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ASDA and CDA Leaders Discuss Breaking Barriers to Dental Care

October 18, 2012

By Tiffany Hsu, DDS Candidate, 2015

As the Blue Angels roared over the San Francisco skies, dental student leaders from the American Dental Student Association (ASDA) and California Dental Association (CDA) convened at the annual ASDA District 11 meeting to hear presentations, engage in breakout sessions, and learn about the current state of access to dental care in California. The District 11 meeting was held at the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry during the weekend of Oct. 5-7.

ASDA’s District 11 is comprised of California’s six dental schools: Loma Linda, USC, UCLA, UCSF, UOP, and Western. Among the nearly 100 students in attendance, UCSF made a strong presence, bringing 20 ASDA and 7 CDA representatives.

Highlights of the meeting included an impressive list of guest speakers, engaging discussion on bill SB 694 (State Senator Alex Padilla, D-CA), and a vendor fair with exciting raffle giveaways.

As District 11’s first joint ASDA/CDA meeting, there could have been no better time to discuss Senator Padilla’s dental care bill, SB 694, strongly advocated by the CDA. Daniel Davidson, DMD, President of CDA stated in his presentation that barriers to dental care are complex and multifaceted. An estimated 11 million Californians lack dental insurance, and over 200 dental shortage areas have been identified. SB 694 endeavors to improve access to dental care for children with two components: the creation of an Office of Oral Health/ Dental Director and a workforce study of training registered dental hygienists and advanced registered dental assistants to perform seven procedures outlined in the bill, such as drilling on teeth for fillings, extracting primary teeth, placing stainless steel crowns, and performing therapeutic pulpotomy. With ASDA listed on the bill’s Oppose list, attendees of the meeting sought to clarify the specific parameters and implications of the study. In August, the bill failed passage in the State Senate because of fiscal concerns. However, according to President Davidson, Sen. Padilla plans to resurrect the bill in the future.

ASDA is a national student-run organization that protects and advances the rights, interests, and welfare of dental students. ASDA represents 88% of the dental students in California and over 75% of dental students in the country. For more information, visit


UCSF Dentistry representation at ASDA District 11 meeting