The mission of this program is to identify dental hygienists who have a mission/cause and to further promote their dental hygiene initiatives, whether in their own communities or across the globe, and to encourage others who may want to start similar initiatives in their own communities, and to better the world.
Meet this inspiring group of hygienists below!
Alicia Murria, RDH
Amber Auger, MPH, RDH
Andrew Johnston, RDH
Angie Stone, BS, RDH
Anne M. Duffy, RDH
Caitlyn Rastetter, RDH
Carrie Ibbetson, RDH
Claire Jeong, MS, RDH
Dara McConnell, RDH
Irene Iancu, BSc, RDH, CTDP
Martelle Coke, RDH
Melissa Turner, BASDH, RDHEP, EFDA
Michelle Strange, MS, RDH
Sonya Dunbar, RDH
Whitney DiFoggio, BS, RDH
Alicia Murria, RDH
Alicia Murria, RDH, is a clinical hygienist, educator, public-health advocate, and continuing education junkie! Alicia loves to connect with other hygienists, as she is a key opinion leader for Invisalign, Philips Sonicare, and Sunstar Butler. She is founder of Hygienists For Humanity, a 501(c)(3) organization that connects underserved communities and individuals experiencing homelessness with quality oral hygiene products and services. Because of Hygienists for Humanity, Alicia has a higher appreciation for hygiene connection—we fly higher together. Alicia’s primary goal is to help the world view dental hygienists as viable and autonomous leaders in the health-care delivery team. Alicia can be found traveling North America in search of communities to support with hygiene products and services, and hygienists to inspire as health-care professionals and inflammation-prevention specialists. Alicia fully understands what it means to be an influencer and her sole desire is to use this platform to move our profession forward. With any conversation, you’ll find that Alicia is a ball of positive energy and her passion for our profession is palpable; she is eager to take you and our profession to the next level. Connect with Alicia at a local, state, or national conference and fly higher together.
Amber Auger, MPH, RDH, is a practicing dental hygienist and clinical innovations implementation specialist. With over 14 years of experience in the dental industry, Amber provides customized protocols to allow the practice to thrive, refocus on the patient experience, and utilize systemic approaches to periodontal therapy. Amber is a monthly contributor to RDH magazine, featured author for DentistryIQ, editor of RDH Graduate newsletter, and host of #AskAmberRDH. Amber also provides preventive services abroad yearly and is always willing to have dental professionals join her team.
Andrew Johnston, RDH, is your everyday hygienist who is passionate about sharing education and knowledge to others. Practicing in Washington State since 2009, Andrew enjoys utilizing his full scope of practice through traditional and restorative procedures on any given day—still working in the operatory 40-plus hours each week. In 2015, he started the wildly popular dental hygiene podcast A Tale of Two Hygienists with his cofounder Michelle Strange. Because of the podcast's success, they were able to begin a new chapter in dental audio content with The Dental Podcast Network, which consists of 10 short-format shows on different dental topics airing each day of the work week. Andrew also has a bachelor’s degree in business and enjoys traveling around the world with his family. You will not be surprised to see him at many of the larger dental conferences!
Angie Stone, BS, RDH, has a very nontraditional professional journey. She began her career in the Navy as a dental assistant. In addition to practicing clinical hygiene, she has taught in dental assisting and dental hygiene programs. As a speaker she has provided onsite education to dental professionals in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and seven countries and territories. As an author, she has had numerous published articles. Her original research regarding xylitol and elders was published in a peer reviewed medical journal in November of 2013. Angie’s largest writing feat is her bestselling Amazon book Dying from Dirty Teeth, which launched in March of 2015. She is the founder and CEO of the HyLife Oral Health Alliance (HOHA). The mission of the alliance is to keep vulnerable older adults free of dental disease for their lifetime. Angie was awarded the Sunstar Award of Distinction in 2012 for her work with xylitol and the geriatric population. In 2019, she and HOHA were awarded the Teledentistry Innovation Award, which recognizes innovators and pioneers of connected and collaborative dental care. Each of these experiences have taught her, what her purpose is . . . using her voice to make a difference in the world.
Email: [email protected]
Youtube: Angie Stone
Anne M. Duffy, RDH, is a passionate, dedicated member of the dental community, and she works diligently to empower others to strengthen themselves and their dental careers. Anne graduated from Ohio State University in 1974 and has been practicing ever since. With six state boards under her belt, she has worked in practices around the country forming relationships with professionals throughout the various facets of the industry. In 1995 she joined a direct sales company selling toothpaste and alcohol-free mouth rinse and worked to build the largest group of female leaders in the company. In 1998, Anne assisted with the launch of Dental Entrepreneur: Business Beyond the Classroom as the only sales associate, and in 2002 she purchased the publication. In 2016 she conceived Dental Entrepreneur Woman magazine and is committed to inspiring, highlighting, empowering and connecting all women in dentistry. She is building up the DeW community as a movement to continue to advance women in dentistry and the causes they advocate.
Caitlyn Rastetter, RDH
Carrie Ibbetson, RDH, has had a 20 plus–year career in dentistry, including clinical care, office administration, sales, consulting and speaking, allowing her to understand challenges and see solutions from multiple facets. She speaks on varying topics that include infection control, biofilm management, and emotional intelligence. When not focusing on the professional side of the industry, she spends ample time with consumers, helping mentor them into healthy mouths and ways that they can become a partner in their own quest for oral health and wellness. She utilizes many social media platforms to create engaging and motivating content that helps both the professional and consumer make small changes that yield better/easier results. She is a KOL for dental companies and stays immersed in what the progressive dental world has to offer.
Claire Jeong, MS, RDH, is an entrepreneur, author, educator, researcher, and speaker. She is the founder of StudentRDH / SmarterDA Boards prep solutions, DentalToaster CE website, and Inspire The Future Summit dental hygiene educators conference. Claire is the 2019 Ontario Memory Champion. With her expertise, she created the WakeUp Memory system and teaches how to use the brain efficiently to students, faculties, and others outside of dentistry. To her audience’s testimony: “Learning is now addictive.” Many of Claire’s articles, such as the New Hypertension Guidelines, are ranked as one of the top articles in dental publications. She is regularly invited to podcasts and conferences such as RDH Under One Roof as a key opinion leader. Behind the scenes, Claire also helps numerous well-respected speakers in dentistry to spread their message and positively influence the younger generation. Claire has bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene and business, and a master’s degree in administration from Boston University.
Facebook: Student RDH
Youtube: StudentRDH Dental Hygiene Online Board Review Solutions
Dara McConnell, RDH, is a young dental hygienist who remembers the overwhelming feeling of first entering an operatory outside of hygiene school. She has decided to cultivate a virtual dental community, sharing short tips for other professionals in hopes of boosting confidence, sparking passion, and ultimately improving patient care. Dara's interest in the dental field started around the age of seven, when her sibling knocked out his permanent front tooth not once, but three times! The pediatric dentist caring for Dara's brother asked if she would like to watch as he restored her brother's smile. Dara pursed her seven-year-old inspiration, earning a degree in dental hygiene along with a bachelor’s in health-care management and Master of Business Administration. In 2018, Dara was a recipient of the Philips and RDH magazine Heart to Hands award, celebrating hygienists who exemplify dedication, passion, and positive change. Dara has intentions of using both her education and experience to continue to impact the dental community.
Irene Iancu, BSc, RDH, CTDP, achieved her Bachelor of Political Science from Florida State University in 2005, when she realized she would be a terrible lawyer! Upon graduating with honors from Oxford College in 2007, Irene then followed her curiosity into the various aspects of dental hygiene practice, working her way through each specialty starting in pedo, perio, ortho, and ultimately finding her passion connecting the effects of our systemic health to our oral health. Today, Irene Iancu is a Toronto based practicing independent dental hygienist who owns her own practice, front-facing operating as a dental practice but owned by a hygienist where she incorporated her extensive training in orofacial myology. She is a clinical and theoretical dental hygiene instructor at Oxford College, quality assurance mentor and peer mentor with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario, key opinion leader, international speaker, and item writer for the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board. Her social media platforms have over 30,000 followers of dental professionals worldwide. As a podcaster, she has partnered with a fellow RDH to bring you Tooth or Dare, the dental podcast showcasing fellow dental professionals doing cool things in the industry.
Martelle Coke, RDH, grew up in a family of ten and quickly took on the responsibility of parenting her siblings. She later became a teen mom and had goals of graduating college. Martelle became the first to obtain a degree in her family. Martelle was determined to support dental hygienists who experienced similar struggles. On April 1, 2018, she founded the nonprofit organization BrownGirl, RDH, promoting cultural diversity for dental hygienists and students. BrownGirl, RDH, provides scholarships ranging from uniforms to clinical board fees, thereby removing obstacles and creating pathways to dental hygiene careers. Martelle practices nights while attending school during the day in pursuit of obtaining a Doctor of Dental Surgery. When she is not traveling to dental hygiene events or providing preventive care to the underserved communities while on missions, Martelle can be found spending quality time with her three children.
Melissa Turner, BASDH, RDHEP, EFDA, is a valued thought leader and advisor in the dental industry. She has provided clinical services in many states across the country and has worked with both nonprofit and for-profit mobile organizations. She is cofounder of the first annual National Mobile Dentistry Conference on February 28-29, 2020, and the creator of I Heart Mobile Dentistry, a Facebook support group for clinicians practicing mobile dentistry. Melissa is working to reframe dental professional’s views of direct access/independent dental hygiene services, teledentistry, dental therapy, and more. She is a staunch advocate of improving workplace wellness for the dental team as well as finding ways to improve the dental patient experience. Melissa is a regular contributor to various trade magazines and is executive moderator for the Dental Peeps Network.
With a career spanning 19 years, Michelle Strange’s enthusiasm for dentistry lies in the educational aspects of patient care. As an adjunct clinical faculty member with Trident Technical College, she educates her students and colleagues on the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration between medical professionals and caretakers. Her experience as a hygienist and surgical assistant led her to become the educational and professional relations manager for TePe Oral Health Care from 2015-2019 after implementing their product with considerable success and patient compliance. Her most recent project, the A Tale of Two Hygienists podcast, was ranked the #1 dental podcast two years in a row. Michelle continues to practice clinically while consulting and creating educational curriculum for companies she believes in, speaking, writing, and podcasting. Through her passion for education, geriatric and implant dentistry, and modern techniques and products, Michelle seeks to inform and inspire the dental community.
Sonya Dunbar, RDH, also known as the Geriatric Toothfairy, is a registered dental hygienist and a national public speaker. Her passion for the geriatric community is evident in her passionate speaking events. Sonya has over 27 years of dental experience in private practice, skilled nursing facilities, academia, and marketing, and has proudly served her country in the United States Navy. For the last 17 years, she worked in long-term care facilities as a dental hygienist providing clinical treatment and as a staff trainer providing hands-on training to the staff on how to provide proper oral care for the aging adult. Sonya is currently enrolled at Liberty University to complete her Master of Public Health, with her goal to receive her doctorate in gerontology.
Whitney DiFoggio, BS, RDH, is also known as the "Teeth Talk Girl" on social media. She is currently working both as a clinical hygienist and as a video creator. Whitney’s dream has always been to contribute to community dental health on a large scale, and her journey began on the YouTube platform. Her videos focus on educating the general public/nondental professionals on dental health, discussing popular dental trends and more. She also enjoys creating dental parody videos to entertain both the public and dental professionals. Whitney is so excited to have joined the community of "teeth enthusiasts" as a social media influencer and is happy to share her journey with her "teeth talk" friends. You can find Whitney’s videos on teethtalkgirl.com.