2023 DQA Conference

Moving Past Disruption to Improve Oral Healthcare April 27-28, 2023

Dental Quality Alliance 2023 Promotional Image

This conference focused on moving past the disruption of the past few years and highlighting innovative leadership and concrete strategies being deployed in the oral healthcare system. The conference covered various elements that comprise a quality improvement system – leadership, staff training, coding systems, evidence-based dentistry, medical-dental integration – and how they address value, cost and quality in the delivery of oral healthcare and impact patient outcomes. 

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All Presentations


Mike Adelberg

Mike joined NADP in November 2022 as Executive Director. He comes to NADP after leading Faegre Drinker Consulting’s healthcare provider and plans practice in Washington, DC, where his practice was largely focused on insurance benefits, including dental benefits. Before joining Faegre Drinker Consulting, Mike held several senior positions within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Adelberg was responsible for establishing the Affordable Care Act policy for pediatric dental coverage and stand-alone dental plans. Before that, he oversaw Medicare Advantage plan contracting and market conduct, including supplemental dental benefits. Mike holds a master’s degrees in Public Policy and Administration from Northern Illinois University, and History from Rutgers University. He’s authored or co-authored studies in leading journals such as Health Affairs, the American Journal of Managed Care, and Health Services Research, led or co-led four foundation projects, and has been quoted in leading media including the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR.org.

Steven J. Anderson

For over three decades, Steven J. Anderson has worked with thousands of practices all over the world to create a Culture of Success that has its foundation in providing and measuring quality care. He is Founder of the Total Patient Service Institute, Crown Council, and the Smiles for Life Foundation that has raised $50 million dollars for dental and children’s charitable projects around the world. He has been named “Dental Businessman of the Year” by Excellence in Dentistry.

He is also the author of numerous books including: The Culture of Success – 10 Natural Laws for Creating the Place Where Everyone Wants to Work.

Mary Lee Conicella, DMD, FAGD

Mary Lee Conicella is Aetna’s Chief Dental Officer and oversees dental clinical initiatives and policies, with a focus on driving member engagement and improving health outcomes. She was instrumental in creating Aetna's Dental-Medical Integration program and several strategies to reduce dental opioid prescribing. These initiatives received global recognition in the groundbreaking NIH report: “Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges.” She is also a member of the Veterans Affairs NV-HAP Prevention Workgroup, and the National Council for Behavioral Health Expert Panel that created the toolkit for increased coordination of Oral Health and Behavioral Health treatment.

Dr. Conicella received her DMD from Temple University and is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. She serves on the National Dental Association’s Corporate Round Table and recently received the NDA President’s Award for her contributions to the mission of the NDA and the profession of Dentistry. “The Aetna-NDA Partnership for Achieving Racial and Ethnic Health Equity,” published in the American Journal of Public Health, describes their collaboration to develop and support inter-professional programs that improve health for vulnerable populations. She holds a life membership in the American Dental Association.

Vineet Dhar BDS, MDS, PhD

Prof. Dhar is a board-certified pediatric dentist serving as the department chair of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry and graduate program director of Pediatric Dentistry at University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He serves on the Science Committee of IAPD, and on the Council on Scientific Affairs and Editorial Board of AAPD. He is also the chair of AAPD Council on Post-doctoral Education, and the ADA Clinical Excellence Subcommittee, Council on Scientific Affairs. Dr. Dhar has participated on the ADA guideline panels on restorative care, caries prevention, management of acute dental pain, and has in the past served on the pit and fissure sealants panel. He is also on the AAPD guideline panels on vital pulp therapies in primary and immature permanent teeth, behavior guidance and has in the past served on the AAPD panel to produce clinical practice guidelines on non-vital pulp and vital pulp therapies in primary teeth.

Cameron Estrich, PhD

Cameron Estrich is the manager of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the ADA Science and Research Institute. She received an MPH in epidemiology and biostatistics and a PhD in community health sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Estrich’s current research focuses on policy implementation, dental professionals’ occupational health, and trends in dental treatment in the US civilian population.

Julie Frantsve-Hawley, PhD

Julie Frantsve-Hawley, PHD, is the Executive Director of the TAG Oral Care Center of Excellence, where she is responsible for providing strategic leadership and managing operations, clinical training and education for the Center. Dr. Frantsve-Hawley has launched innovative programs in public health dentistry, evidence-based dentistry, professional continuing education, and dental research. She holds leadership roles in the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, the American Public Health Association’s Oral Health Section, and the American Association of Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Hawley is also an executive scholar of the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and was recently honored by receiving the president’s award from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.

Betty Gilbert, R.D.H.

Betty Gilbert, R.D.H. is the Vice President of Value Based Care Programs at LIBERTY Dental Plan.  She has been with LIBERTY Dental Plan for over 10 years. She brings a collective experience of over 30 years in the dental industry, ranging from a practicing dental hygienist, dental office management, provider network development and leading Value Based Care Program initiatives.  Ms. Gilbert maintains her license as a Registered Dental Hygienist in Florida. She participates with several oral health initiatives in Florida and is currently on the Oral Health Florida School Action Team, Florida Oral Health Alliance, and Florida Voices for Health.  She also is a member of the American Dental Hygiene Association and currently sits on LIBERTY Dental Plan’s Provider Advisory Board.

Jill Boylston Herndon, PhD

Dr. Herndon is owner and principal consultant with Key Analytics and Consulting, LLC. She is an economist with extensive experience in research, policy analysis, program evaluation, project management, and education. She works with non-profit and for-profit organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions on measuring and evaluating healthcare delivery system performance.  Her technical experience includes study design, survey research, statistical analyses of large claims databases, Delphi consensus processes, and healthcare quality measurement. She’s led testing efforts for Dental Quality Alliance oral healthcare quality measures to establish measure feasibility, reliability and validity, and she is currently leading the data analyses for the DQA’s State Oral Healthcare Quality Dashboard. She served as a coach and technical advisor for the DQA’s Medicaid Quality Improvement Learning Academy and led external quality review evaluations for the State of Florida’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Dr. Herndon has served as principal investigator on NIH/NIDCR-funded research, and she holds faculty appointments at the University of Florida College of Medicine and the University of Iowa Public Policy Center. She is an elected member of the Society of Pediatric Research, and her research has been published in a broad range of journals in the social and medical sciences.

Mark W. Jurkovich, BS, DDS, MBA, MHI

Mark W Jurkovich BS DDS MBA MHI is a research investigator at the HealthPartners Institute in Bloomington, MN. He provided direct patient care in a variety of private practice formats for 38 years. He currently works in the areas of quality measures, terminology development, information exchange, standards development and data analytics, with a focus on the dental field. He is the voting representative for the National Association of Dental Plans on the Dental Quality Alliance. He is vice chair of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) oversight committee of the Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. He is chair of the ANSI SNODENT Maintenance Committee and Lead for the SNOMED International Dental CRG.

Cyrus Lee, DMD

Cyrus Lee, DMD, is executive dental director and CEO of Permanente Dental Associates (PDA). In this role, Dr. Lee leads more than 180 dentists, specialists, denturists and professional staff at one of the largest independent, dentist-led, multispecialty dental groups in the nation. These dentists deliver evidence-and value-based oral health care to more than 290,000 Kaiser Permanente Dental members in the Northwest Region (S.W. Washington to Eugene, OR).

Dr. Lee has practiced general dentistry for more than 20 years and has served in a variety of key operational and strategic leadership roles for PDA, most recently as dental director, Care Delivery. During Dr. Lee’s tenure Kaiser Permanente Dental continues to be accredited by AAAHC, a recognition of high-quality care it first achieved in 1990 and continuously since. PDA’s group practice is also a Certified B Corporation, part of the now 5000-plus businesses working toward a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system.

Prior to his role overseeing care delivery in 21 dental offices in both Oregon and Southwest Washington since 2018, Dr. Lee was the dental operations leader in the West service area. He also served as professional director at Aloha Dental and opened Cedar Hills Medical and Dental office in 2017. Passionate about Community health, Dr. Lee was Community Benefit lead dentist in 2009 and held the role until 2012. 

Dr. Lee earned his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Northwestern University and received his dental degree from Oregon Health and Sciences School of Dentistry in 2002. The following year he completed his Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) while in the U.S. Army Medical Department. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom while on active duty, as well as assignments in the Republic of Korea before returning to Oregon in 2006 to join Permanente Dental Associates.

As part of a planned leadership transition, Dr. Lee takes the helm from Dr. John Snyder, who retires at the end of 2022 after a 35-year career, nearly 15 as the head of PDA.

Like his predecessor, Dr. Lee is a strong advocate of treating the whole person through true medical-dental integration – via shared electronic records and dentists helping coordinate care with Permanente medical colleagues. He’s also passionate about clinician wellness and supporting community health, EID and the development of current and next generation dentists.

Dr. Lee values time with his wife and three young children, especially while exploring and being active in the community. He also enjoys coaching basketball at a local Portland high school.

Daniel J. Pihlstrom, DDS

Chief Dental Officer
Permanente Dental Associates

Cherag Sarkari, DDS

Dr. Sarkari joined LIBERTY Dental Plan in 2020. He is the Dental Director of California and is responsible for clinical oversight, policy, and quality management bringing 27 years of experience in the dental industry as a provider, academic, administrator, and C-suite leadership. Dr. Sarkari holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), a Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) in Prosthodontics and was conferred a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) by the Dental Board of California in 2003. He also received a Master’s in Oral Laser Applications at the University of Vienna.

Marko Vujicic, PhD

Dr. Marko Vujicic is Chief Economist and Vice President, Health Policy Institute at the American Dental Association where he is responsible for overseeing all of the Association’s policy research activities. Prior to joining the American Dental Association, he was Senior Economist with The World Bank in Washington D.C. where he directed the global health workforce policy program. He was also a Health Economist with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Vujicic is the lead author of the book, Working in Health, and has written several book chapters on various health policy issues. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals such as Health Affairs, The New England Journal of Medicine, Health Services Research, Health Policy and Planning, Social Science and Medicine, and Medical Care. He has worked on broad health care reform issues in Africa, East Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.

He is a visiting assistant professor at Tufts University in Boston and affiliate faculty at the Center for Health and the Social Sciences, University of Chicago and the Center for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia.

Dr. Vujicic obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from McGill University in Montreal.

Muhammad Walji, PhD

Muhammad Walji (PhD) focusses on using informatics approaches in solving clinical problems and improving the quality and safety of oral health. He serves as the Associate Dean for Technology Services and Informatics and Professor of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at the UTHealth School of Dentistry in Houston. He has focused on four main areas of informatics research which include 1) dental patient safety and oral health quality, 2) dental data repository, 3) electronic health record usability, and 4) standardized dental diagnostic terminology. He currently serves as the Principal Investigator on AHRQ and NIH funded studies focused on developing a patient safety learning health system, investigating dental diagnostic failures, implementing dental quality measures in practice, and the use of mHealth to collect patient reported outcomes. Muhammad Walji also leads the multi-institutional team that has developed the BigMouth Dental Data Repository, which currently contains data on over 4 million patients derived from EHRs from 11 dental institutions in the USA. In addition to his work in dentistry, he has made significant contributions to the field of electronic health record (EHR) usability and safety. As Associate Dean for Technology Services and Informatics, Muhammad Walji leads the Clinical IT groups that are responsible for implementing and supporting the EHR in the dental clinics. In 2012 he received a University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2016, he received recognition from President Obama after being selected as one of the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). In 2021, Muhammad Walji was appointed as the inaugural holder of Chair in Dental Informatics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry.

The 2023 DQA Conference is generously supported by the following sponsors:

ADEA logo
CareQuest Institute for Oral Health logo
Delta Dental Logo
DentaQuest logo
Permanente Dentistry logo
Smiles to Go Logo