Member Spotlight



LIDHA is now hosting our “Sunday Spotlight” to show appreciation for our members. If you’d like to nominate a LIDHA member to be featured in our Member Spotlight, please message us through Facebook or Instagram @lidha_rdh. We look forward to hearing from you! Stay tuned!



November 22nd Spotlight:

Today we are celebrating LIDHA member Alex Turrigiano! Alex graduated top of her class with an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene in 2015 from Briarcliffe College. She was the recipient of the Compassionate Caregiver Award and has since earned a reputation among her patients as a gentle and empathetic hygienist genuinely invested in their total health. Alex is a knowledgeable, kindhearted, and enthusiastic dental clinician. She is well educated in oral pathology, administering & buffering local anesthesia, nitrous oxide conscious sedation, and has several years of advanced periodontal surgical experience. She is especially good with apprehensive patients and her contagious sense of humor quickly puts patients at ease. Alex assisted on a mobile dental van that treated patients of underserved communities, veteran homes, homeless shelters, detention facilities, orphanages, and foster agencies. Alex says: “My favorite part of dental hygiene is educating patients. Providers must place an emphasis on patient education to enhance patient experience, facilitate comprehensive choices during treatment planning, assist in better long-term restorative options and ultimately urge patients be more prophylactic with their oral health. I love seeing the patients evolve. The instant gratification of a periodontal maintenance to the overall patient transformation begins with a better understanding of their oral health.”


November 29th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Stephanie Cerrone! We asked Stephanie to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Stephanie said: “I am honored and humbled to be nominated! Why I love being a hygienist. Who doesn’t love wearing pajamas all day? I graduated Farmingdale in 2010. After all these years, I have kept a close circle of friends that I met through the hygiene program. We have become more than hygiene buddies. I am forever grateful for that group of girls. I am happily at my office 8 and a half years located in Roslyn; I think that makes up why I love my job. I am blessed to have a great staff to work with. In my office I utilize the intra oral camera to really show patients what I see and how they can work achieving their own goals. The gratification of taking off calculus never gets old. Especially when the patients can see the before and after – their minds are blown! When I am not practicing hygiene, I enjoy cooking/baking, having gamenights and Yelping. I also can’t wait to get back to traveling! Currently I am married 3 years and we have 2 cats, Callie and Sassy. This picture was taken on the rhumbarge in front of Cowfish out East.”


December 6th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Carol Donohue! We asked Carol to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Carol said: “I have been a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist for over 20 years. My dental career started in 11th grade at BOCES when I enrolled in the Dental Assisting program. Being in the program grew my passion for Dentistry and for helping people. My Dental Assisting teacher inspired me to become a dental hygienist and also ignited my interest in becoming a secondary education teacher. My favorite part about being a dental hygienist is being able to provide oral hygiene instructions that is individualized and tailored to my patients’ needs. I love that it’s not one size fits all. I also enjoying giving back to our profession by teaching in a clinical setting at Farmingdale State College and by volunteering at events like Give Kids a smile. I look back at my decision to become a dental hygienist and an educator with a grateful heart. I will never forget the many mentors I’ve had who shaped me along the way. Let’s not forget about the sweet and kind patients that I have met along the way, and the many memories I’ve made over my time as a dental hygienist thus far. Being a Dental Hygienist makes you a life-long learner and that is by far the best part about our profession… we never stop growing!”


December 13th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Donna Catapano-Martinez! We asked Donna to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Donna Catapano-Martinez said: “My passion for dental hygiene has led down a road that allows me to do what I love most every day, educating people. I have had the pleasure of improving patient’s health in private practice for over 20 years and as a hygiene educator for 19. Currently, I teach full-time in the Department of Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting at NYU College of Dentistry and continue to service patients in private practice on Long Island. I also love to volunteer my time in the community, especially at Give Kids a Smile. Dental hygiene has afforded me the opportunity to work for a large dental manufacturer, provide continuing education courses, author several articles for dental and dental hygiene journals, peer review articles and textbooks, and even author a textbook chapter. However, what I cherish most about working in this field is the ability to instill that same passion in my students that I have for promoting oral health and overall well-being of others, as well as the long-standing rapport I have established with patients and coworkers over the years.”


December 20th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Monica Jenkins! We asked Monica to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. She said: “I graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Farmingdale State College in May 2019. I received the Hu-Friedy Golden Scaler Award during my pinning ceremony and, in the Spring of 2019, graduated on the President’s List. I am currently continuing my education in the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program at Farmingdale State College. My love for the dental field started early on during my high school years when I had the opportunity to work as a dental assistant for a well-known periodontist. Being able to put a smile on a patient’s face made me want to further my knowledge in the dental field, but I wanted to have a more personal connection with the patient, which is why I chose the rewarding career path of dental hygiene. After graduation, I was able to find my home away from home in a general dental practice in Commack. My favorite part of being a dental hygienist is being to educate patients on oral-systemic health. Often patients aren’t aware of the connection between oral conditions and one’s medical health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Emphasizing the importance of proper oral care and improving patients’ oral habits to enhance their general health.”


December 27th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Chelsey Proffe! We asked Chelsey to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Chelsey started her collegiate career at Suffolk County Community College. Here she graduated with an Associate of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree. She always knew she wanted to be in the healthcare field however was not sure of what area would be best for her. In her last semester at Suffolk while at an annual Dentist appointment, the Dentist mentioned that her last name, pronounced “Proffee” was the same word for “Prophy”, a treatment that is performed by a dental hygienist. Intrigued and curious she then sought an opportunity to shadow a hygienist and found it was just the field she was looking for. Chelsey graduated with an Associate of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene at Farmingdale State College in 2013. She was an active member of SADHA and upon graduating received The John Oppie McCall Award for demonstrating exceptional clinical ability in periodontics. Soon after graduation, Chelsey began working in a private practice located in Commack where she still is today. While continuing to work full-time, she went back to school and completed Farmingdale’s Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene. Throughout her practice Chelsey has found what she values the most is the relationships she forms with her patients and finds educating them about the interrelation between their oral health and their overall health to be imperative. She enjoys having the opportunity to see all different types of patients, from children to geriatric. In 2016 Chelsey was designated the head of hygiene position at her office, where her responsibilities include coordinating quarterly hygiene meetings, researching new products and practices, as well as setting up continuing education courses. Last year she had the opportunity to put together a children’s dental education presentation for Northeast’s elementary first grade classes and organized her office to participate in the 5k Oral Cancer Run/Walk. Chelsey believes continuing education is key, she loves learning and challenging herself. Though at times she finds it difficult honing new skills she realizes it is a necessary evil and will only make her a better hygienist in the end. Recently she took a part time position in a periodontal office in Rockville Centre to gain more experience and grow her clinical abilities. Chelsey is currently working towards completing her Master’s in Public Health through the University at Albany’s accredited program, starting off with their Certificate in Public Health Fundamentals and Principles (CPH-FP) program. Chelsey is proud of where she is professionally and personally. She is looking forward to getting married in December 2021 and is excited about planning for a future home and family. After seven years of working as a dental hygienist, Chelsey is grateful for all the opportunities the dental hygiene field has presented to her and looks forward to what the future may hold.


January 3rd Spotlight:

For this Sunday Spotlight, we are celebrating LIDHA member Domenica Carrasco! We asked Domenica to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Domenica Carrasco said: “I graduated from the first school of dental hygiene in the world, the Fones School of Dental Hygiene, in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. It is an honor to be recognized by the association. Despite my short time in the field thus far, I have grown as a clinician tremendously. It is truly remarkable the amount of learning and improvements one can have while treating patients day in and day out as a clinician. The best part of being a dental hygienist for me is feeling part of an integrated dental team and staff. I appreciate the way my doctors and I work together to best treat our patients with their best interest at heart. I treat my patients just as a I would treat a family member with empathy and compassion. I don’t believe in pushing treatment on patients but rather taking the time to educate them on the severity of their condition. As a student, I traveled to Costa Rica where other fellow classmates and I educated a small rural town on the importance of keeping good oral hygiene. It is the small yet meaningful encounters that make this career so rewarding.”


January 10th Spotlight:

For this Sunday Spotlight, we are celebrating LIDHA member Georgia Marinakos! We asked Georgia to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. She said: “Hi everyone!! My name is Georgia and I’m a new dental hygiene graduate! I’ve been working in the dental field for almost 8 years and have a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Sciences. My favorite part about being a dental hygienist is getting to form bonds with my patients by learning from them and teaching them all the knowledge I’ve gained these past years. I am forever grateful for all my amazing patients and am excited to continue this journey.”


January 17th Spotlight:

For this Sunday Spotlight, we are celebrating LIDHA member Harriet Goldenberg! We asked Harriet to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Harriet Birsch Goldenberg said: “I am truly honored to be nominated by LIDHA. I love our dental hygiene profession. I have been practicing dental hygiene for 44 years. I received my dental hygiene degree from NYCCC and received my BS and Master degrees from NYU. I have been an Adjunct Professor at Farmingdale State College for 36 years in the dental hygiene program. When I reflect back to my professional choices that I have made I would not have changed a thing. Dental hygiene has fulfilled my life in many ways. Practicing with my husband in our private practice and teaching at FSC is a wonderful combination. I feel blessed to work with amazing colleagues and students at FSC. Each and every one of them has given me wonderful experiences and memories. In addition to teaching in a clinical setting I enjoy mentoring students in the FSC dental hygiene bachelor degree program throughout the years. Another rewarding experience is volunteering at numerous events such as “Give Kids A Smile” and the “Head Start program”. Private practice is rewarding as well. Treating patients, motivating them, and taking care of their dental health fulfills me professionally. When I am not practicing dental hygiene or teaching, I enjoy my time babysitting my beautiful grandson and spending time with my wonderful kids and husband.”


January 24th Spotlight:

For this Sunday Spotlight, we are celebrating LIDHA member Michele Yalvac! We asked Michele to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Michele Yalvac said: “Dental hygiene was something that I fell into by accident but has been a career that has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. Over my almost 24 years in dental hygiene, I have been lucky to take my passion for helping people achieve optimal oral health and use the knowledge I have gained to help my students and fellow colleagues develop the same passion. I have been a clinical instructor at Farmingdale State College for almost 17 years and in that time, I have been lucky enough to work with so many of my mentors and role models to pass our knowledge on to the next generation of dental hygienists. I have also been a clinical educational trainer for the Kavo Kerr group for the past 13 years where I have been able to train hundreds of offices in the newest technology in digital radiography and CBCT scanning. In addition, I am lucky to work in an office where I can use my skills to help educate my patients to achieve optimal oral health. Being able to use my knowledge and skills in so many different ways has made my years in dental hygiene so rewarding and I look forward to hopefully instilling the same passion in my students.”


January 31st Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Cristina Casa-Levine! We asked Cristina Marie to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Cristina said: “I entered the field of dentistry as a dental assistant when I was 17 years old. My passion for helping others quickly grew, motivating me to pursue a career as a registered dental hygienist. The dental hygiene faculty whom I had the privilege to learn from inspired me to not only help others through clinical practice, but to become an educator. Currently, I work clinically in a general practice office and teach full-time at Farmingdale State College. Being a dental hygienist has provided me with the opportunity to work alongside outstanding individuals, volunteer at community events, author articles, conduct research, and consistently help others on many different levels. This is what I love most about the profession – the many roads you can travel. Additionally, improving patients’ oral and systemic health as well as playing a part in shaping the future of the profession is a true gift. My goal as a dental hygienist is to continually grow, make a difference, inspire others, and give back to the community and profession. I believe that for us, dental hygienists, the sky is the limit.”


February 7th Spotlight:

For this Sunday Spotlight, we are celebrating LIDHA member Susan Vogell! We asked Susan to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Susan has been an RDH for over 25 years and has been in dental hygiene education for the past 11 years. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Dental Hygiene at Farmingdale State College, where she holds the position of Sophomore Clinic Coordinator, as well as Continuing Education Director. She has published several articles and has presented at local, state, and international dental conferences. Susan is passionate about the dental hygiene profession and considers herself a lifelong learner. She is dedicated to promoting optimal oral health as well as whole body health. When not working, Susan enjoys running, photography and spending time with friends and family.


February 14th Spotlight:

For this ❤️Valentine❤️ “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Marissa Burke! We asked Marissa to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Marissa Burke said: “Hi!! Thank you to my amazing friend for nominating me and LIDHA for spotlighting me today! My name is Marissa, and I am a newly practicing dental hygienist. I am proud to say that I am a graduate from the Farmingdale State College dental hygiene program. I am currently working towards completing my Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene while working at a general practice. I enjoy the challenge of a lifetime of learning and have been working in the dental field for about 6 years. I have always had the idea that I wanted to be in a profession where I could help people. I originally thought of nursing but decided to start my journey as an orthodontic assistant. My passion for dentistry has grown ever since. I knew I wanted to do more for the patients and my thoughts soon became a reality. This journey continues to amaze me. As a new hygienist I have grown tremendously throughout my everyday practice. For me, the best part of being a dental hygienist is building relationships with patients, educating them, and helping them lead healthier lives. It is the best and most rewarding feeling when a patient is truly invested in their oral health, as this is the window to their overall health. I look forward to a long and fulfilling career as a dental hygienist. Last but not least I am excited to say that I am getting married this year in June!”


February 21st Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Allison Fody! We asked Allison to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Allison said: “I am truly humbled by my nominations and am so proud of be a part of such an amazing community of unsung heroes. I have been in the dental field for almost 20 years, a registered dental hygienist for about 13 years, and a clinical educator for the past 9 years. It all started for me as an after high school gig where I was a dental receptionist and assistant at the periodontal office my mom was a phenomenal dental assistant at since her own high school days. It didn’t take long for me to realize dentistry was where I needed to be, so I began my journey to become an RDH. My favorite part about being a dental hygienist is helping people achieve optimal oral health and informing them of the very real: oral-systemic connection. Preventive strategies and managing the periodontal disease process with my patients together as a team, all while watching that light bulb go off is the most rewarding undertaking. This profession allows you to meet people through so many different walks of life and establish unimaginable bonds of respect and gratitude within communities and throughout the world. While I love helping and educating people on an individual basis in private practice, my discovery and appreciation for sharing my passion of dental hygiene through education took my yearning to another level. I am a firm believer in lifelong learning, and I have the privilege and honor of learning from my incredible colleagues and students at Farmingdale State College every single day. I had and still have the most amazing mentors that have given me the knowledge, strength, and determination to keep growing, improving, and providing for generations to come. My goal is always to instill the confidence and abilities in my patients and students to be the best versions of themselves and to do good in this world.”


February 28th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Daniela Taranto! We asked Daniela to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Daniela said: “Thank you to Dr. Cristina Casa-Levine for your heartfelt nomination! I would NOT have made it here without you! As a very naive dental assistant at Dr. Corey L. Goldstein’s orthodontic practice, I was introduced to dental hygiene from a co-worker who informed me that a degree and licensure is required for this profession. Unsure of what career path to pursue I decided “I’ll do this while I’m figuring it out,” and so I did. Surviving the arduous yet very rewarding two-year program at Farmingdale State College in 2007, I without hesitation continued to complete my Bachelors the very next year. It was at FSC where I made lifelong friends and was introduced to some of the best educators in the field. It was with their constant support and encouragement that I again furthered my education, completing a Masters in Health Services Management in 2011. Thereafter I was able to start my family and still practice clinical hygiene, to support both my family, and my own sense of accomplishment, as well as a break away from all things home: cooking, cleaning, crying babies…you get it. Missing my Farmingdale family, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to return to my Almer Mater as an adjunct clinical instructor from 2014-2019. Working amongst those educators who motivated me and having the ability to inspire others was a beautiful experience where I continued to learn; however, this time as an educator. Persuaded once again by my peers and educators, I completed my Doctorate in Educational Leadership in May of 2020. Dental hygiene has been a great stepping stone for me. I have enjoyed almost 14 years working as a clinical dental hygienist at Dr. Joseph A. Parisi’s General Dentistry Practice in Williston Park. I have created permanent bonds with my patients and co-workers alike. Currently, I am a teaching high school seniors dental assisting full-time at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn with NYC DOE, as well as an adjunct clinical lecturer at New York City College of Technology. Being a hygienist gave me the opportunity to reach people outside of my operatory through volunteering. I have participated in educating nursery school children and seniors on their oral care. As well as providing nutritional counseling and healthier food options to Island Harvest recipients. All the while having fun doing it. A once unknown path found itself. I am grateful to the ADHA & LIDHA who continue to be our fighting voice, and all who led me to exactly where I am today.”


March 7th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Lauren Gueits! We asked Lauren to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Lauren Gueits said: “Thank you LIDHA. I am honored for this recognition and hope that by sharing my career path, I can inspire others. How do I start? How about, I love the dental hygiene profession! From an early age of 16, I was a dental assistant and quickly was “hooked on a feeling” of helping people. To me, dental hygiene was a natural progression. Being an RDH has not only given me the satisfaction of helping patients live healthier lives, it has also given me wings to grow beyond the operatory. After graduating from the State Univeristy of NY in 1991, I practiced 25 years of clinical dental hygiene (which I still enjoy today). As a clinician, this is where my passion about comprehensive care started, focusing on the Oral/Systemic Link. In 2010, I was honored to receive the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction for my work in this arena. Partnering with Colgate, Dr. Maria Ryan and Donna Jornasy, CDE, I was able to champion an oral/systemic campaign, educating medical colleagues on the bi-directional relationship between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes. I even had the opportunity to be on national television sharing how I helped discover my patient ‘s diabetes from the hygiene chair… That was exciting! I also have been fortunate to be a brand ambassador/industry key opinion leader, international speaker, and published author. In 2013, I completed the Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) Intro Course through the AOMT. Although I didn’t practice (OMT), I applied the knowledge to start my next chapter in Airway Health. In 2015, I received my BS from O’Hehir University (highly recommended!) which further broadened by opportunities in the corporate arena. From 2013-2018, I progressed from sales representative to Senior Education Manager for Align Technology creating courses for dental professionals that are still used widely today. 2018 was a pinnacle year in my career. I became an entrepreneur and never looked back! Creating solutions for airway health was a growing passion, hence the birth of my company, Airway Health Solutions. We help dental professionals implement craniofacial development and interceptive/expansive orthodontics into “daily dentistry.” I also was thrilled (and shocked) to be published in DeW Magazine encouraging other women to find their “inner entrepreneur! I never would have thought when I graduated in 1991, that as a hygienist, I would become a full- blown entrepreneur! This new chapter has also given me the opportunity to be a coach, consultant, podcaster, and social media influencer. This new arena of entrepreneurship is the perfect last chapter of my dental hygiene career. If you ever doubt the profession of dental hygiene or feel burnt out, ask yourself, how can I embrace all the opportunities the dental hygiene profession has to offer? You have so much to offer and so many options to grow outside the operatory. Just “tap in.” Feel free to DM me for support or questions would love to hear from you!”


March 14th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Stephanie Rice! We asked Stephanie to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Stephanie said: “As a young child, my mother took me to all of her dental appointments. After having me, she needed to get a lot of work done and I was there for all of it. I loved going there to see the doctor and all his staff. Finally, it was my turn to go to the dentist. My mother’s dentist didn’t see children so he sent me to a pediatric office, I hated it there, my mom told her dentist and he said as long as I would sit still, I could go there. Cindy was my hygienist, I always looked up to her and wanted to be like her, I would go home and play dentist all the time. As I got older, I realized maybe I should try to get into dental hygiene and then a few years later, there I was at Farmingdale State College at my orientation for the hygiene program. I graduated in 2019 and overall, I had a great experience; but of course, I experienced ups and downs, but I feel like my downs really have motivated me to become the hygienist I am today. I work full time as a clinician and love helping people learn how to properly take care of their smiles and explain the oral systemic relationship that most people know nothing about. Additionally, I love helping people feel comfortable in the dental chair, most patients that come into the office have dental anxiety and I wish to make the office a place they can feel comfortable at so that they will continue to come back regularly. I am currently enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program to pursue my goals of being an adjunct instructor somewhere so I can help students to the best of my ability.”


March 21st Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Marleen Azzam! We asked Marleen to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Marleen said: “I have been a dental hygienist for 12 years and have practiced in Long Island and Manhattan. I am a graduate from the dental hygiene program at Farmingdale State College where I obtained both my associates and bachelor’s degree. I am currently pursuing my doctoral degree at the University of Bridgeport’s Doctorate in Health Sciences program. What I like most about the profession as dental hygienist is that it is a meaningful career and I genuinely enjoy being a part of a healthcare team. Having a career in dental hygiene has given me the opportunity to meet amazing individuals and provide oral health care in an interactive environment. What is also wonderful about being a dental hygienist is that we are always learning and sharing knowledge. My love for learning led me on the path to become a dental hygiene educator. Currently, I teach as an assistant professor and serve the role of a clinic coordinator at Farmingdale State College’s dental hygiene program. The skills and values that I hope my students will carry with them upon leaving my class is to instill lifelong learner skills and to always put effort into what they do. I hope to continue to grow as both a dental hygienist and educator as I value the importance of my career.”


March 28th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Minelia Encarnacion! We asked Minelia to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Minelia said: “Hi, Everyone My Name is Minelia Encarnacion. I have been a Dental Hygienist for 25 years. I graduated from New York City Technology College. I have accomplished many things with this profession. Running programs for Public Health in a hospital setting such has Dental Screening for elementary schools, PCAP programs for new mothers to educate them on taking care of their infants and toddlers’ oral health and educating HIV patients under the Ryan White Grant. I also have practiced as a clinical hygienist for so many years. What I love most is educating my patients in a clinical setting or a public health setting. I love that we also learn new ways to educate and bring information to our patients. I have been truly blessed being a Dental Hygienist. I love this profession.”


April 4th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Nikki Dezendorf! We asked Nikki to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Nikki Gryffindorf said: “I am so happy and honored to be nominated for LIDHA’s spotlight; many thanks to LIDHA and my friend who nominated me! My name is Nikki, I am 31 years old. I am a 2020 graduate of the Farmingdale Dental Hygiene Associate program with a 2011 Bachelor’s in English Literature and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz…who knew? Although I have been practicing as a dental hygienist for a little under a year, I have been in the field of dentistry for nearly 10 years, previously an assistant in many fields of dentistry and sometimes a receptionist. During my time as an assistant, I mainly worked with a periodontist. Most of our patients required gum surgery due to poor oral hygiene, inconsistent dental visits, and lack of education. In some cases, this involved multiple tooth extraction without the hope of implants, not because the teeth were hopeless, but because there was such severe bone loss from gum disease. After many years of education from my periodontist on how this could be prevented and desperately wishing to clean a tooth on my own, I decided to take the jump and applied for the program, and I am so incredibly happy that I did. After caring for my mother when she was ill, I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare further than just assisting; I wanted to be able to treat patients, but nursing wasn’t for me and I loved dentistry so much. I can honestly say I’ve found my passion in dental hygiene and I’ve met so many empowering women who I call my friends today. Aside from all that, I was finally able to adopt a puppy after graduation and I am so in love with my Roxie girl!”


April 11th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Rebecca Desson! We asked Rebecca Desson to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Rebecca said: “Hi everyone, my name is Rebecca and I’m a new dental hygiene graduate! I have been in the dental field for around 6 years! I started off as a dental assistant and reached my goal in becoming a hygienist! My research group won first place at Farmingdale’s research symposium for our poster presentation titled “Triclosan: Are there more risk than benefits?” We also had the opportunity to present at the Greater New York Dental Meeting as well as the New York Dental Hygiene Association Saratoga conference! My favorite part about being a dental hygienist is getting to form bonds with my patients and helping them improve their oral hygiene and overall health! I am forever grateful for all my patients and am excited to continue this rewarding journey.”


April 18th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Tamara Faure! We asked Tam My to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Tamara said: “First, I want to say thank you for the nomination! I am honored to be nominated. I have been a hygienist in private practice for over 13 years. My focus and passion are in pediatrics and the special needs community. I have visited many local schools teaching patient education and oral health to pre-school and elementary aged children. I feel that if we can start teaching oral hygiene and education early on in a child’s life it will only help them achieve optimal oral health as an adult. For the last 6 years, I have also been employed as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Farmingdale. I have recently been promoted to adjunct assistant professor and look forward to continuing my career path as an educator at Farmingdale. I am currently pursuing my doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership at Maryville University and am slated to graduate in December 2021. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my husband and my three children.”


April 25th Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Debbie Kirincic! We asked Debbie to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Debbie Caliguiri-Kirincic said: “Thank you for the nomination, I am honored! I have been an RDH for 38 years. I received my degrees from Columbia University SDOS, and it was during my master’s program that I received an internship at FSC. Who knew at that time that the Farmingdale Dental Hygiene Program would become a second home and second family?! I have been an Adjunct Professor for 32 years and have had the privilege of teaching and meeting so many wonderful students and faculty. My clinical career has been for the most part in periodontal practices and I am also trained in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy which has been a long-time passion. The patient interaction as well as the interaction with students brings me the most satisfaction. I have been able to use my knowledge and skills in many ways and that is what makes dental hygiene so rewarding. My hope is to make a difference, whether in practice or education and to make some positive changes along the way.”


May 2nd Spotlight:

For this “Sunday Spotlight”, we are celebrating LIDHA member Corinn Kennedy! We asked Corinn to tell us a little bit about herself and why she loves being a hygienist. Corinn Kennedy said: “Hi all! My name is Corinn and I am truly honored to be nominated for LIDHA’s spotlight! I began my journey in dentistry as an assistant on a mobile dental unit when I was 18 years old. My time as an assistant sparked my passion for dental hygiene. Seeing the looks on our patient’s faces after their smile has been transformed, enlightened me to educate them on how to keep their smiles healthy. Eight years later, I am extremely proud to say that I am a recent graduate from Farmingdale State College. During my time at Farmingdale, I became secretary for our student government, SADHA, participated and won Farmingdale’s Dental Hygiene Research Symposium with my classmates and friends, and traveled to Saratoga for the NYDHA convention to present our research project. After graduating May 2020, I began clinical work in a private, family practice. Through this transition from a student’s perspective to now a registered hygienist, my love for the dental field grows every day. The dynamic of an intimate office where you can become familiar with every patient and learn their stories drives me to do my absolute best. With one-on-one interactions I am able to create and educate others on their optimal oral hygiene plans, specific to their needs, as well as get to know my patients on a personal level. I’m determined that by the end of the day, I would have taught someone, something they never knew about their oral needs and the connection to their overall health. I believe that with a healthy smile, it can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Becoming a hygienist was and will always be one of the most rewarding accomplishments. I am excited to continue my life-long journey in dental hygiene, as the sky’s the limit for learning and continual growth.”