Press Releases





Contact: Ara Najarian

Phone: (323) 353 - 4062

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In an unprecedented effort to address oral health disparities in the Sacramento region, Center for Oral Health (COH)and LIBERTY Dental Plan, in partnership with Health Net and Access Dental plans, will kick off "Early Smiles" - a collaborative and innovative School Based Oral Health Program - on June 29, 2016, 10:30 a.m. at the State Capitol, South Side Entrance.  The initiative has set a goal of serving 12,000 children in Sacramento-area elementary schools in its first year. 


The need for - and the benefit of - this initiative is tremendous: California children with dental pain miss 874,000 school days annually which costs school districts $29 million in attendance fees.


"Dental disease is the number one reason kids miss school and it disproportionately affects children in low-income communities," said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Executive Director for the Center for Oral Health.  "The Dental Plans that are supporting this initiative are true leaders by providing for a proven, proactive, preventive-care approach."


COH has partnered with LIBERTY Dental Plan, Health Net and Access Dental to increase access to preventive dental care and navigation services for underserved children in Sacramento, starting with services the summer session.  This School Based Oral Health Program will provide checkups and preventive treatments for children that might otherwise not receive these services.


The network of dental providers from LIBERTY Dental Plan, Health Net and Access Dental, will serve as the dental home for children identified in need of restorative care and offer case management and ensure their members get the dental care they need.





April 20, 2016 – On Tuesday, April 19, 2016 President Barack Obama signed into law the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016. This reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) includes for the first time provisions for oral health. This reauthorization opens the door for state and area agencies on aging to use funds to improve the oral health of older adults throughout the United States.


Below, please read a brief summary of the changes created by the new law: 

  • 102 of the Older Americans Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3002) is amended to include Oral Health in paragraph (14)(B).

"...For the purposes of this act... (14) The term "disease prevention and health promotion services'' means...

...(B) routine health screening, which may include hypertension, glaucoma, cholesterol, cancer, vision, hearing, diabetes, oral health, bone density, and nutrition screening..." 

  • 202. of the Act states:

"...(a) It shall be the duty and function of the Administration to...28 "...make available to States, area agencies on aging, and service providers information and technical assistance to support the provision of evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion services (which now includes oral health..."


The law also allocates funds to oral health

  • 303. of the Act states:

"... (d) There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out part D (relating to disease prevention and health promotion services (which now includes oral health) such sums as may be necessary..." 


Nearly 12 million U.S. seniors will benefit from the Older Americans Act funding; through the services they receive from state and area agencies.

This is a victory for millions of older Americans, and for the numerous groups, including the Center for Oral Health and California's coalition, Oral Health Action California, that urged U.S. Congress to include oral health in the reauthorization bill. Seventy percent of older Americans lack dental benefits, which are excluded from Medicare.

It is important for the oral health community to work with Area Agencies on Aging to identify and support best practices to deliver needed oral health care services.

Dr. Conrado Barzaga, Executive Director of the Center for Oral Health states, "We are proud of the collective impact of organizations across the U.S. that advocated for the inclusion of oral health provisions under this Reauthorization Act. The inclusion of oral health provisions is a first since the enactment of the Older Americans Act, we thank Congress for its strong bipartisan support in passing this bill, and thank President Obama for signing it into law”.


The Older Americans Act of 1965 was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It created the National Aging Network, which is comprised of The Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services (now including Oral Health), among other programs. 

OCTOBER 7, 2015 –The Center for Oral Health is hosting its 3rd Annual Symposium on October 29, 2015 at the Westin LAX, in Los Angeles, California. As part of its tradition, the Symposium is focused on the interprofessional and multidisciplinary approach that is necessary to improve overall health. The Symposium is a platform to invite health care professionals from a variety of disciplines including medicine, dentistry, nursing, dental hygiene, social work, and others. There is a special emphasis on the attendance of students in the same health care disciplines, aligning the providers of the future with the current issues of today.

The Symposium will be a valuable framework for health care professionals, policy-makers, and health care leaders to learn how to meet the health challenges of our aging population. The presentations will provide evidence-based tools and best practices to help prevent and limit the impact of oral diseases. 

The following topics will be centerpieces of the event:

  • Defining developmental stages of older adulthood
  • Understanding the unique health and wellness indicators of older adulthood
  • Innovative approaches to interprofessional and multidisciplinary delivery of health care for older adults
  • Addressing the regulatory and public policy environment to drive interventions to improve the health and wellbeing -and quality of life of aging Americans
  • Learning about national efforts to improve Medicare and designing oral health care benefits for older Americans
  • Understanding how periodontal disease affects highly prevalent chronic diseases that are also leading causes of death among older adults, especially cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and lower respiratory infections
  • Oral health care provision of the Older Americans Act as it is being currently reenacted in Congress.

The Center for Oral Health invites you to be part of this insightful and educational event filled with highly respected speakers. Registration and additional information about the event may be found at

Read Full Press Release Here.

POMONA, Calif. – Dr. Steven Friedrichsen, Dean, Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine, will be honored with the Champion of Academic Impact Award at Center for Oral Health’s special 30th Anniversary Gala on November 20, 2015 at the legendary Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles, CA. The award recognizes Dr. Friedrichsen’s leadership in engaging dental education with underserved communities throughout his career. 

Dr. Friedrichsen has provided support and advocacy for an educational model and student engagement at “WesternU” that emphasizes prevention of dental disease by getting children into the oral health care delivery system, or dental homes, by age 1. WesternU's College of Dental Medicine (CDM) has also opened six school-based oral health centers that provide comprehensive oral health services to uninsured and underserved children. Previously Dr. Friedrichsen was awarded the Milagro Award by the One World Community Health Center in 2008 and was an Outstanding Public Service awardee at Idaho State University in 2002 for his efforts to integrate care for underserved communities into the dental education programs he led. 

“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the faculty, administration, staff and students at WesternU,” said Dr. Friedrichsen. “Community partnerships are a core part of the university, its mission and vision. The rewards are personal for our students and faculty as well, not just for the communities we serve: the tears of joy from a smile restored, the look on a patient’s face when relieved of pain, or the hand-drawn picture make you realize the impact you can have on people’s lives.”

Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Executive Director of the Center for Oral Health, said, “The Center for Oral Health is proud to partner with Western University of Health Sciences in making positive change in the lives of underserved and uninsured children and it couldn’t happen without the vision and action of Dr. Friedrichsen. The foundation he is laying for his students is creating a paradigm shift within the healthcare delivery system and at dental schools all over the country. We are thrilled to honor Dr. Friedrichsen.”

Read Full Press Release Here.

POMONA, Calif. – Dr. Amir Neshat, Founder, Chairman and CEO of LIBERTY Dental Plan, will be honored with the Champion for Health Systems Innovations Award at the Center for Oral Health’s special 30th Anniversary Gala on November 20, 2015 at the legendary Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles, CA. The award recognizes Dr. Neshat’s excellence in innovation and personal commitment to the oral health industry and the community. 

Dr. Neshat has been a professional involved in many different aspects of dental care for over 20 years. He comes from a family of successful health care and business professionals and his innovative ideas in the oral health industry dentistry have had a positive impact on the way people view oral health. “It is an honor to receive this award,” said Dr. Neshat. “At LIBERTY, we have worked hard to build a company committed to providing the highest quality dental healthcare to the communities we serve. I am so pleased to have the Center for Oral Health recognize these efforts.” 

LIBERTY focuses on customized plans for its clients and has a 99% client retention rate, thanks to personal touches of providing live representatives answer every phone call and to be among the first to offer Apps for Apple and Android mobile devices. Importantly, Dr. Neshat has also inherited his family spirit of philanthropy, he created the LIBERTY Dental Foundation, whose mission is to improve the oral health and well-being of vulnerable, underserved populations, elevate the quality of dental care, reduce disparities in access, and promote the importance of routine dental care. 

“We are thrilled to honor Dr. Neshat because he is truly a change agent for the oral health industry. Dr. Neshat’s contributions to the U.S. health care system make it more sustainable” said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Executive Director of the Center for Oral Health. “Dr. Neshat’s leadership at Liberty Dental has enabled many poor families to access the oral health care they need and deserve. Dr. Neshat’s impact cannot be overstated.

Read Full Press Release Here.

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