AHEAD Symposium: Achieving Health Equity through Access for All with Disabilities

AHEAD 2022: "Changes in Policy and Practice"

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Zoom recording of AHEAD 2022

Click on the image above to view the Zoom recording of AHEAD 2022.


NYU College of Dentistry hosted its second AHEAD symposium — Achieving Health Equity through Access for All with Disabilities — focused on changes in policy and practice on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, from 9:00 am to noon EDT. The symposium brought together experts in the areas of health care advocacy, access, and funding at the state and federal levels for people with disabilities.  

COVID-19 created new access issues in health care, but people with disabilities have faced significant barriers to receiving care long before the pandemic. To see a dentist, people with disabilities may need to find a practice with an accessible office and a provider who is willing and prepared to see patients with disabilities. Payment can also be a barrier: while more than 10 million people with disabilities are eligible for Medicaid, many dentists do not accept it due to low reimbursement rates.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Bill Cassidy, MD, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, has championed expanding resources for people with disabilities and increasing access to oral health care throughout his career. He has sponsored legislation including bipartisan bills on retaining
    Social Security benefits for people with disabilities who work and targeting federal funds to provide dental care to vulnerable populations.
  • Natalia Chalmers, DDS, MHSc, PhD, was named the first-ever Chief Dental Officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2021. In this new role, Chalmers — a pediatric dentist, oral health policy expert, and public health advocate —  guides CMS in advancing oral health in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Marketplace, and Medicare.

4 CE credits: If you attended the AHEAD Symposium on April 5th and would like to receive CE credit, please complete the form on this page. Once your attendance is confirmed, you will receive notification of CE credits granted. For more information, please contact dental.cde@nyu.edu.

For other inquiries, please contact dental.web@nyu.edu.


To receive CE credit for attending the AHEAD Symposium, please complete the form below:


Note: All times EDT

Welcome & Greetings
9:00 am  

Charles N. Bertolami
Herman Robert Fox Dean, NYU College of Dentistry

Andrew Hamilton
President, New York University

Keynote Address
9:10 am  

The Honorable Bill Cassidy
United States Senator for Louisiana

Keynote Address
9:30 am 

Natalia I. Chalmers
Chief Dental Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Panel I
9:55 am  

Reimbursement Policy

This panel will address the current reimbursement policy for New York State and the need to carve out a fair and sustainable policy predicated on value to the State.

  • Moderator:
    Michael P. O’Connor
    Executive Vice Dean, NYU Dentistry

  • Panelists:
    • Douglas Fish
      Medical Director, Office of Health Insurance Programs,
      New York State Department of Health
    • Mary Foley
      Executive Director, MSDA
    • Holli Seabury
      Executive Director, Delta Dental Foundation
    • Alan J. Murray
      President & CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield


Panel II
10:50 am  

Universal Dental School Curriculum

This panel will address the need for a universal curriculum to ensure standardized oral health care education and training to prepare future dentists with the special skillsets they require to provide compassionate, comprehensive oral health care for people with disabilities across the lifespan.

  • Moderator:
    Richard W. Valachovic
    Clinical Professor and Director, NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management

  • Panelists:
    • Rick Guidotti
      Founder and Director, Positive Exposure
    • Rick Rader
      Member, National Council on Disability
    • Allen Wong
      President, AADMD, and Professor, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
    • Robert Glickman
      Professor and Chair, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs and Hospital Relations, NYU Dentistry


Closing Remarks
11:45 am  

Dean Bertolami



AHEAD 2020

The first AHEAD Symposium took place online on October 2, 2020, and brought together experts in the areas of health care advocacy, access, and funding at the state and federal levels for people with disabilities. A particular focus was the need to carve out a fair and sustainable funding policy predicated on value to the state. Other key areas of discussion included the family/provider relationship, the impact of COVID-19 on the disabilities community, and the importance of public-private partnerships in advancing access to care both locally and nationally.




AHEAD 2020 speakers and panelists included Charles N. Bertolami, Herman Robert Fox Dean, NYU Dentistry; Andrew Hamilton, President, NYU; Timothy Shriver, Chairman, Special Olympics; Steven Perlman, Clinical Professor of Pediatric Dentistry, Boston University, and Special Olympics Liaison, American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD); Neil Romano, Chairman, National Council on Disability; Michael O’Connor, Executive Vice Dean, NYU Dentistry; David Chiu, California State Assembly Member; Allen Finkelstein, CEO, Bedford HealthCare Solutions; Matt Holder, CEO, Lee Specialty Clinic; John McIntosh, Associate Dean for Clinical Administration & Clinical Revenue Management, NYU Dentistry; Ronald Kosinski, Clinical Director, NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities; Jo Anne Simon, New York State Assembly Member; Ann Costello, Executive Director, B. Thomas Golisano Foundation; Karen Raposa, Clinical Education Manager, Hu-Friedy Corporation; Barbie Vartanian, Executive Director, Project Accessible Oral Health, The Viscardi Center; John Kemp, President & CEO, The Viscardi Center; Marco Damiani, Chief Executive Officer, AHRC; Larry McReynolds, Executive Director, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone; Anastasia Somoza, Community Liaison – Disability, Civil, and Human Rights Division, Office of NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson; Robert Glickman, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Hospital Relations and Professor and Chair, Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, NYU Dentistry; Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman & CEO, Henry Schein, Inc.; Rick Rader, President, American Association on Health and Disability; Steve Kess, Vice President of Global Professional Relations, Henry Schein, Inc.; Stacey Hengsterman, CEO, Special Olympics New York; Amr Moursi, Professor & Chair, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, NYU Dentistry.

Four panel discussions addressed Funding and Access Issues; the Family/Provider Relationship; the Impact of COVID-19 on the Disabilities Community; and the Importance of Public-Private Partnerships in Advancing Access to Care.