America’s Heroes Group supports Dental Care

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AMERICA’S HEROES GROUP radio talk show host Cliff Kelly is an avid supporter of HR Bill 96, a bill to provide increased dental care for veterans, Armed Forces and their family members. He recently had two dentists on the show to talk about a bill in Congress to do just that. Pictured l-r: Dr. Mark Weiman, DDS; talk show host Cliff Kelley and Dr. Larry Zager DDS, who is an oral surgeon.

The America’s Heroes Group radio talk show host Cliff Kelley, show panelists and the listening audience got a lesson in history on the recent show from call-in guest U.S. Army Veteran Dr. Conrad Worrill.

Worrill is the Professor Emeritus, Carruthers Center For Inner City Studies and a passionate historian. He wanted to set the record straight about the origin of Black History Month.

According to Worrill, Dr. Carter G. Woodson was in Chicago in 1915 and he lived at the Wabash YMCA, which had been in existence for two years. So, Dr. Woodson had recently earned his PhD from Harvard in 1912 when he came to Chicago to participate in a series of conferences at the University of Chicago. One of the conferences was on history.

The people who were running the conference Robert Park and others, who were professors at the University of Chicago told him that Black people didn’t have any history, you have folklore.  This incensed Dr. Woodson who joined with like-minded people also staying at the Wabash YMCA to form an organization to preserve Black History.

They were interested in studying the history and contributions of not only Black people in this country, but in the world. The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History was formed in the cafeteria of the Wabash YMCA in 1915. Then the following year Woodson moved to Washington D.C. to establish a national headquarters for the association. Approximately 10 years later in 1926 as a programmatic action of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History they launched what is called Negro History Week.

Worrill added, “Negro History Week as a programmatic idea did not come out of the Wabash YMCA, but the Association for the Study of the Negro Life and History was established by Woodson and others at the Wabash YMCA. What we now know as the African American History Month that started with Negro History week in 1926 was a tactical maneuver by Woodson to encourage our people to study our history 365 days a year.”

Woodson always knew that in doing this we would be “studying our history and the great contributions of African people in the world throughout the year,” said Worrill.

Dental care and passage of Veterans Dental Bill

Dr. Mark Weiman, DDS is a U.S. Military Academy graduate as well as a West Point graduate with a degree in general engineering, who has been on the America’s Heroes Group radio talk show before. Weiman invited Dr. Larry Zager, DDS to join him and radio personality and America’s Heroes Group talk show host Cliff Kelley to discuss the correlation between dental and medical health.

Weiman who eventually became a dentist as evident by his credentials and license introduced Zager. Zager, also a dentist, recently taught a continuing education course for medical professionals that Weiman attended. The two men said it was an eye-opening experience with respect to the opioid crisis we currently have in this country.

Zager expounded on drug overdosing. “The drug overdose of young teenagers, middle Americans and even the elderly has become a tremendous problem and major difficulty for me as a dentist,” said Zager

As a dentist he can cause a drug relapse by performing a procedure on a patient that may be in rehab for cocaine or heroin. Although procedures may be difficult or very painful, as a dentist he is challenged in what he prescribes to manage the pain.

The biggest problems dentists are having is that sometimes dentistry will prescribe narcotics, but we are now trying to use other forms of medication to control painful responses. Dentists are prescribing stronger medications for a day or two and then changing it to something else. The American Dental Association is trying very hard to limit the use or to restrict in a lot of cases the use of narcotics.

Zager is on a mission. He is trying to make the public aware that dentists are using different medications because of the opioid epidemic.

At the CPR course he suggested medical professionals restrict the use of some medications. It has been suggested that they use Motrin, Advil or Aleve in combination with acetaminophen or Tylenol. But we have to remember that when we use Tylenol in one 24-hour period it has to be limited to under 3,000 mg or risk causing liver damage.

When dentists prescribe Motrin, Advil or Aleve on a person that has ulcers or high blood pressure, the patient may not be able to use this because it may cause another bleeding ulcer or raise a person’s blood pressure over a short time.

Dentists have to monitor and be mindful of side effects of other drugs as well.

But one of the drugs that was a favorite that has been brought back for use is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called Toradol. This drug can be safely used for five days which is stronger than Motrin, Advil or Aleve for those procedures that may require something stronger without using a narcotic.

Kelley, along with others, have been watching very carefully the progress of a bill to support increased dental care for veterans. Weiman provided an update on HR 4556, which was a bill in Congress to provide more dental coverage for veterans. The bill was not signed by the president before Congress ends.

Weiman said, “I guess the rules are that when Congress ends, the bill ends and you have to start all over again.” A new bill is making its way through Congress called HR 96, which has 36 people to sign on to the bill, compared to 29 for HR 4556 “in a matter of a couple of weeks,” said Weiman. One of the things Weiman believes has deterred some of the congressional leaders is that the people are afraid of the cost.

However, a message being circulated in Congress is that if we can give the veterans a little more dental care in the VA system, we will fundamentally be saving a lot more money in decreased costs associated with other illnesses.

Weiman is convinced that the great majority of the people would support the bill if they were aware of the bill.

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