50 Notable Alumni

Michelle Gross-Panico

Dental Clinical Practice Consultant with United Healthcare

Accociate in Applied Science

Dental Hygiene


After receiving her degree at Parkland, Michelle continued on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from Northern Arizona University; a Master of Administration with Emphasis in Health Promotion from Northern Arizona University, and a Doctorate of Health Sciences with Emphasis in Global Health from Nova Southeastern University.

Michelle’s achievements include establishing a school-based dental care clinic in partnership with the local hospital, contribution to the development of legislation that increased access to oral health care in Arizona; development of a pathway for direct reimbursement for dental hygienists in Arizona; and teaching public health concepts and facilitating dental and dental hygiene students serving the community through the development of service-learning programs.

Michelle was a faculty member with ATSU ASDOH from 2006 to 2016 and is currently employed by United Healthcare Community Plan.  She is the first Dental Clinical Practice Consultant that United Healthcare has ever employed.  Michelle works with medical and dental offices to increase utilization of oral health services in Arizona through interprofessional collaboration, innovative workforce models, and incentive payments.  She is dedicated to administering programs that meet the oral health needs of underserved populations. In September of 2011, the Arizona Public Health Association presented Michelle with the Commitment to Underserved People award.

Michelle’s most memorable moment as a student at Parkland College was when her Community Dental Health instructor, Ms. Peg Boyce, took the class to a local elementary school.  The purpose of the visit was to observe a school-based portable dental program provide dental sealants to schoolchildren.  This experience introduced Michelle to non-traditional methods of delivering dental services and sparked her desire to increase access to oral health care in public health settings.