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New York University Dentistry Center to Focus on Advancing Oral Health Policy

New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) has established a think tank designed to cultivate new leaders in dentistry, foster dialogue, and use research to develop oral health policy and management recommendations.

Michael P. O’Connor, EdD, MPA, executive vice dean at NYU Dentistry and founding co-director of the cente

New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) has established a think tank designed to cultivate new leaders in dentistry, foster dialogue, and use research to develop oral health policy and management recommendations. The creation of NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management aligns with the university’s mission to develop the next generation of leaders for the dental and related healthcare professions.

The NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management aims to prepare students for the complexities of dental and general healthcare systems through academic offerings on oral health policy and leadership. “The center will strive to develop adaptive leaders who are prepared to perform in uncertain environments in the future, using a differentiating character-based model of leadership — one that develops leadership habits and attitudes that aim for human flourishing in organizations, communities and society,” notes Michael P. O’Connor, EdD, MPA, founding codirector of the center and executive vice dean at NYU Dentistry. 

Richard Valachovic, DMD, MPH, visiting scholar at NYU Dentistry and president emeritus of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), who has been named founding director of the center

Working toward its overall goal to develop and promote a national agenda for oral health policy and management that recognizes the relationship between oral health and overall health, the center will leverage NYU Dentistry’s existing resources and engage with university, local, national and international partners to create synergies related to oral health policy and management. Seminars will be held to help stimulate public and media discussion about key issues related to oral health policy. 

“While tremendous strides have been made in improving the oral health status of Americans through scientific breakthroughs, many are left without access to basic dental care,” says Charles N. Bertolami, DDS, DMedSc, the Herman Robert Fox Dean of NYU Dentistry. “Dental  benefits remain separated from other healthcare coverage and out of reach for many individuals and families.”

With core activities focused on leading research on issues related to oral health policy, the center will use NYU Dentistry’s clinical information system to create an abundant database. The development of the Health Services Research Database from NYU Dentistry’s large and diverse patient population will provide a resource for research related to social determinants of health, treatment outcomes, and general health and dental diagnoses. Evidence from projects generated by the center is expected to inform local and national efforts to develop policy recommendations to improve access to care. 

The NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management is one of several initiatives launched by the university that corresponds with the college’s commitment to improving access to care, and critical issues associated with oral health policy and management. These existing initiatives include the NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities, the NYU Dentistry Veterans Oral Health Initiative, and the collaboration with the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-Based Dentistry which is housed in NYU Dentistry’s Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion.

NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management will be led by O’Connor and Richard Valachovic, DMD, MPH, founding director for the NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management, a visiting scholar at NYU Dentistry and president emeritus of the American Dental Education Association.  

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