Skip to content

Lorel Burns, DDS, MS Endodontist, Appointed as CMS Oral Health Policy Fellow

In a recent interview with Dr. Lorel Burns and AAE Communications staff, she discussed her upcoming fellowship with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Beginning in September 2023, Dr. Burns will be serving as the CMS Oral Health Policy Fellow, working for Dr. Natalia Chalmers, the first-ever Chief Dental Officer in the CMS Office of the Administrator.

The CMS Oral Health Policy Fellowship aims to advance oral health policy initiatives and enhance access to care for individuals across the United States. While the fellowship is not new, Dr. Burns is breaking new ground as the first endodontist to hold this prestigious position.

Dr. Burns expressed her excitement about working with Dr. Chalmers, who brings extensive experience in clinical research and policy development to the role. Dr. Burns is eager to support the development and implementation of the CMS oral health vision, focusing on increasing value-based care and access to dental services. Dr. Burns will analyze oral health data and healthcare utilization, providing valuable insights to inform policy decisions regarding value-based care and dentistry.

During the interview, Dr. Burns shared her journey and passion for oral health policy. Her interest in this field developed during her undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she delved into oral health policy and healthcare markets. Her perspective on dental care and access was shaped during the height of the debate on healthcare reform and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Combining her interest in increasing access to oral healthcare with her understanding of healthcare policy, Dr. Burns embarked on a career that aimed to connect her research and service interests with the practice of endodontics.

Dr. Burns has been researching the provision and outcomes of endodontic treatment in pediatric populations, with a focus on disparities in root canal therapy based on race/ethnicity, and dental insurance payer type. Her goal is to address gaps in coverage for endodontic procedures, such as apexogenesis, apexification, and revascularization, which persist in both public and private payer insurers. By advocating for increased coverage, Dr. Burns hopes to ensure that innovative procedures which can greatly benefit patients, receive the attention and support they deserve.

Dr. Burns is an Assistant Professor at New York University College of Dentistry, where she is a full-time educator. She maintains a part-time private practice. She manages her multiple roles by compartmentalizing her schedule, dedicating specific days to research and clinical work. This approach allows her to maintain focus and balance while juggling various responsibilities.

When asked about her personal interests, Dr. Burns shared her love for exploring the culinary scene in New York City with her husband. She enjoys discovering new restaurants and cooking at home. In her downtime, she finds solace in a community garden she joined a year ago, which provides a much-needed outdoor oasis in the bustling city.