Burton Edelstein

Burton Edelstein

Burton Edelstein

Professor Emeritus
Dental Medicine (Pediatric Dentistry) and Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University Medical Center


601 West 168th Street, Suite 32
New York NY USA 10032
Website address: Email:


Dr. Burton L. Edelstein is a board-certified pediatric dentist and professor of dentistry and public health at Columbia University, where he is Chairman of the Section on Social and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Dental Medicine. His is founding director of the Children's Dental Health Project, a DC-based organization that promotes federal and state policies and programs to improve children's oral health equity. At CDHP, he is Director of the National Oral Health Policy Center supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Dr. Edelstein practiced pediatric dentistry in Connecticut and taught at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine for 21 years before committing to a full-time health policy position. With primary responsibilities for SCHIP, he served as a 1996-7 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in the office of U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. He worked with the US Department of Health and Human Services on its oral health initiatives from 1998 to 2001, chaired the US Surgeon General's Workshop on Children and Oral Health, and authored the child section of the US Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health in America. Dr. Edelstein is a graduate of Harpur College, SUNY Buffalo School of Dentistry, Harvard School of Public Health, and the Boston Children's Hospital pediatric dentistry residency program. His work has been recognized by awards from a number of organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the American College of Dentists.



MPH, 1977, Harvard University
DDS, 1972, SUNY Buffalo
BA, 1968, SUNY Binghamton

Other Affiliations

Founding President, Children's Dental Health Project of Washington, DC 1997-present
Chair, U.S. Surgeon General's Workshop on Children and Oral Health, 2000
Dental Consultant, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1997-2001
Commissioner, Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission

Honors & Awards

American College of Dentists Distinguished Service Award, 2003
Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors' Service Award, 1999
Harvard School of Dental Medicine Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2001
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Pediatric Dentist of the Year Award, 1998
American Association of Public Health Dentistry, Distinguished Service Award, 2009

Areas of Expertise

Child Health and Development, Disparities / Inequalities in Health, Poverty, Healthcare Policy, State and Local Reform Models, Dental and Oral Health

Select Urban Health Activities

Community Based Dental Partnership Program: This HIV/AIDS dental program is a federally-sponsored cooperative project between Columbia University and the Harlem United AIDS Center. It provides dental resident training and direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS who have complex social and medical comorbidities.
Leadership Training in Pediatric Dentistry: This federally sponsored (Maternal and Child Health Bureau) health professional training program, expands upon the New York Presbyterian Hospital's training of pediatric dentists by coordinating services through Head Start Centers and by stimulating community engagement by trainees.

Select Global Activities

Global Childrens Dental Health Taskforce: Founded in 2006, this international program seeks to reduce the incidence of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) through application of recognized preventive and disease management approaches. The ultimate goal is eradication of ECC.

Select Publications

Edelstein BL, Vargas C, Candelaria C, Vemuri M. Experience and Public Policy Implications of Children Presenting with Dental Emergencies to US Pediatric Dental Training Programs. Pediatr Dent 28 431-437 2007
Edelstein B Public policy considerations in adopting a mandatory post graduate year Journal of Dental Education 63 644-67 1999
Edelstein BL. Conceptual frameworks for understanding system capacity in the care of people with special health care needs. Pediatr Dent 29 108-16 2007
Edelstein BL State options in contracting dental care in Medicaid CT Health Foundation (www.cthealth.org) Connecticut Health Foundation 2003
Edelstein BL Dental care considerations for young children Special Care Dentistry 22 11S-25S 2002
Edelstein BL Disparities in oral health and access to care: findings of national surveys Ambulatory Pediatrics 2 2002
Edelstein BL External forces impacting U.S. healthcare: implications for future dental practice Journal of the American College of Dentists 69 39-43 2002
Manski RJ, Edelstien BL, Moeller JF The impact of insurance coverage on children's dental visits and expenditures Journal of the American Dental Association 132 1137-45 2001
Edelstein BL Access to dental care for Head Start enrollees Journal of Public Health Dentistry 60 221-9 2000
Zavras T, Edelstein B, Vamvakidis T Health care savings from microbiologic caries risk screening of toddlers: a cost estimation model Journal of Public Health Dentistry 60 182-8 2000
Bailit H, Edelstein B, Tinanoff N Public financing of dental care: impact and policy implications Journal of Dental Education 63 882-89 1999
Edelstein B, and Douglass C Dispelling the cavity free myth Public Health Reports 110 522-530 1995

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