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Dentist Appointment

Access to oral health services remains one of the greatest unmet health needs for children and low-income adults, causing millions of lost hours of school and work. Gaps in the dental workforce leave many rural, urban and tribal communities without adequate access to care. Geographic isolation, language barriers, and the lack of dentists, familiarity with the special needs of some members of the population, such as the lack of economic stability, adequate insurance, consistent and continuous dentist/patient relationships, health literacy, culturally appropriate care, and trust, can all lead to gross inequities in the oral health care delivery system.

These inequities can result in poor school and work performance and impede employment. They also can diminish overall health contributing to adverse pregnancy outcomes, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even death. Past attempts to address access have lacked an understanding of the above stated issues while others have made small inroads but have lacked resources.

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To support and promote evidence-based, high quality, and cost-effective oral health services, including disease prevention, treatment and care delivery-models, specifically innovative workforce models demonstrated to address disparities of access.

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To unite dentists who support evidence-based practices in the U.S. as a means to advance the goal of comprehensive health equity with a specific interest in oral health equity.

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All persons in the U.S. regardless of age, race, income, gender, geographic isolation, and abilities shall have access to affordable, culturally appropriate, primary care including oral disease prevention and treatment services.

List of Board Members


Leon Assael, DMD
Terry Batliner


Dr. Leon Assael is Professor and founding Dean of the California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine. He is adjunct Professor of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry in community health at University of California San Francisco. Previously he served as Dean of the University of Minnesota from 2012-2017 which has the first US dental school-based dental therapy program.


A graduate of Columbia University, Dr. Assael earned his doctor of dental medicine from Harvard University School of Dental Medicine. He holds a certificate in medical management from the Gatton School of Business, University of Kentucky. He completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Assael serves on many professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the Hispanic Dental Association. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons awarded Dr. Assael and the Board of Trustees a special recognition award in 2010. He is the recipient of the national Gies award for vision from the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and is the past chair of the ADEA Board of Directors.


Over 37 years, Dr. Terry Batliner has worked in many roles - dental entrepreneur, scientific investigator, health care management professor, dental insurance executive, senior level administrator in the VA and Indian Health Service, dental school associate dean and private practice dentist. For more than ten years, he has been an active advocate for the expansion of services to people living in native communities, inner cities and rural areas through the use of dental therapists. 


Dr. Caswell Evans Jr. recently retired from his position as the Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences at the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry. He also served as the Executive Editor and Project Director for Oral Health in America: A Report of the U.S. Surgeon General. Dr. Evans was previously the Director of Public Health Programs and Services for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Prior to that, he was director of the King County Division of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health.


Dr. Evans is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and is currently co-chair of its Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education. He is a past president of the American Public Health Association, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry and the American Board of Dental Public Health. Dr. Evans is President of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and Chairman of the DentaQuest Foundation’s Board. He also serves on the Chicago Board of Health and the board of the Children’s Dental Health Project.


Dr. Todd Hartsfield is a graduate of Loyola Dental School. He served two years as a U.S. Army dentist, including a tour in South Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he started a dental training program for Buddhist monks at the Buddhist Center in Qui Nhon. Dr. Hartsfield’s 48-year career has included private practice in rural Louisiana and Canada, public health dentistry and dental education. He spent 20 years in northern Canada training, supervising and working alongside dental therapists in isolated northern communities. As the Dental Director for the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona for 5 years, he trained Tribal members to develop and implement oral health promotion/disease prevention programs, such as dental sealants, fluoride varnish and xylitol gum, in addition to providing care in IHS/Tribal clinics.


Dr. Hartsfield was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH), Associate Clinical Director at Dental Care West, a private practice model clinic that is part of ASDOH, and full time faculty in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program for 9 ½ years. He currently provides dental care for the underserved and special needs patients 3 days a week at Southeast Community Health Systems, a Federally Qualified Community Health Center in Zachary, LA.


Dr. Lawrence Hill is the executive director of the American Association for Community Dental Programs and currently serves on the Governing Council of the Ohio Public Health Association and the Board of Directors of Universal Health Access Now-Ohio. He served as the dental director for the Cincinnati Health Department and volunteer executive director for a United Way partner dental care nonprofit organization for over 30 years, during which he developed one of the largest community based dental programs in the country.


Dr. Hill served as Chair of the Oral Health Section of the American Public Health Association, a member of the Governing Council of APHA, was president of the Ohio Association of School Based Health Centers and a founding board member of both the National Network for Oral Health Access and the US National Oral Health Alliance. He was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to a three year term on the National Health Service Corps National Advisory Council. He is a recipient of the American Public Health Association John W Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Distinguished Service Award, and the United States Public Health Service Chief Dental Officer’s Exemplary Service Award and numerous other recognitions.


Dr. Hogan completed her dental education at Marquette School of Dentistry in 2002. After graduation she moved closer to her Alaska home roots to settle and fulfill a National Health Service Corp obligation in Bellingham, WA. Dr. Hogan worked for SeaMar, one of the largest non-profit community health clinics in the Pacific Northwest, for over 10 years. During that time her passion for access to care issues introduced her to many new paths including the ADA’s Diversity in Leadership Program, the Steering Committee of the Whatcom County Oral Health Coalition, and Membership Chair for the Mount Baker District Dental Society.


Dr. Hogan has volunteered to screen at Migrant Camps, for the Smile Mobile, for Project Homeless Connect and piloted programs such as Placksmakin’ Preschoolers, a Volunteer Hygiene Program, and a symposium on Prenatal Oral Health. She encourages dental students to consider public health dentistry as a career and has mentored/taken on externs yearly.


For the past 8 years, she considers herself to have found the dream job working for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in La Conner, WA where she has expanded her clinical skills and gained amazing administrative support to address current problems in the field. As Dental Director of the Swinomish Clinic, Dr. Hogan is helping lead the effort to address the oral health crisis in Indian County by supervising the first Alaska-trained dental therapist in the Lower 48 States to provide basic oral health services.  


Dr. Hogan is a strong advocate for well rounded dental teams utilizing dental therapists and expanded function dental assistants as well as recognizing the importance of culturally competent care and diversifying the dental profession.


Dr. Romero was born and raised in the Espanola Valley and is a product of the Espanola School System. He attended New Mexico Highlands University (BS), the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry (DDS), the University of New Mexico (MPH), and the University of California at San Francisco where he completed a Dental Public Health Residency Post Graduate program.


Dr. Romero has had an exciting dental career in dental public health. He began public service with the State of New Mexico as Chief Dental Officer for the NM Department of Corrections, a position that oversaw expansion of prison dental clinics and staff in Grants, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe. Dr. Romero then served as staff dentist at the Las Vegas Medical Center providing dental services for the mentally ill, adolescent and long-term care patient populations. Dr. Romero previously served as State Dental Director with the NM Department of Health, managing the Office of Dental Health Under his watch, the first statewide oral health survey was conducted to assess the oral health status of New Mexico’s Children.


Dr. Karl Self joined the faculty of the University Of Minnesota School Of Dentistry in 2006 and in January of 2010, he was selected to be the director of the newly created Division of Dental Therapy. In addition to managing all aspects of the implementation of this program, he is engaged in teaching dental, dental therapy, and dental hygiene students. His current research efforts are focused on the implementation of dental therapy in Minnesota. His general research interests include team-based care, access to care, and global health.


Dr. Self earned his DDS degree from the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry, and a MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He has been engaged in a variety of dental practice types including private practice and large group practice, yet he has spent most of his professional life in a community clinic. Dr. Self also served as a consultant for the Department of Human Services’ Medical Assistance program, director of Diversity and Inclusivity for the School of Nursing, and executive director of a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center in Minneapolis. Dr. Self serves on the board of a number of non-profit dental focused organizations and has been involved in improving oral healthcare in Africa.

Caswell Evans, Jr.,DDS, MPH
Todd Hartsfield, DDS
Lawrence Hill, DDS, MPH
Rachael Hogan, DDS
Ronald Romero, DDS, MPH
Robert Russell, DDS, MPH, MPA, CPM
Karl Self
Mary Willard
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