Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah Orthodontist, Activist, Successful Gadfly Somerville Massachusetts
WHILE MOST orthodontists focus on reshaping their patients’ mouths, Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah has been working to reshape the dental industry itself. His push for a dramatic change in how dental-coverage companies pay out benefits-Via his successful 2022 Massachusetts ballot initiative, Question 2-is just the latest in a string of battles this orthodontist has fought to improve care for patients.
Not only has Dr. Rizkallah initiated Question 2 and filed numerous lawsuits against MassHealth, which oversees the Bay State’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – he also helped pay for these efforts, including the more than $3 million he reports to have spent on the ballot initiative (see “Profits, Politics… Patients*). “I’m heavily invested in real estate and whatnot,” Dr. Rizkallah, 48, says. “This is not financially oriented. I’m life purpose. oriented, and I use money as artillery. That’s really what it is. I’m trying to do things that are meaningful to me.”
Now based in Somerville, Massachusetts, just across the river from Boston, Dr. Rizkallah grew up in what he describes as the “hardworking blue-collar town” of Port Jervis, New York. He married his high school sweetheart. “She and I have been together for 33 years,” he says. “She was my pastor’s kid.”
After earning separate undergraduate degrees in biology and business management at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a dental degree at SUNY Stony Brook, on Long Island, Dr. Rizkallah did his residency in the Boston area and never left. He opened his first orthodontic practice in Somerville’s Davis Square, eventually expanding to five.