Cross Currents: Integration of Oral Health and Primary Care

Friday, August 17th
8:30am – 10:00am

State policymakers know that oral health is critical to overall health. This session highlights state strategies  to integrate oral health and primary care, especially for vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, children, and adults with chronic conditions. Officials from two states discuss state legislation, Medicaid waivers, and dental practice acts to foster innovative integration efforts. A national expert describes a new model for inter-professional health education and team-based practices that bring nurse practitioners and dental providers together to deliver care.


Bob Russell, Public Health Dental Director, Iowa Department of Public Health

Bob Russell

Dr. Russell serves as Public Health Dental Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. He started his dental career working in a rural health center with focus on migrant farm workers and previously served as the Dental Director of Hackley Community Care Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center located on the western shores of Michigan.

Dr. Russell attended Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Dentistry and has completed a Masters of Public Health (MPH) program in Health Care Policy and Management at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health in 2002. He’s earned a Certificate in Public Management from Drake University in 2017 and currently a graduate student in Drake’s Masters in Public Administration program. He has been inducted into the American College of Dentists in 2017.



Maria Dolce, Associate Professor, State University of New York - Stony Brook University

Dr. Maria Dolce is Associate Professor at Stony Brook University School of Nursing. She is a nationally and internationally recognized nursing expert on integrating oral health into interprofessional education and collaborative practice models. Her research is focused on improving oral health care as an essential component of comprehensive health care, particularly for vulnerable and underserved populations. Dr. Dolce is the Principal Investigator of the Nurse Practitioner & Dentist Model for Primary Care at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.


Mary Fliss, Deputy, Clinical Strategy and Operations, Washington State Health Care Authority

Mary Fliss serves as the Deputy for Clinical Strategy and Operations for the Division of Clinical Quality and Care Transformation (CQCT) at the Washington State Health Care Authority. The CQCT Division has the purpose of designing and implementing clinical policy; conducting oversight and monitoring of HCA clinically related programs; and communicating with stakeholders on clinical activities and issues. Mary develops clinical strategy, systems and infrastructure in support of Washington’s Medicaid and School and Public Employee benefits programs.


Alani Jackson, Chief of the Medi-Cal Dental Services Division, Department of Health Care Services (DHCS)

Alani Jackson

Alani Jackson is the Chief of the Medi-Cal Dental Services Division within the California Department of Health Care Services. She has full management responsibility for administering the Medi-Cal Dental Services Program (Fee-For-Service and Dental Managed Care), which provides dental services to nearly 14 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries including oversight of contracted vendors who manage claims processing and beneficiary and provider services management and support. Ms. Jackson has a Master’s in Public Administration and two Bachelor’s in Community & Regional Development and Political Science.