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Dental Hygiene Students Lobby at Capitol

    by Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office
    Posted on 2/29/2024

Students in the Iowa Central Dental Hygiene Program recently had the opportunity to visit the Iowa statehouse and lobby for their future profession.

The program’s second-year students gathered at the Capitol with professional hygienists, students from other schools and Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association President Amanda Jay where they attended legislative sessions and spoke with lawmakers about bills impacting the dental profession.

The students visited with State Representative Ann Meyer and Senator Tim Kraayenbrink about Medicaid reimbursement for dental hygiene, school screenings, and representation on the Iowa Dental Board.

“We want to give Iowans on Medicaid better access to dental care because it is not accepted in so many places,” said hygiene student Abby Melohn. “Sometimes those patients have serious dental issues but have to wait weeks or even months to get in to be seen by someone who accepts the insurance.”

The students also lobbied for House File 2574 and Senate File 2385 which relates to state boards and commissions and the delegates who serve on the boards. The Iowa Dental Board consists of nine members appointed by the governor, two of whom are registered dental hygienists.

“There is currently a committee on the Iowa Dental Board with hygienist representatives and we want to make sure they keep that,” said hygiene student Erin Irlmeier. “It gives hygienists a voice in the dental profession and on the state board.”

The final item on the agenda for the student lobbyists was House File 2393, which would allow hygienists to perform dental screenings in schools without needing signed consent from a student’s parents or guardians. Presently, hearing and vision screenings do not require consent and the bill asks that dental screenings to also be exempt from permission.

After a morning of lobbying, the group sat in on a legislative session where they witnessed lawmakers in action.

“It was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes and seeing everyone in action and how legislation works,” said hygiene student Peyton Riley.

They received a tour of the Capitol building from Kraayenbrink where they saw the Iowa State Law Library, climbed the nearly 300 stairs to get a view from above in the Capitol dome and visited the office of Governor Kim Reynolds where they witnessed her signing bills into action.

“It was an interesting learning day,” said Melohn. “It was the first time any of us had lobbied for anything.”



Dental Hygiene Students Lobby at Capitol

I chose Iowa Central because of the amazing opportunities and teachers. When I came to visit, I fell in love with the teachers in my program of study.

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Human Services
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