Dental students help shape future of profession

Dental students from across the state had their voices heard at the CDA House of Delegates meeting in Sacramento.

The student delegation at this year’s meeting on Nov. 15-17 included 32 dental students from the six dental schools in California. The voting delegation had a say in the issues discussed at the meeting and were able to use the event as an opportunity to network.

“I had the chance to meet dentists from all over California, everywhere from San Francisco to dentists down in La Jolla,” said Nicholas Bumacod, a second-year student at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Dental Medicine. “It’s been great for networking for me to get to know more dentists, to improve my networking skills as well as just making friendships that I feel are lifelong.” 

Erica Becker, a third-year dental student at Loma Linda University, said the networking at CDA House of Delegates will help her as her career begins.

“It’s a great way to interact with dentists that are practicing, getting to meet specialists and learn about how they run their practices, kind of get an idea of how maybe I want to run my practice as a future dentist,” Becker said.

The student delegation has been active in the discussions on various issues over the years. In the area of licensure reform in the late 90s, for example, the students supported ADA and CDA policy changes calling for elimination of the live-patient clinical licensure exam. Students hosted licensure forums at CDA Presents in Anaheim and San Francisco in 2007, bringing together leaders from the Dental Board, CDA and selected dental school deans to discuss the future of licensure.

The advocacy paid off in September 2010 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation to create the nation’s first dental school-based portfolio examination process.

Bumacod said the House of Delegates meetings are something unique to dentistry.

“It shows that dentists really take charge of the profession … not many professions, careers, vocations out there, does it exist where the people in the profession get to shape the landscape of the future and the present, and I think that is a powerful thing that dentists here have,” Bumacod said.

See new dentist testimonials from the House of Delegates below.