Gayle Mathe, R.D.H., B.A.

John P. Rossetti Community Oral Health Impact Award 2020 Recipient

Gayle Mathe, B.A.

Throughout her 40-year career, Gayle Mathe has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving the oral health of the public, especially of underserved groups.

Gayle Mathe began her career as a clinical dental hygienist and continued to work in that capacity for 20 years. This afforded her practical, hands-on experience in all aspects of the function of a dental office, dynamics of the dental team, and evolution of the delivery of care for patients. She has also worked on various aspects of oral health care education, policy, and legislation.

Gayle Mathe serves in the role of community health policy and programs director for the California Dental Association (CDA), where she has worked since 2003. In her multiple roles at CDA, she has advocated for and developed significant public policy issues around dentistry. In addition, she was a key regulatory advocate to the Dental Board of California for a decade. Nearly every issue related to laws, rules, and regulations in dentistry in California over the past 20 years has benefitted from her influence.

Throughout California, Gayle Mathe has successfully worked with several municipalities to ensure that residents receive the health benefits of fluoridated community water. Her advocacy and work on this issue affects almost 40 million California residents daily. Some of the programs and initiatives in California that she has been involved with include:

  • Establishment of the California dental director position

  • Establishment of a 10-year California oral health plan

  • Establishment of oral health screening of children in kindergarten

  • Establishment of standards for pediatric dental anesthesia

  • Advocacy for increased reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal oral health services

  • Establishment of virtual dental home (teledentistry)

  • Management of CAMBRA: Caries Management By Risk Assessment development

  • Establishment of a program to increase access to oral health care for children and older adults

Gayle Mathe’s extraordinary work in dental public health, her leadership and consensus-building skills, and her demonstration of innovative thinking in implementing policies and practices in the community, as well has her service at the local, state, and national levels, has resulted in significant improvement in the oral health, and, in turn, in the overall health of underserved groups in California as well as the rest of the country.


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