Deb Jacobi with Award

Apple Tree Policy Director, Deb Jacobi, Wins MnDHA Member of the Year

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Apple Tree is pleased to announce that Deborah Jacobi, MA, RDH (also known as Deb!) has been awarded Minnesota Dental Hygienists Association’s Member of the Year.  Deb is Apple Tree Dental’s Policy Director.

From the MnDHADeb is a member of the MnDHA Southern Component. She is poster woman for advocating for our mission, our goals and our patients in Minnesota and across the country.


Over the years she has collaborated with many of our MnDHA members. Deb and I have worked together on policy issues in the past, but most recently, very closely on some important initiatives that MnDHA has promoted with the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Dental Services Advisory Committee of the Department of Human Services. The success of our efforts would not have been realized without the efforts of Deb and her dedication to the enhancement of Collaborative Dental Hygiene Practice in Minnesota. Most recently, she assisted in promoting legislation that added periodontal therapy to the Medicaid nonpregnant adult benefit set as well as other positive administrative changes in Medicaid services.

Deb has held many leadership positions within oral health care and for over fifteen years as the Policy Director for Apple Tree Dental, a non-profit organization committed to providing healthcare for people with special access needs, including low-income children and families, long-term care residents and people with disabilities. Dr. Mike Helgeson, CEO of that organization, describes some her accomplishments:

  • A tireless advocate for Critical Access Providers throughout Minnesota,
  • Apple Tree’s leader in advocating the use of Silver Diamine Fluoride, motivating and educating providers,
  • Has helped build community solutions to dental access (e.g. a partnership with the Mayo Clinic),
  • Is a strategic thinker and case maker helping advance the Advanced Dental Therapist across the country,
  • An inspired leader in research, and
  • Key to developing innovation strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic, including launching direct to patient teledentistry and relaunching on-site services in long-term care.


Deb holds a bachelor degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration in addition to her degree in Dental Hygiene. She was a clinician for many years, office manager for Pilot City Health Center in Minneapolis as well as the Indian Health Board and Dental Clinic Supervisor for the Uptown Clinic. 
The list goes on. Her contributions to public health are too numerous to mention.  She is a role model for all of us who strive to improve the oral health outcomes in Minnesota.

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