NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy & Management

About the Center

The NYU Dentistry Center for Oral Health Policy and Management is an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary think tank that focuses on oral health policy and management in the 21st century. A key focus of the center is to develop and promote a national agenda for oral health policy and management that recognizes the fundamental relationship between oral health and overall health and the responsibilities that the dental professions have for the overall well-being of the public. To create and further this agenda, the center will leverage NYU Dentistry’s existing resources and will engage with university, local, national, and international partners to create synergies related to oral health policy and management. Through research, publications, programming, and academic offerings, the center creates ways to further explore essential oral health policy and management issues regarding oral health and dental education.


The Context: Oral Health Policy and Management in the 21st Century

  • Integrating oral and systemic health
  • Access to dental care
  • Addressing the oral health needs of people with disabilities
  • New models of practice and payment
  • Leadership challenges in dental education and organized dentistry
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Consumerism in health care
  • Diversity of the population and the profession
  • Level of understanding of health policy and management issues and an appreciation for how these issues impact clinical practice
  • Innovations in technology

Core Activities of the Center

  • Develop new academic offerings in leadership
  • Conduct research on issues related to oral health policy and management
  • Publish studies and commentaries
  • Convene seminars and symposia on key issues
  • Stimulate public and media discussion about oral health policy and management issues


The NYU Dentistry Leadership Education and Development Initiative

This initiative will strive to develop adaptive leaders who are prepared to perform in uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environments in the future. Its mission will be to educate the next generation of leaders for the dental and health professions using a character-based model of leadership. The initiative will include three related components: (1) the NYU Dentistry Student Leadership Institute; (2) the NYU Dentistry William J. Gies Leadership Society (Gies Society); and (3) the NYU Dentistry Leadership Forum.



Leadership & Administration

Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH

Founding Director

Dr. Richard W. Valachovic is a Clinical Professor at NYU College of Dentistry and President Emeritus of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). His career prior to joining ADEA included positions on the faculties and administration of the schools of dental medicine at Harvard University and the University of Connecticut. He served on the attending staff of four Harvard teaching hospitals and the Dempsey Hospital in Farmington CT. He was the Chief of Dentistry and Director of the employee and student dental insurance plans at the Harvard University Health Service in Cambridge MA. His areas of professional interest include health policy and management, clinical decision analysis, interprofessional education and leadership. Dr. Valachovic holds a DMD degree from the University of Connecticut and an MPH degree and an ScM (Health Policy and Management) degree from Harvard University. He completed residency programs in pediatric dentistry and dental public health. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology and Past President of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Michael P. O'Connor, EdD, MPA

Founding Co-Director

Dr. Michael P. O’Connor is Executive Vice Dean at NYU College of Dentistry. His academic appointment is in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and he is Clinical Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Prior to joining NYU, Dr. O'Connor was Vice President & Senior Associate Dean for Organizational & Professional Development and Vice President & Senior Associate Dean for Budget & Finance and CFO at the Columbia University Medical Center. He also served as the Mailman School of Public Health's Vice Dean for Finance and Administration for over twenty years. His areas of professional interest include health policy and management, employment law, organizational development, contract negotiations, conflict resolution, not-for-profit finance and administration, leadership, mentoring, and academic health center management. Dr. O'Connor holds a doctoral degree in education from Columbia University and an MPA from the City University of New York.

Gabriela Gonzalez

Administrative Staff

Ms. Gabriela Gonzalez is the Administrator of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Budget Planning and Strategic Initiatives at NYU College of Dentistry. She is skilled in organizational development, operations management, team coordination, and project management. She holds a bachelor’s degree focused on business administration and management from Metropolitan College of New York.