Episode 106 – Dental Therapy Part 2 – Founding and Current Director of the Minnesota Dental Therapy Program – Dr. Karl Self

In Part 2 of the Dental Therapy Series Dr. Zeller interviews Dr. Karl Self, the founding and current director of the University of Minnesota Dental Therapy Program. Dr. Self has spent most of his life in Minnesota, developing a thorough understanding of the access issues for Minnesotans. He is an expert in the dental therapy model and believes it is the best available solution for meeting unmet dental needs in his state. Dr. Zeller and Dr. Self discuss the following issues:

  • Defining access to care

  • Health literacy

  • Minnesota’s access problems

  • Reimbursement rates

  • Implementing dental therapy into the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

  • Dentists in Minnesota opposing the dental therapy model

  • Standard of Care

  • Where dental therapists can practice

  • Dental therapists taking jobs from dentists

  • Measuring success in dental therapy

  • Response to Dr. Robert Roda’s editorial

  • Organized dentistry opposing dental therapy

  • Teaching dental therapy and dental students side by side

  • Advise for dental students

Dr Self earned his DDS degree from the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry, and a MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. During his professional career he has been engaged in a variety of dental practice types including private practice and large group practice, yet he has spent most of his professional life in a community clinic. Other professional roles include a consultant for the Department of Human Services’ Medical Assistance program, the director of Diversity and Inclusivity for the School of Nursing, and executive director of a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center in Minneapolis. Dr Self serves on the board of a number of non-profit dental focused organizations and has been involved in improving oral healthcare in Africa.

Episode 102 – Dr. Anthony Palatta – The Future of Dental Education and Fear of Change

In the next episode Dr. Anthony Palatta discusses his project aimed at adapting to the changes facing dental education.


Dr. Anthony Palatta is the Chief Learning Officer at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) in Washington, DC. where he leads and implements strategic initiatives designed to improve teaching and learning, support curriculum innovation, support the use of effective curriculum assessment tools, and promote the use of technology in teaching.

Previously, Dr. Palatta was the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Academic Support at New York University, College of Dentistry. He received his DDS from New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD), after which he performed clinical dentistry both in private practice and in a community hospital setting. He joined his dental alma mater, NYUCD in 1992 as a clinical associate professor. His interest in his student’s personal and professional development led to him instituting the Office for Student Retention at NYUCD in 1999 where he served as the director. In 2006, Dr. Palatta was named Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions, also at NYUCD. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Palatta co-wrote and taught cultural awareness programming for dental students.