Health Policy

Susan McKernan

  • Research Fellow in Residence, Health Policy Research Program
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry


Susan McKernan is an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. Dr. McKernan attended dental school at the University of Florida and received her M.S. in dental public health from the University of Iowa, where her thesis was awarded the 2010 University of Iowa L.B. Sims Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award. She completed a Ph.D. in in oral science in 2012, focusing in health services research, and is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health. Dr. McKernan is currently involved in the Public Policy Center’s evaluation of Iowa’s Medicaid expansion, where she focuses on health care workforce adequacy and utilization of preventive health services. Other ongoing research projects that she is involved with explore barriers to dental care among health disparity populations and longitudinal monitoring of state dentist workforce.

Research Interests

  • Health workforce distribution
  • Behavior models of health care utilization
  • Access to dental care for vulnerable populations
  • GIS in oral health research

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Iowa, Oral Science, 2012
  • M.S., University of Iowa, Dental Public Health, 2009
  • D.M.D., University of Florida, 2004
  • B.S., University of Florida, Zoology, 1999