at the start of this year, you would almost certainly know now. American Dental Political Action Committee (ADPAC) is the legislative branch of the ADA that supports “dental friendly” legislators. The ASDA leadership has made an extraordinary effort to market ADPAC and to promote political awareness on our campus. “It’s very important for us to have a say in the policies that are shaping our profession. Contributing to ADPAC is one way for students to do this,” commented Ivan Chicchon, ASDA’s Legislative Liaison.

The featured speaker this year was Ricky S. Gill, a 24-year old candidate for U.S. Congress. His exciting campaign has made headlines around the nation and his visit to Pacific drew a capacity crowd–the room was so full that people even sat on the floor! “It is quite possibly the biggest ASDA event in terms of attendance that we have had,” says Kristin Hann, last year’s ASDA historian. Ricky shared his thoughts on healthcare reform and spoke about what inspired him to run for Congress at such a young age. Even though much of the audience had rushed in from clinic or previously sat through Anatomy or Pathology lectures, the discussion was both engaging and motivational. An attending faculty member, Dr. Dick Gregory stated, "As an educator and a dentist in private practice for the past 31 years I was pleased that Mr. Gill took the time and political initiative to visit our dental school. Moreover, I was impressed that he was interested enough in his audience and the health of his future constituents to pursue more accurate information about some of the issues impacting the dental profession."

The officers in charge of planning ADPAC week this year, Ivan Chicchon and Rob Costisevschi, took a novel approach. Rather than trying to appeal to dental student’s sense social responsibility or taking an aggressive salesman-like approach, they tried to make the process fun and exciting. They set up a spin-the-wheel type app on a big LCD screen and also raffled off cool prizes such as Pac-Man stress balls and Marvel Heroes Bobbleheads. Once they caught a student’s attention, they would give them a ‘spin’ or a cookie and then take time to explain to them what ADPAC is and why it is important. “They definitely did a great job of marketing it,” said classmate Gurshawn Sahota. “I mean, who wouldn't want to approach their table with all their gizmos and gadgets?”

Their approach paid off. By the end of their campaign, over 80 students signed up as ADPAC members equaling to roughly 20% of the student body. “I’m really pleased with our turnout this year,” said Costisevschi. “With a little extra effort and a little incentive we were able to get the highest enrollment rate we’ve had in a long time. I feel like we’ve set a high bar that subsequent years can emulate and hopefully surpass.”