California Gov. Jerry Brown announced on June 5 that Jayanth Kumar, DDS, MPH, will serve as the state's new dental director.
Dr. Kumar will direct and manage the oral health program in the California Department of Public Health. He will also be responsible for implementing strategies and policies to reduce oral health disparities and establishing prevention and education projects.
The California Dental Association (CDA) has advocated for a state dental director for years, and the establishment of this position is a major achievement for the state's oral health program and access-to-care planning goals, the association noted in a press release.
"[The] CDS applauds Gov. Brown's appointment and is looking forward to collaborating with Dr. Kumar, who will bring together an advisory group of stakeholders to help develop plans for improving oral health in California," stated CDA President Walt Weber, DDS, in the release. "We are excited to have his leadership and experience here in California. His excellent grasp of the serious challenges our state faces in reducing barriers to dental care, and his knowledge of effective disease prevention programs and federal funding opportunities, will be a tremendous asset to California."
Dr. Kumar comes from the New York State Bureau of Dental Health, where he served as director of oral health surveillance and research and as director of the New York State Dental Public Health Residency. He has held the positions of state dental director and acting director since 2009 and is responsible for developing the first comprehensive state oral health plan for New York.