Speaker Bios

We are excited to bring together an impressive docket of speakers to share their expertise during the Appalachian Oral Health Summit. Below are the bios for our speakers in order of appearance by session.

Welcome Session

Sarah Holland

Sarah Holland is the CEO of Virginia Health Catalyst, an alliance of individuals and organizations improving the health care system in Virginia to ensure all individuals have access to affordable, comprehensive health care inclusive of oral health. Sarah leads this charge by building strategic partnerships with health experts and thought leaders to address societal, environmental, clinical, and systemic needs to advance public health in the Commonwealth. In her nearly twenty years of effort to improve public health systems, she has gained expertise in state and federal policy, clinical care infrastructure, and how systems are affected by systemic racism and inequities. Notably, Sarah led a successful advocacy campaign to add an adult dental benefit to Virginia's Medicaid program – paving the way for nearly a million adults to access covered oral health services. She negotiated cost savings for the dental safety net valued at over half a million dollars. Sarah will continue to drive change in Virginia by advancing care integration and patient-centric care models, improving equitable access to water, and ensuring that the health care system supports and promote overall health.

Sarah began her career after receiving a Bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech and achieved a Masters’ degree from Simmons University in 2002. She is a proud alumni of Richmond Memorial Health Foundations Equity and Health Fellowship and Lead Virginia and serves on numerous boards.

National Trends and Opportunities in Oral Health Session

Kasey Wilson

Kasey Wilson (she/her) is a Senior Policy Analyst on the Dental Access Project at Community Catalyst. In this role, she provides strategic guidance and technical assistance to state and grassroots health advocacy organizations working to expand access to dental care and improve oral health. Kasey also conducts research and policy analysis on factors that contribute to community-centered and equity-informed oral health advocacy efforts.

Kasey also has seven years of experience in racial justice facilitation and Master’s-level course instruction. Before joining Community Catalyst, she worked for the Boston University School of Public Health conducting research and policy analysis on reducing insurance coverage and financing inequities among children with special health care needs. Kasey holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The College of New Jersey and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Laura Hale

Laura Hale is a Senior State Advocacy Manager with the Dental Access Project at Community Catalyst. In this role, she provides technical assistance to state-based organizations working to expand access to oral health care by authorizing dental therapists. Prior to joining Community Catalyst, Laura worked for The Pew Charitable Trusts supporting state-based campaigns to authorize dental therapists. She also worked as a federal lobbyist for the American Society of Civil Engineers, covering transportation infrastructure policy. Laura holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame.

 

Tanya Dorf Brunner

Tanya Dorf Brunner has served as Executive Director of Oral Health Kansas since 2009. Tanya and the Oral Health Kansas team advocate for Medicaid dental benefits, educate Kansans about the importance of oral health, and promote the benefits of community water fluoridation. Tanya is the co-founder and chair of the American Network of Oral Health Coalitions, a national organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the work of state oral health coalitions. She also serves on the OPEN Network’s Regional Oral Health Connection Team. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Independence, Inc., an organization serving people with disabilities. She also served at the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services as Chief of Staff and Director of Legislative Affairs.

She is a former Board member of the Kansas Association of Centers for Independent Living and of First Nonprofit Unemployment Savings Program in Chicago. She is a lifetime member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders and has been a member of the Topeka South Rotary Club since 2009, leading a project to provide meals in a homeless shelter. She was a member of Leadership Greater Topeka Class of 2015 and is an active volunteer at Topeka Civic Theatre.

Tanya holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in political science and philosophy from Bethany College and a Master’s of Science in management from Baker University.

Covid-19: How the Pandemic has Changed the Practice of Oral Health

Bobbi Steele Muto, MPH, RDH, CTTS

Community Oral Health Programs Coordinator, Department of Family and Community Health
Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University

Bobbi Muto, received her Bachelor of Science Degree from West Virginia University’s School of Dentistry, MPH from West Virginia University's School of Public Health, and received her Tobacco Treatment Specialist certification from the Mayo Clinic’s Tobacco Treatment Center.  She currently serves as the Oral Health Programs Coordinator for the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University.  This position has given her the opportunity pursue her passion of  helping improve the overall health status of fellow West Virginians, as well as be engaged in the national level with oral health issues.  Along with proving direct patient care she is responsible for managing the all oral health projects, programs and grants for the MUSOM.

Bobbi played a lead role in the development and implementation of the first statewide school based oral health program, the first state Oral Health Plan and initial statewide school aged oral health surveillance for WV and was one of the founding members of the WV Oral Health Coalition.  She was named Outstanding Alumni Award of the Year for 2010 by the WV Rural Health Education Partnership, in 2011 she was named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry by Advanstar Dental Media, in 2018 she and her team were awarded the Smiles Across America Program Champion Award. Her proudest successes are her three children, Nick, Joseph and Gianna. Her free time is spent with her family, reading, camping, kayaking hiking and being outdoors.

Raj K. Khanna, DMD, MD

Professor and Chair, Dentistry and Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University

Dr. Khanna is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and serves as the chair of the newly established Dentistry, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Department and General Practice Residency Program at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University.  Prior to this appointment, Dr. Khanna was professor and division chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery under the department of surgery from 2002 to 2016.

Dr. Khanna specializes in dental implants, orthognathic surgery, facial reconstruction and cosmetics, dentoalveolar and pre-prosthetic surgery and facial trauma.  In addition to these duties, Dr. Khanna provides essential leadership to the Marshall Community Dental Public Health team, including oversight of their respective projects and outreach programs.

Dr. Khanna lives in Barbourville, West Virginia with his wife and their two daughters.   In what little free time he has he enjoys Do It Yourself projects, working in the yard and spending time with his family.

Foti Panagakos, DMD

Dr. Panagakos received his DMD from UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School (now Rutgers University School of Dental Medicine) and his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UMDNJ-Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (now the Rutgers University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences) in 1992. In 1999, he received his Master’s in Education from Seton Hall University and in 2007 he received his Master’s in Business Administration from Lehigh University.

Dr. Panagakos served for 13 years as a full-time faculty member at New Jersey Dental School, serving in a number of administrative positions, including Group Practice Administrator, Director of Environmental Safety and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. During this time, he also maintained a private dental practice in Westfield and Newark, NJ.

In June, 2005, Dr. Panagakos joined the Colgate Palmolive Oral Care Clinical Research Department as an Associate Director. In January, 2006, Dr. Panagakos was promoted to Director of Professional Relations and Scientific Affairs – North America. In April 2009, Dr. Panagakos was appointed Director of Clinical Research Relations and Strategy within the Research and Development division of Colgate-Palmolive Co. In November, 2012, he was promoted to Global Director of Scientific Affairs and Research Relations – Oral Care.

Dr. Panagakos joined the West Virginia University School of Dentistry in August 2018, as the Associate Dean for Research.  In January 2019, he was appointed Vice Dean for Administration and Research, and on July 1st, 2020 was appointed as Interim Dean.

Dr. Panagakos is the co-author of over 80 peer-reviewed scientific research articles and is the co-editor of three dental science textbooks. His areas of interest include the role of inflammation in oral and overall health, the impact of nutrition on oral health and wellness, and the impact of improved oral health on overall wellness in rural populations.

Innovations in the Changing Workforce

Gina Sharps, BSDH, MPH

Gina Sharps is an oral health educator at Marshall University School of Medicine and coordinator for the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition. She also serves as West Virginia’s Dental Hygienist Liaison, a partnership between the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety in collaboration with the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD).

Gina brings 25 years of clinical and public health experience to the field. She is a past president and currently serves as the legislative liaison for the West Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association. She has served on the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Medical Dental Advisory Committee and currently serves as a consultant with the ASTDD along with serving on the ASTDD Fluorides Committee.

Zachary Brian, DMD

Dr. Zachary Brian has spent both his clinical and administrative career in public health, focusing his efforts on supporting interprofessional practice initiatives and collaborative partnership development to achieve systems-level changes for vulnerable population groups. Currently, Dr. Brian leads the North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative (NCOHC), a program of the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation (FHLI). As Director of NCOHC, Dr. Brian helps shape state public policy and practice through health promotion and literacy, policy advocacy, and partnership development.

Prior to joining FHLI, Dr. Brian served as Site Director for Indian Health Service (IHS) for the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Following his service in IHS, he served as Dental Director for a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in New Haven, Connecticut, working in partnership with Yale University.

Dr. Brian currently he holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry, the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, and North Central Michigan College.

Dr. Brian received his B.S. from Murray State University, his D.M.D. from the University of Louisville, and his M.H.A. from Central Michigan University.