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Student Receives AADR Advocacy Fellowship

Written by Adam Zewe

Instead of soaking up rays on a public beach, Sarah Uehara, DDS '16, will spend her summer vacation crafting public policy. She has been selected by the American Association of Dental Research (AADR) to serve as the 2013-2014 Gert Quigley Public Policy Fellow.

As a voting member of the AADR Government Affairs Committee, Uehara will work alongside AADR officials to track legislative activity that affects dental research. This summer, she will take on the role of a public policy aide at the AADR national headquarters in Alexandria, Va. After her summer writing and lobbying projects are complete, Uehara will continue to attend meetings, conduct public relations and lead grassroots advocacy campaigns. "I'm really interested in the political process. I'm looking forward to seeing how much of an impact grassroots advocacy can have," she states.

During AADR Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. at the end of April, Uehara had her first chance to lobby for dental research funding. She met with Congressional representatives and aides from her home state, Hawaii, and discussed how increased funding for dental research could lead to improved patient care.

Uehara first took an interest in politics while she was an undergraduate student. She attended UMSOD Advocacy Day in Annapolis and enjoyed watching the political process from behind-the-scenes. Now, she is hoping to make an impact on a national level. "There is so much at stake right now in terms of funding and government support for dental research. It is important that people realize that dentistry is not in a bubble that is impervious to everything that happens in Washington," remarks Uehara.

She looks forward to learning more about politics and the importance of dental research. In the future, Uehara plans to enroll in a public health residency program at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). While she hasn't officially settled on a career in politics, she knows this experience will help her develop valuable skills.

A native of Maui, Hawaii, Uehara began learning about dentistry almost as soon as she could walk - both her parents are general dentists. She attended Princeton University and then earned a master's degree in Health Management Systems at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. She is excited to learn more about the dental profession and begin treating patients. "I enjoy dentistry because there is a lot of artistry involved in the profession. There is also a high level of patient interaction, and that appeals to me," says Uehara.

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