The Landscape of Special Needs Care in California and Opportunities to Advocate (recorded webinar)

Date: April 28, 2022

Time: 6:00-8:30PM PST

Course Description

This session will provide dental providers and their support personnel with a vivid picture of California’s efforts to address the barriers to care for people with developmental disabilities. It will also enlist opportunities to advocate for dental and developmental disabilities communities. The session will highlight some real-time stories on self-advocate’s efforts to advocate a robust dental system in California. 

Learning Objectives

  • Identify various programs endeavoring to enhance oral health equity for people with Developmental Disabilities in California.
  • Learn about Medi-Cal Dental Codes to accommodate people with Special Health Care Needs.
  • Understand the billing documentation to get reimbursed for services included in the unique Medi-Cal Dental Codes.
  • Understand the role, scope, and work of regional centers in California to improve dental care coordination for people with Special Health Care Needs.
  • Identify opportunities to advocate for the oral health of people with Special Health Care Needs.
  • Learn from a self-advocate’s journey to access specialized dental care in San Francisco, California.


Dr. Allen Wong

Dr. Allen Wong has taught postdoctoral general dentistry for over 35 years in AEGD programs (Pacific and University California San Francisco) and is the director of Pacific’s Hospital Dentistry Program.  He has lectured nationally and internationally in the areas of special care dentistry, rotary endodontics, implant restorations, and minimally invasive dentistry.  He is active with Special Olympics Special Smiles program (Global Clinical Advisor), President American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) and member of Special Care Dentistry Association (SCDA). Past president CAMBRA Coalition (Caries Management By Risk Assessment), Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Fraternity (Delta Delta Chapter) Past president, California Dental Association Foundation Board of Director, Secretary. San Francisco Dental Society Dental Health Committee Chairman. Santa Fe Group, Fellow ( 2021 for IDD populations).

Donnell Kenworthy & DJ Kenworthy

Donnell is grateful to her son, DJ, for opening her eyes to the possibilities in disabilities! DJ has taught her that a life complicated by Down syndrome, autism, medical, physical and communicative disabilities is still very much a life, and should be lived with love, humor, the right supports and exuberant joy! DJ and Donnell were privileged to share DJ’s story to the Little Hoover Commission and to be featured in the commission’s report #230, April, 2016: Fixing Denti-Cal. Donnell currently serves on several committees and boards, including the Sacramento County Medi-Cal Dental Advisory Board Special Needs/General Anesthesia Workgroup. She and DJ have worked with various legislators on creating a more responsive and equitable system of medical and dental care.

Dr. Jay Kumar

Dr. Jayanth V. Kumar has served as State Dental Director since 2015 at the California Department of Public Health. Before joining the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Kumar held several positions at the New York State Department of Health from 1980 to 2015, including director for the Bureau of Dental Health, assistant director, and dental public health epidemiologist. In addition, he was an associate professor at the School of Public Health, University of Albany, and New York state dental public health residency program director. His role as program director and manager has been defined by a strong commitment to elevating oral health as a priority in the state’s health agenda. Working with partners and stakeholders, Dr. Kumar has advanced innovative solutions to guide statewide programs and policies.

Jeannette Diaz

Jeannette Diaz is dually licensed as a Registered Dental Hygienist and a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice. She holds a master’s degree in dental hygiene and a master’s degree in public health. Jeannette has over 14 years of clinical dental hygiene experience which also includes owning and operating a portable dental hygiene practice. Jeannette has experience working with individuals with complex medical needs, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and older adults. She has been actively involved with dental hygiene leadership at the local, state, and national level. Jeannette currently works as a dental liaison for the California Department of Developmental Services.

Dr. Jeannette Burkhardt Pino

Jeannette Burkhardt Pino, Ph.D. is Senior Supervising Psychologist at the Department of Developmental Services, providing program development, leadership, and supervision of the Clinical Services Branch in the Office of Statewide Clinical Services. She has worked in developmental disabilities for 15 years, beginning with her tenure at Fairview Developmental Center, Costa Mesa, where, among other responsibilities, she was Clinical Lead in the Adolescent Unit, the Autism Unit, and the Medical Behavioral Unit. Before leading the DDS Clinical Services Branch, Dr. Burkhardt Pino provided oversight, management and program development of the DDS Enhanced Behavioral Support Homes, and Community Crisis Homes Statewide Program.  She has specialized training as a Health psychologist, having completed her doctoral internship at Long Beach Memorial Hospital Family Medicine.  She completed a post-doctoral associate position at University of CA Irvine, performing clinical research with the Pritzker-Conte Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium. Dr. Burkhardt Pino has specialized training in traumatic stress and neurodevelopmentally informed approaches to trauma.

Dr. Margaret Delmore

Margaret Delmore, MD, DDS a recently appointed Dental Program Consultant to the California Department of Healthcare Services, Medi-cal Dental Services brings to the table a robust educational background as a physician, dentist, and pharmacist. Furthermore, she is affiliated with various hospital systems in the Sacramento area including, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, Mercy General Hospital – Dignity Health, Sacramento and Kaiser Hospitals, Roseville and South Sacramento and  volunteering on Sutter’s Craniofacial Team.  As a clinician her mission was quality, compassionate care.  As a public servant her mission is aligned with the DHCS’ mission to provide Californian’s with access to affordable, integrated, high-quality health care, with a vision to preserve and improve the overall health and well-being of all Californians.

Brianna Pittman-Spencer

Brianna Pittman-Spencer is the California Dental Association’s Government Affairs Director, leading the legislative and regulatory advocacy team since 2015. For over a decade, she has worked in state level governmental advocacy on a wide range of high profile health care policy issues, including expanding access to women’s reproductive care, implementation of health care reform, and increasing Medicaid funding and access. Brianna holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from San Diego State University and a Masters of Public Administration from the USC Price School of Public Policy.

Please fill out the evaluation after you have completed the course in order to receive CDE credits.