AGD President to Testify Before Congress on Oral Health Literacy

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Oct 19, 2021
On October 20, AGD's President, Dr. Bruce Cassis, DDS, MAGD, will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health in support of the Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act (H.R.4555). The hearing entitled "Enhancing Public Health: Legislation to Protect Children And Families" will begin at 10:30 am EDT and may be viewed here.

The AGD-led effort to improve oral health literacy and awareness moved closer to reality earlier this year with the introduction of H.R.4555 by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). H.R.4555 amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase oral health literacy and awareness in specific at-risk populations through a multi-year public health education campaign. Through the campaign, HRSA will develop and implement evidence-based oral health literacy strategies that will be measured based on effectiveness and outcomes.

The legislation has broad support from the dental community. The next step for the bill's advancement following the hearing would be consideration of the legislation by a vote during a committee markup session. Once the Committee has approved the bill, it will be eligible for a vote by the full House of Representatives.

Impact on General Dentistry: AGD is extremely pleased that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on the legislation and providing AGD with an opportunity to testify on the subject of oral health literacy. Oral health literacy is one of AGD's key issues and was a priority during AGD's 2021 Virtual Hill Day event. AGD believes the enactment of H.R.4555 will positively contribute to more individuals seeking and obtaining regular dental care.