Press Releases

POMONA, Calif. – Center for Oral Health has recently earned Gold Participant status from GuideStar USA Inc., the leading source of detailed information on nonprofit organizations. This level demonstrates Center for Oral Health’s (COH) deep commitment to transparency and accountability.

“For Center for Oral Health, inspiring trust and confidence within the community and within the hearts and minds of our donors, partners, and collaborators means everything,” said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Executive Director. “That trust must begin with ultimate transparency.” 

The Gold Participation Level means that COH has completed GuideStar’s thorough process of information sharing, including financial data and impact reporting, and it has made this information available through GuideStar’s user interface. Less than 1 percent of the nation’s 1.8 million IRS-recognized nonprofit organizations are GuideStar Gold participants.   

 “This Gold Participant status provides COH’s funders and donors the utmost confidence in our ability to manage their charitable assets with the highest degree of skill and integrity,” said Dr. Bárzaga. “I encourage you to check out our profile on GuideStar to see what we are all about.” 

COH is extremely pleased with GuideStar’s recognition and will continue to maintain its high standards as a trusted caretaker of public and private funds to advance the mission of improving oral health, especially of vulnerable populations, through innovation, research, education, and advocacy. 

“This is validation to our organization's commitment to transparency,” said Dr. Jack Dillenberg, Board Chairman of Center for Oral Health.

Click here to view COH's GuideStar page.

Click here to download the full Press Release.

POMONA, Calif. The Center for Oral Health has received a $170,000 grant from The California Wellness Foundation (CalWellness) to conduct an oral health assessment of older adults in California over the next two years.

 “California is home to nearly 7 million residents who are 60 or older. Within a few years, one in five Californians will be 65 or older, and will be increasingly diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, financial resources and living conditions. As people age, they continue to be plagued by oral health problems; in fact, in the U.S. today, only 28 percent of older adults (ages 65-74) have dental coverage. For those 75 and older, only 17 percent enjoy dental coverage. National estimates show that 25 percent of adults over 65 have lost all of their teeth. Yet the oral health care needs of older adults in the U.S. receives relatively little attention, and almost no public health or public policy interventions”, said Center for Oral Health (COH) Executive Director, Conrado Barzaga, MD.

The two-year project will assess the oral health care needs of older adults in a first phase. A second phase will explore and propose solutions to deliver oral health care services to those who need it the most. This work will require a collective effort, Barzaga said. COH will complete the assessment through partnerships with various organizations across the state.

“This is a significant benchmark for the Center for Oral Health, and a testament to the quality of oral health assessments completed by our organization over the past 29 years,” Barzaga said. “Oral health is an important dimension of well-being. Over the next few months, we will be addressing this issue head-on. This grant offers us an opportunity to expand our work and collaborate with partners across the state, building upon the solid infrastructure and strengthened capacity through our affiliation with Western University of Health Sciences.”

Funding of this assessment is a vital step toward addressing a health care challenge that is too often unvoiced, said College of Dental Medicine Dean Steven Friedrichsen, DDS.  “We recognize that the Center for Oral Health is ideally suited to this project,” Friedrichsen said. “Their expertise in this arena, combined with strong partnerships and affiliations, can help leverage the findings into increased political support for improved health outcomes for the older adult.”

Click here to view full press release





Center for Oral Health Initiative Brings Innovative Oral Cancer Detection to San Bernardino Community Clinics and Healthcare Safety Net.

Every hour of every day at least one person dies from oral cancer... COH is providing the model to change that.

JANUARY 17, 2014 – In a groundbreaking implementation of a model project, the Center for Oral Health (COH) is partnering with community clinics, hospitals, and oral technology leaders to increase oral cancer detection in San Bernardino County’s Healthcare Safety Net. The project is made possible through generous funding by Kaiser Permanente.

VELscope Vx by LED Dental

The Center for Oral Health and LED Dental are donating two VELscope® Vx systems to SAC Health System (SACHS), a non-profit organization that provides comprehensive and low-cost health care services to the Inland Empire, to help detect oral cancer in early stages. The VELscope® Vx systems high-tech light enhances examinations and screen for tissue abnormalities, potentially leading to the earlier discovery of pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. As with all cancers, early detection is critical for enabling treatment success and increasing survival rates.

“The Center for Oral Health is thrilled to be partnering with community clinics and leveraging technology to strengthen the healthcare safety net in San Bernardino County by providing for early detection of throat and mouth cancers,” said Dr. Conrado Bárzaga, Executive Director for the Center for Oral Health. “This is an important step to bridge the oral health and medical provider worlds; there are about 40,000 new cases – and about 8,000 deaths – each year due to squamous cell carcinoma and other types of throat and mouth cancers, and that can be greatly reduced by integrating oral health into medical education.”

The partnership with SACHS and LED Dental provides hands-on, in-office training on oral cancer screenings and provides SACHS primary care medical and dental providers, and staff, with ongoing technical assistance in regard to the use of the VELscope® Vx for oral cancer screenings.

Further, COH is partnering with Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) and the Community Clinic Association of San Bernardino County to develop educational trainings for healthcare providers about throat and mouth cancers.

ABOUT COH: The Center for Oral Health, founded in 1985, is a California-based non-profit organization whose mission is to improve oral health, especially of vulnerable populations, through innovation, research, education and advocacy. COH collaborates with national, state, and local partners to develop innovative community- based strategies that improve oral health.

Center for Oral Health and A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health Partner to Promote “Text 2 Floss” and Bring Educational Messages to All

Pomona, California and Mesa, Arizona – October 7, 2013 – The Center for Oral Health (COH), a California-based non-profit organization, whose mission is to improve oral health, especially of vulnerable populations through innovation, research, education and advocacy, announced today that it is partnering with A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ASDOH) to make oral health education messages available to the public through the “Text 2 Floss” initiative.

Through this relationship, COH and ASDOH will deliver text messages that remind the public that brushing and flossing our teeth are part of a daily oral hygiene regimen; that doing so keeps our mouths healthy and helps prevent chronic diseases. Despite being one of the most preventable of all diseases, tooth decay continues to rank as the most widespread public health issue for children in developed world countries.  Periodontal disease, which is also preventable and is responsible for tooth loss, is reaching epidemic proportions. Growing scientific evidence supports the notion that heart disease, poor birth outcomes, and worsening of other chronic diseases such as diabetes and auto-immune diseases are affected by poor oral health.

The “Text 2 Floss” initiative is an innovative process that targets different age groups, from pregnant women and mothers with young children to the elderly, provides evidence-based oral health messages that aim at building knowledge and awareness to prevent disease, support better health outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs.

“The Center for Oral Health is committed to improving oral health for all, as it is essential to enjoying overall health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Conrado Barzaga, executive director of the Center for Oral Health. “Through this partnership we will help disseminate knowledge and contribute to improved health outcomes while decreasing the cost of care.”

“The partnership between the Center for Oral Health and ASDOH brings together like minded organizations committed to improving the oral health of the most vulnerable populations both domestically and globally. The Text2Floss program promotes the education of the public in improving oral health and overall health through text messaging and the further engagement of health professionals,” said Jack Dillenberg the Inaugural Dean of ASDOH.

COH LogoAbout the Center for Oral Health

The Center for Oral Health’s mission is to improve oral health, especially of vulnerable populations, through innovation, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1985, COH is a California-based non-profit organization has been the public voice for oral health, advancing knowledge, formulating public policy and inspiring the practice of equitable dentistry.

For more information, visit


ASDOH LogoAbout A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health

The mission of the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health is to educate caring, technologically adept dentists who become community and educational leaders serving those in need to prepare graduates with a strong foundation of critical inquiry, evidence-based practice, research, cultural competency, an orientation to prevention, and interdisciplinary healthcare experiences.

For more information, visit


About “Text 2 Floss”

Text 2 Floss, is a collaboration between the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health and the CellTrust Corporation; it offers its users the ability to get information and tips about caring for their teeth and mouth via text messaging.

For more information, visit




Center for Oral Health

Lauren Bale, Marketing and Media Assistant

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March 15, 2013, 4:29 p.m. EDT

WesternU's College of Dental Medicine to Receive $8.4 Million From First 5 LA

POMONA, CA, Mar 15, 2013 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine will receive $8.4 million from First 5 LA to provide dental care to uninsured and underserved children.

The First 5 LA Commission approved the initial 19-month contract for $3.1 million with WesternU, part of a five-year, $38 million project in cooperation with UCLA and USC. The total awarded to WesternU through the full five-year implementation of the program is anticipated to be $8.4 million.

The program will emphasize getting children into the oral health care delivery system, or dental homes, by age 1, said Timothy Martinez, DMD, College of Dental Medicine Associate Dean for Community Partnerships and Access to Care.

College of Dental Medicine faculty and students will assess patients and provide dental care and preventative and educational services. The College will work with the San Gabriel Valley Foundation for Dental Health, WesternU's Patient Care Center, and the Center for Oral Health, which is now housed on WesternU's Pomona campus. It also plans to work collaboratively to establish four school-based dental oral health centers.

"We want to track the patients, make sure they're getting into dental care, make sure their treatment plans are being completed, and make sure they're put on preventative maintenance," Martinez said. "That's how you take care of a population and keep them healthy."

WesternU is working with school districts that have high Medicaid enrollment, and one goal is to create sustainability.

"We're trying to integrate oral health services with established school-based health centers, and we're going to develop processes to help support those programs," Martinez said. "The goal is to demonstrate how dentists can be successful providing services at these schools. We also have interprofessional training, teaching nurse practitioners and physician assistants about anticipatory guidance, which is how to prevent caries (cavities), talking to mothers, and how to apply fluoride varnish."

This program will introduce College of Dental Medicine students to caring for very young patients early in their education, which does not typically happen in dental schools, said College of Dental Medicine Dean Steven W. Friedrichsen, DDS.

"While providing essential dental services, the project will also help prepare the next generation of dentists to understand the importance of a dental home, a first dental visit by their first birthday, and early intervention and treatment for these children," he said.

First 5 LA is a unique child-advocacy organization created by California voters to invest tobacco tax revenues in programs aimed at improving the lives of children in Los Angeles County, from prenatal through age 5.

Since 1998, the program has allocated more than $1.5 billion toward grants, programs and operations that improve the well-being of young children and families in Los Angeles County, according to First 5 LA's 2011-12 Annual Financial Report.

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