2021 John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health

Please join the American Public Health Association’s Oral Health Section in congratulating the 2021 John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health recipient:  

Jayanth V. Kumar, DDS, MPH

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.

Dr. Kumar's role as state dental 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 in California and New York. Throughout his career, he has combined administrative, research and teaching responsibilities. His contributions include developing school-based interventions, case management models, technical assistance centers, and professional training programs. In addition, he was influential in formulating the guidelines for fluorides, sealants, dental care for pregnant women, and infection control in dental offices. His efforts to bring about system-level change in the care of pregnant patients in perinatal and dental practices by developing guidelines, standards, and partnerships have been emulated by several state and national organizations.

Dr. Kumar has conducted many research studies to assess the impact of community water fluoridation. In addition, he has served on many national and international expert panels, including the National Research Council of the National Academies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association, and Health Canada.

Dr. Kumar is a board-certified specialist in dental public health and a former director and president of the American Board of Dental Public Health. He earned a Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, a dental degree from Bangalore University, and a post-graduate certificate in dental public health from the New York State Department of Health.

John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health

This award has been presented each year since 1982 to honor an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to improve oral health in the United States. Its recipients have demonstrated sustained and exemplary accomplishments in the field of dental public health.

Please join us as we present Dr. Kumar with this prestigious award during the Oral Health Section Awards Ceremony at the APHA Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 24th from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CST), please make plans to attend the Annual Meeting and support the Oral Health Section. The full Oral Health Section Annual Meeting program is available here: https://apha.confex.com/apha/2021/meetingapp.cgi/Program/2093. Registration to the Annual Meeting is required to join this event. Register here: https://apha.org/Events-and-Meetings/Annual/Registration-Information