In 1986, when Mark Donald was a sophomore in dental school, the Mississippi legislature was considering a proposal to close the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry. Unwilling to uproot his family to continue his dental education in a neighboring state, Donald did the only thing he knew to do: he took a week off from school, donned his white coat, and walked the halls of the capitol building, talking to any legislators he could find.
For many reasons, and as the result of combined efforts from many individuals and organizations, the bill that threatened the dental school died, and Mark Donald continued not only his dental studies, he continued to dabble in political advocacy and organized dentistry. During his senior year in dental school, he was appointed as the first senior dental student to serve on the Mississippi Dental Association Board of Directors.
Fast forward to 28 years later, and Dr. Mark Donald has been in private practice in his hometown of Louisville since 1989, is president of the Academy of General Dentistry, past president of the Mississippi Dental Association (MDA), serves as an American Dental Association delegate from Mississippi and has made at least one trip to Washington, DC, every year for the past 18 to lobby Congress on dental and oral health issues.