Dr. Katherine Weno who heads the Bureau of Oral Health for the State of Kansas, has been selected as the new director of the division of oral health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Her 22-year medical and public health career has focused on oral health practice and promotion, public health dentistry, and legal and policy issues at the heart of making oral health available for all, especially the most vulnerable populations.
Dr. Weno has served as an advisor to state and local governments, agency staff, oral health professionals, and the general public on the science of oral health, including community water fluoridation, evidence-based dentistry, dental public health, dental education, infection control, Medicaid, and access-to-care interventions. Under her leadership, oral health activities in Kansas expanded from a single employee working within a branch in another bureau to a free-standing bureau that directs oral health programs in 88 of Kansas’ 105 counties.
Dr. Weno received her DDS in 1991 from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She was licensed by the Iowa Board of Dental Examiners in 1991 and the Kansas Dental Board in 2006. She received her JD in 1999 from the University of Iowa College of Law and is a member of the Iowa Bar (1999-present), the Missouri Bar (2001-present), and the Kansas Bar (2006-present). She was in private dental practice from 1991 through 2000, and she began her legal career in 2001 as an attorney before providing legal aid to HHS’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program in Missouri from 2001 to 2006. In 2006 she joined the Kansas health department.
On the national level, Dr. Weno has been a member of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD’s) Board of Directors for two years and currently serves as treasurer of the organization. She is a mentor for new state Dental Directors and oral health program staff in ASTDD’s mentorship program and is the chair of the ASTDD Leadership Committee.