Groundbreaking gift will launch the Dr. Michael Apa Scholarship Fund in Oral Population Health

Feb. 9, 2021

Cosmetic dentist and philanthropist Dr. Michael Apa has pledged $350,000 to establish a new focus on the intersection of oral health and population health. This investment will support a new scholarship fund for 10 students who aspire to address significant research gaps in the area of oral population health.

“New York is my home and, while I have always been invested in its success, making a deeper pledge feels more important now than ever before.  My energy is in giving back as a long-term investment for long term results, in a category that is close to my heart, and to a community that shares my commitment to New York,” said Dr. Michael Apa, DDS.  “Oral health is a critical issue, demanding deeper examination and thoughtful action.  I know CUNY SPH is fit for the challenge and am proud to invest in the next generation of New York’s public health professionals.” 

“The absence of routine and regular dental care is a root cause of many chronic diseases, and its origins can be traced back to many inequities including race, income, and education,” said Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean of CUNY SPH. “Despite the pervasiveness of negative oral health among populations, no other school in New York is emphasizing this as a domain of study. Dr. Apa’s vision, generosity and commitment to public health is changing that reality.”

Fueling Innovation in Oral Population Health

The Dr. Michael Apa Scholarship Fund in Oral Population Health will be CUNY SPH’s first named scholarship in a new domain within the school. Beginning fall 2021 and continuing in spring 2022, 10 Apa Scholars will receive full scholarship to study oral population health within one of the school’s four departments to earn an MPH degree. This new pilot program will benefit from the guidance and leadership of Distinguished Professor of Epidemiology Luisa Borrell, DDS, PhD.

“The lack of focus on issues related to oral health at the population level highlights a significant gap in the education of public health and an area of need in public health practice,” said Dr. Borrell. “We are elated that Dr. Apa has chosen to invest in CUNY SPH to establish this program. These students will be at the core of fighting inequities in oral healthcare, researching, and promoting new interventions to improve the oral health of communities.”

“This is a novel idea and Dr. Apa’s vision for integrating his passion for dentistry with the needs of populations impacted by inadequate access to oral healthcare is refreshing,” said Dr. Lyndon Haviland, Chairman of the CUNY SPH Foundation Board of Directors. “New York City’s communities need better dental care. Most people will not take action until there is something truly wrong, and then they go to the emergency room, putting unnecessary pressure on our healthcare system. Educating students in oral population health will address social determinants of health. This is a win for CUNY SPH students and a win for New York City.”

“CUNY SPH students are representative of our community as life-long city residents and many are products of the CUNY undergraduate system,” said Adam M. Doyno, CUNY SPH Foundation Executive Director. “Their impact on public health resonates deeply within the five boroughs, as more than 80 percent of our students remain in New York City to live and work after they graduate. There is an incredible alignment of spirit and intent, but also a passion for our city, a commitment to hard work and courage to break new ground. Dr. Apa and our students share so many qualities that make this partnership a natural fit. We applaud Dr. Apa’s philanthropic spirit and investment in our students.”

About Dr. Apa

Dr. Michael Apa, DDS, is one of the leading cosmetic dentists in the field today with offices in New York City, Dubai and Los Angeles.  An industry pioneer, he developed Facial Aesthetic Design (FAD), an approach to crafting and fitting porcelain veneers that considers a patient’s facial framework when creating a smile treatment plan.  In 2014, he founded Apa Beauty, an innovative line of oral care cosmetics, combining the latest advances in oral care research with quality ingredients and streamlined design.


The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to teaching, research, and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient, and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world. Located in Harlem, CUNY SPH is the top-ranked public school of public health in New York City, New York State, and the tristate region.

About the CUNY SPH Foundation

The CUNY SPH Foundation’s mission is to advance the achievement of CUNY SPH’s mission, vision, and values as New York City’s public school of public health through fundraising, building strategic partnerships and providing services as a champion for the school’s students as they embark on public health careers and its faculty as they work to educate the next generation of public health professionals.

For more information, contact:
Barbara Aaron

Diana Sokal