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.”