The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has formally announced its search for a state dental director, posting the job description on its website. The recruitment for a state dental director comes more than 15 years after the post went unfilled due to a lack of funding and focus, and is a major achievement for the state’s oral health program and access to care planning goals.
According to the CDPH, the dental director will direct and manage the oral health program in the CDPH and provide leadership in establishing and implementing innovative strategies and policies that address oral health conditions. Additionally, the dental director will work closely with the Department of Health Care Services’ Medicaid dental program to support the state’s oral health improvement goals. An interested candidate must be a California-licensed dentist with public health credentials and experience with a broad range of public oral health programs.
CDA made the establishment of a state dental director a top-priority advocacy effort due to its central role in the association’s access to care plan, Phased Strategies for Reducing the Barriers to Dental Care in California. The report was developed in 2011 as a comprehensive strategic approach to reducing barriers to oral health care for vulnerable Californians.
In the governor's outline, which is modeled after CDA's proposal, the dental director will "create a high-level point of contact within the administration on dental health issues" and be specifically charged with developing a burden of disease report, leading the collaborative process to create a state oral health plan and managing ongoing implementation of that plan. The dental director’s role will also include establishing prevention and oral health literacy projects and working to secure funding for prevention-focused oral health and essential disease prevention services, particularly for children.
CDA is committed to working with the state as the recruitment and hiring process begins for a dental director and epidemiologist. CDA will keep members informed on the hiring process in the eNewsletter, Update and on cda.org.