PANEL B – Oral Health Disparities

Oral Health Disparities and Initiatives to Eliminate Them


Panel Leader:

Clemencia Vargas DDS, PhD
Associate Professor University of Maryland Dental School Health Promotion and Policy


Panel Coordinator:

Francisco Ramos-Gomez, DDS, MS, MPH – Professor, Section of Pediatric Dentistry, UCLA School of Dentistry



Oral Health Disparities and Initiatives to Eliminate Them 

Disparities in oral health and oral health care across the life-span in the US will be discussed with emphasis on the Latino population.  Successful and promising oral health initiatives to eliminate those disparities will be identified and those pertinent to the Latino community will be highlighted. We will discuss access barriers to dental care from the patient perspective, in urban and rural communities; and will provide an overview of local and state strategies that have provided increased access to oral health care.


1. At the conclusion of this panel, participants will be able to compare and contrast the oral health of Latinos and other socio-demographic groups in the US.

2. To identify barriers to oral health care common to Latinos and other sociodemographic groups.

3. To discuss oral health initiatives that have the potential to eliminate disparities in oral health.

4. To recommend oral health initiatives that could improve Latino’s oral health.


Myron Allukian, Jr., DDS, MPH  American Association for Community Dental Programs
Gina Thornton-Evans, DDS, MPH  Center for Disease Control
Linda Kaste, DDS, MS, PhD UIC College of Dentistry
Rachel Spector, PhD, RN, CTN, FAAN  Boston College – Retired
Oscar Arevalo, DDS, ScD, MBA, MS  University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine
Michael Monopoli, DMD, MPH, MS  DentaQuest Foundation
Chris Halliday, DDS  US Surgeon General Office
Gina Peksa, RDH  Illinois Dental Hygiene Association
David Udoye Anyadike, MD, FAAP  Private Practice
George Zeppenfeldt-Cestero  Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives
Victor Rodriguez, DDS   Private Practice
Irubiel Barbosa, DDS Private Practice
Vidal Balderas, DDS, MPH  UTHSC-San Antonio Dept. of Community Dentistry
Maria Alma Martinez   Dental Student