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.