Rdh Advisory Board 64874293ccf6e

RDH Advisory Board spotlight: Rafael Rondon, Angie Stone, Melissa Turner

June 12, 2023
Meet three members of the RDH Advisory Board: Rafael Rondon, Angie Stone, and Melissa Turner.

Rafael Rondon, BS, RDH

Why would you choose dental hygiene all over again?

To tell the truth, dentistry chose me. I didn’t even know what dental hygiene was. My dentist did all the procedures, including the cleaning. One day I walked into the allied health building and discovered the program, and I was attracted instantly. If I had to decide again, I would definitely choose this career that chose me, because every day I’m making a difference in patients’ lives by helping them have better oral and overall health.

What advice would you give a new graduate?

Keep your profession alive. Value who you are and the services you render. You may be saving a life and creating a difference in someone’s life, through oral and overall health. Never forget why you chose this path, because there is nothing more beautiful than carrying that passion throughout your career. This profession has ups and downs, but it’s worth it. Build relationships, network, and get a mentor. This is a beautiful community, and many are happy to help. Be a problem-solver and a team player. Most of all, be coachable. Love what you do, and you will do amazing things.

Angie Stone, BS, RDH, BLS, CDP

What is your focus for 2023?

Every year, 4.6 million people across the globe are diagnosed with dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, and many others. The number of people living with dementia is expected to double every 20 years, resulting in more than 80 million sufferers by 2040. The world is on the forefront of a dementia epidemic, but these projections do not need to come to fruition. I plan to use my voice to bring much needed information to the masses, so the trajectory of dementia can be changed in our world.

What has been your hardest lesson?

My career as a dental hygienist has not looked anything like I envisioned it would. My plan was to practice in a private dental practice and eventually teach in a dental hygiene program. I accomplished both of those things, but I did not realize there would be much more to my journey. Along the way, there were subtle situations that began to stretch me outside my comfort zone. I fought them for a long time, but they couldn’t be ignored. My biggest lesson in all of this was to pay attention to what the universe is presenting. Don’t fight it. Be brave.

Melissa Turner, BASDH, RDHEP, EFDA

What is your focus for 2023?

I began my career in dentistry at age 19, although it really began long before that when my mom took me to the orthodontist at the age of 7. My entire adult life—and much of my childhood—has been impacted by teeth! We take part in an amazing profession full of passionate hearts and intelligent minds. My mission is to work in the big picture to transform the future of the dental profession for both patient and practitioner. I plan to help dental companies and professionals create brands that leave a lasting impact.

What advice would you give a new graduate?

A friend once asked me what my 10-year career plan was. I fumbled for an answer. While I had always been goal and action oriented, like many women and parents, my career had always taken second tier. That had produced many short-term career goals but rarely long-term ones. That friend asking about my career plan launched me onto the path I’m on today. Live your career with purpose. Surround yourself with like-minded, encouraging colleagues. Write short- and long-term goals, and then write them again. The world is your oyster, so go make it happen! 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the June 2023 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

About the Author

Kirsten Brancheau, BA, RDH

Kirsten Brancheau, BA, RDH, has been practicing clinical dental hygiene since 1978. She earned an associate’s degree in applied science in dental hygiene from Union County College in 1977 and a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from Montclair State University in 1988. She is a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Brancheau is also a freelance proofreader, editor, and writer. She can be reached at [email protected].