State Update

Several States Hire New Dental Directors

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2014 has been an active year in oral health as several states have hired new dental directors. Additionally, California is finalizing funding and working through the administrative process of hiring a state dental director.

Arkansas

In May, Lindy Bollen, Jr., D.D.S., became the new Director of the Office of Oral Health within the Arkansas Department of Health. Dr. Bollen earned his D.D.S. from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry (LSUSD). Dr. Bollen was in private practice over 22 years before stepping away from active practice and taking a position at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in 2006. While at UAMS, Dr. Bollen’s responsibilities included giving lectures on oral anatomy, oral medicine and pathology, and pharmacology as well as clinic supervision of dental hygiene students. Additionally, he served as an instructor in radiography, dental materials and local anesthesia labs.

Dr. Bollen comes from a family of dental professionals: his father was a dentist, his uncle was a dentist, another uncle was an orthodontist, his brother is a dentist, his sister is a dental hygienist and his 
son-in-law is a dentist. 

California

Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D-CA) 2014–15 budget calls for ongoing funding of a state dental director. The state oral health program, which is slated to receive $470,000 during the first year, will include assessing oral health needs in the state, developing and managing a state oral health plan and applying for and managing federal and private grants to support oral health.  

The funding for the state dental director and oral health program is in the 2014–15 budget package that the California Legislature must approve by June 15, before going into effect July 1.

Kansas

In March, Cathy Taylor-Osborne, D.D.S., M.A., became the new Director of the Bureau of Oral Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She earned her D.D.S. from the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry (UMKC SOD) and her M.A. in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University. She practiced dental hygiene for 15 years before pursuing her D.D.S.

Dr. Taylor-Osborne previously served as the Dental Director of Cabot Westside Medical and Dental Center, a federally qualified health center in Kansas City, MO. Prior to that, she was in private practice for 10 years. 

Montana

In February, Tonette Hollingsworth, RDH, M.S.D.H., became the Oral Health Program Coordinator for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Although Montana does not have a formal dental director position, Mrs. Hollingsworth serves as the highest-ranking dental professional employed by the state. She earned her B.S.D.H. from the University of Wyoming, and her M.S.D.H., with an emphasis in community and rural oral health, from Idaho State University

Mrs. Hollingsworth worked as a clinical RDH in Montana for 13 years prior to transitioning into public health. In her new role she will administer workforce-related grant activities. Grant activities include oral health surveillance, interprofessional collaborations, placement of University of Washington dental students in rural settings in Montana and recruitment and retention of dental professionals to serve rural communities.

South Carolina
 
In April, Raymond Lala, D.D.S., became the new Director of the Division of Oral Health within the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. In addition, he also serves as a Program Manager in the Dean’s Office at the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Dr. Lala earned his D.D.S. from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry (LSUSD).  

Prior to his retirement in April 2014 from the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. Lala served as the Deputy Director, Division of Health Professions Support in the Indian Health Service Headquarters; as Chief Dental Officer for the National Health Service Corps and as the Director of the Division of Scholar and Clinician Support in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Prior to federal service, Dr. Lala managed a private practice in the New Orleans metropolitan area for 15 years.