March 08, 2021

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services names state’s new laboratory and oral health leaders


For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2021

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has named Guy Deyton, DDS, the State Dental Director, and Laura Naught, Ph.D., the Director of the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory (MSPHL). Both assumed their positions on March 1, 2021.

“Dr. Deyton and Dr. Naught are truly subject matter experts that bring years of expertise and experience to their roles that will make us, and all of Missouri, better,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. 

Dr. Deyton will develop and oversee core public health activities aimed at improving oral health in Missouri. He has over 36 years of working in the dental industry, most recently working in general and comprehensive dentistry in Kansas City North. He graduated from UMKC School of Dentistry and completed postgraduate training at Dwight D. Eisenhower Veterans Administration Hospital, which included dental sedation, dental implants, and reconstructive prosthodontics.

Deyton recently served as regional coordinator for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program for dental healthcare workers in the Greater Kansas City area. He previously served on the Missouri Dental Board and as president of the Missouri Dental Association. He has been awarded “Missouri Dentist of the Year” twice.    

Additionally, Deyton is the original author/editor of a training program for dental assistants used throughout the state and has authored numerous other professional articles and training manuals.  He is a member of The American Dental Association, the American College of Dentists, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Equilibration Society (an organization devoted to treatment of difficult TMJ, jaw and bite problems).

Deyton replaces John Dane, DDS, FAAHD, DABSCD, FACD, who retired on Feb. 1, 2021. While State Dental Director, Dane was able to capture two new grants to help improve Missourian’s oral health and the oral health workforce. These grants brought Missouri to the forefront of telehealth and became one of the first states to bring teledentistry to schools. Dane also oversaw the first ever-screening survey among individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in order to give better clarity to the oral health of that population. Over the five years of Dane’s tenure, the number of schoolchildren participating in the Preventive Services Program has grown by 9% and the decay rate among those children decreased by over 2%. Dane coordinated the creation and completion of COVID-19 infection control protocols for the dental community during the pandemic in order to ensure a safe dental experience for both the dental community and their patients. He has been awarded the Oral Champion award from the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health numerous times and the Missouri Dental Association’s Dentist of the Year for 2020.

Leading the MSPHL is now Dr. Laura Naught who has over 16 years of experience at the laboratory. Naught is a board certified toxicological chemist. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has held positions of chemist, quality systems officer, supervisor over all laboratory testing units and laboratory CLIA director. Naught has previously worked as a research specialist in the University of Missouri’s biochemistry department. 

The Missouri State Public Health Laboratory has been a designated CDC Laboratory Response Network (LRN) laboratory since the inception of the national program in 1999. The LRN is an integrated network of state and local public health, federal, military, and international laboratories that can respond to bioterrorism, chemical terrorism and other public health emergencies through training, rapid testing, timely notification and secure messaging of laboratory results.

About seven million tests are performed in the MSPHL annually. Approximately 300,000 mailing kits are assembled and distributed each year for the return of specimens from hospitals and private laboratories as well as city, county and district health offices. The MSPHL also functions as a reference lab for medical laboratories in the state and confirms results or completes organism identification.

Naught succeeds Bill Whitmar who will retire on June 1. Whitmar, who has served as the MSPHL director for more than 10 years, will be dual filling the position with Naught until his retirement. Whitmar began his career with the MSPHL in 1989 as the Breath Alcohol Program Director. He later served as a laboratory information technologist, a laboratory manager and then as the deputy laboratory director before becoming director in 2010. Whitmar currently serves in a national role as the president of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and his laboratory knowledge has assisted public health laboratories throughout the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Dr. Dane and Mr. Whitmar are Missouri treasures as recognized by their peers as Missouri Dental Association’s Dentist of the Year and President of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, respectively,” said Williams. “We are grateful for their many years of devoted service to Missouri.”