On May 4th, 2012, two members of UConn’s first year dental class attended the annual Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) Delegates’ Meeting at Mohegan Sun Casino. The CSDA Delegates meeting invites elected board members and delegates to review the progress of the organization in the past year, to elect and appoint new members, and to indulge debate regarding resolutions pertaining to CSDA charter amendments, future activities, and the allocation of finances.
Two first year dental students, Eric Smith and Renee Rubenstein, volunteered to attend and participate in this meeting. The day consisted of a morning which reviewed the year’s activities of the CSDA, an introduction of newly elected members, a farewell to the past year’s board members, and an introduction of resolutions to be debated. At noon, the delegates spilt up into two conferences where various resolutions were discussed and debated. Examples of the debated resolutions include a resolution to encourage dentists to offer their patients buccal swabs for matching with patients in need of bone marrow transplants, as well as a resolution erasing the requirement for each CSDA sub-committee to be composed of board members representing each and every district in Connecticut.
Perhaps the most emotionally-charged part of the day came when debate for a resolution to donate $15,000 from the CSDA’s reserve funds to the Connecticut Mission of Mercy program took the floor. Eric gave a speech describing the impact of CTMOM on the students, and how, in an age of budget cuts by all levels of government, it is important to send a message of hope to students that organizations like the CSDA are always willing to increase financial support to effective programs that provide services to the underserved. The resolution successfully passed.
Before the meeting was adjourned, an awards ceremony was held recognizing the contributions made by the CSDA’s more outstanding members this past year. All in all, Eric and Renee agree that it was an eye-opening day that showed how organized dentistry functions effectively on a state-level to advocate for the interests of all dentists.