With ASDA’s Wellness Month coming to a close, a quick spotlight on Tuft’s ASDA Chapter Wellness events reminds us all that wellness plays a role in our everyday lives. National ASDA strongly encourages students to put their health and well-being as a top priority, including physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, and environmental wellness dimensions. As dental students, we have exams to pass, patients to treat, research to do, all while remembering that taking care of ourselves is the only way we will get through it all. Whether it is meal prepping, meditating, going for runs, or creating art, this article features the many events that Tufts ASDA has put on in the past year to provide students the opportunity to come together, living healthier and happier lives.
Study with a View
During Finals Week, stress levels tend to increase and outside distractions do not help put one’s mind at ease. Therefore, students attended Study with a View, a week-long event where after class students were allowed to study in rooms with scenic views overlooking the city of Boston as the sun was setting. With fruit infused water and healthy snacks provided as well, students entered a stress-free environment and found that they were more productive studying.
Healthy Recipe Swap
Without a lot of free time during the week and short lunch breaks, many students had mentioned their struggle in having time to (or knowing how to) make quick and easy recipes that were healthy. One night, a group of students got together to share their recipes and dishes with one another. Now those students have some new recipes to add to their cookbooks back home and motivation from each other that eating healthy really can be easy, even as a busy dental student! Pro tip: meal prep on Sundays! Some of those recipes are shown in the picture below!
Color Run and UNE Miles for Smiles
While some students were studying for boards or seeing patients this summer, they also knew that sometimes they needed to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather! A number of students participated in many of the races occurring throughout the New England area. To start off the summer, a group of students attended the Color Run, the Happiest Race on Earth! By the end of the 3-mile race, students were covered with all different colors and smiles across their faces. To end the summer and welcome fall, a group of Tufts students went north to visit their friends at UNE’s dental school for their 3rd annual Miles for Smiles 5K. Not only was Maine a beautiful place to run, but all the proceeds for the event went to the Root Cellar Dental Clinic (serving those who cannot afford dental care in Portland, Maine).
As a joint event with some BU ASDA friends, at the beginning of the school year students participated in Wanderlust, a mindful triathlon. The first leg of the triathlon was a run on the beautiful and very runner-friendly Charles River Esplanade. Then the second leg of the triathlon was an upbeat and rejuvenating yoga flow led by a local yoga instructor. The final leg of the triathlon was a meditation to unite together and fill each other up with love, happiness, and hope. After this, the students also participated in workshops such as AcroYoga and aromatherapy.
In the past year, two events have been held at this local studio that Tufts ASDA absolutely loves! Turnstyle is just down the street from the school and offers classes before and after school and clinic times, so there is almost always a student or two there spinning away in a class. The private rides are great to bring together friends that are experienced and first-time riders, all wanting a way to get the endorphins flowing and sweat it all out!
Weekly Yoga and Meditation
At Tufts, we are very lucky to have an endodontist who also is a certified yoga instructor. Every week she holds yoga and meditations classes that are open to the entire school. During ASDA Wellness Month, to promote physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions of wellness, students were motivated to attend these sessions as well as a yoga flow in the Boston Public Gardens all for a chance to win some yoga inspired prizes!
Dentistry is considered an art in many ways and an event to just unwind and color brought this out in many of students. This event was held at the beginning of the September ASDA Wellness Month to reiterate that wellness is not just physical. By allowing students to revert back to their childish ways and explore coloring pages, the creativity was contagious!
Starting Mondays Right
Every Monday during ASDA Wellness Month, a basket of fruit from the local HayMarket was placed out for students to enjoy and start their weeks off right! This is a new trend starting at Tufts that we hope will continue throughout the year, motivating students to start off each week with a fresh new outlook and a nutritious breakfast!
ASDA Advocacy - National Lobby Day and Beacon Hill Lobby Day - Tuft’s ASDA Legislative Liaisons Devon Ptak, Mohil Parakhiya, and Mythilee Kugathasan
ASDA launches grassroot initiatives to support dental students and the profession and works to establish a legacy of action-oriented advocacy on behalf of their members' patients and the practice of dentistry. This includes lobbying at the state and national level on behalf of the dental profession.
This year as Tufts’ ASDA Legislative liaisons, we attended two main lobbying events. The first event was Lobby Day in Washington DC, where nearly 1,000 dental students participated alongside ADA dentists to lobby for national issues in dentistry. This was the largest event in ASDA history. The second event was Beacon Hill Lobby Day, an event specific to lobbying on issues affecting Massachusetts dentistry. Over 250 Massachusetts dentists and dental students attended this event to lobby for the dental profession.
At both of these events, we were able to sit down with senators, state representatives, or their chiefs-of-staff to explain which bills we would like to see passed and how these bills would personally impact each of us. We were able to use our voice to link our peers at TUSDM to both organized dental associations and national government representatives. Summaries of some of the most important bills we discussed are listed below:
Examples of Bills discussed at Washington DC Lobby Day:
H.R. 372 Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017
H.R. 1614 Student Loan Programs under the Higher Education Act
● Lower the interest rates on federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans as well as the total amount of interest that can add onto on federal graduate student loans.
● Reinstate eligibility for graduate and professional degree students to use federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans to finance their graduate education.
● Permit federal graduate student loans to be refinanced more than once to take advantage of lower interest rates and better economic conditions.
Examples of Bills discussed at Beacon Hill Lobby Day:
H. 2197 An Act Relative to Dental Service Corporations
Overall, as legislative liaisons, we were able to both learn more about advocacy and educate our ASDA chapter on current legislative issues. It showed us the impact of what advocacy and lobbying can have on our future as dentists, and we plan to utilize what we have learned for years to come.
Visit ASDA’s Engage website or contact one of your legislative liaisons right at your own chapter to find out more about the issues affecting dentistry today or how to get involved!
Tuft’s ASDA Legislative Liaisons
Devon Ptak, Mohil Parakhiya, and Mythilee Kugathasan
Name: Rob Morrin
Class year: 2020
Hometown: Berlin, CT
What was the last book you read? The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are
Divided by Religion and Politics by Jonathon Haidt. When school isn’t in session,
there’s nothing I would rather be doing than reading. I have dozens of books lined up for
when I’ve finally paid off my loans and have time to read.
Where do you think you'd like to have a practice (if that's what you want)? If
I were to stay in Connecticut, I would want to live and practice in Litchfield County. If I
ever leave, I would love to practice in Vermont.
What's your favorite food? Salmon. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life
and never tire of it.
What's your favorite ASDA event you've attended? Seeing as I just got involved
recently and have not had any leadership events, I would have to say that our lunch and
learns have been my favorite events. I particularly enjoyed the informative session on
refinancing student loans. Looking forward to experiencing more events! <---this was filled out in early 2017, but Rob has since attended other ASDA events, such as the ASDA Summer Social!
What's your favorite word? This is a tough question. I don’t really have a favorite
word, but I have a least favorite word; complacency.