Rdh Advisory Board Spotlight 62f2ba8e019a3

Advisory Board Spotlight: Katrina Sanders and Sarah Varney

Aug. 19, 2022
Our advisory board works with our content team to make RDH the leading publication for the dental hygiene profession. Meet two of our remarkable board members each month!

Katrina M. Sanders, MEd, BSDH, RDH, RF

What is your “why” behind your passion for dental hygiene?

In 2018, I suddenly and tragically lost my mom to an airway obstructive disorder that her dental hygienist or the doctor who saw her for her routine Medicare exam that morning should have seen. In 2020, I unexpectedly and needlessly lost my daddy to pneumonia that his doctor who saw him three days prior for a routine exam should have seen. My “why” has since evolved from the deep sense of responsibility I feel as a preventive specialist who has the time, talent, empathy, and desire to serve the community, and moreover, my practice philosophy remains unwavering. My philosophy: I treat every patient in my chair like a member of my family.

What is your focus for 2022?

As a clinician, consultant, speaker, and influencer, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to work on healing the dental profession in the aftermath of COVID-19. Many of us are uncomfortable verbalizing what we need to be true patient advocates. As the aerosols settle, we sit on the precipice of a global health crisis and a massive employee shortage for preventive specialists within dentistry. Perhaps this is our time to create better opportunities for the future of our profession. My challenge to my colleagues: how can we continue to be patient advocates and serve the community throughout this process, and more so, how can we use this experience to ensure that the correct voice is being heard?

Sarah Varney, EMBA, BSDH, RDH

What is your “why” behind your passion for dental hygiene?

My “why” has always been centered around giving. At the beginning of my dental hygiene career, my focus was on giving to my patients. As my dental hygiene career advanced, this circle of giving expanded to include how I could give to my dental office team, then my community, and now has culminated into a final expansion of how I can give to my dental hygiene profession—whether it is giving of my time, my attention, my caring, my knowledge, or my clinical skills. In the giving of all these things, I firmly believe that I am best able to give the best I have to offer in a way that is professional, compassionate, and excellent.

What is your focus for 2022?

My focus for 2022 will be to grow and expand the ways I can give. I will actively seek out ways to improve patient outcomes as they pertain to patients’ overall health. I vow to learn how to best give to the dental team members I work with and my community at large. My biggest focus for 2022 will be to leverage the culmination of my education and three decades of dental hygiene care. I founded National Hygiene Excellence as a national organization created with the intention of taking our profession to the next level. National Hygiene Excellence aims to redefine and elevate the profession of dental hygiene in practices across the nation—this will be my main focus for 2022.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 2022 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.