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Announcing the 2022 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction recipients

May 16, 2022
Since 2002, 137 dental hygienists have been recognized for their success and accomplishments in the field of dental hygiene. Here are the honorees for 2022.

Sunstar Americas, Inc. and RDH are celebrating their 21st year of honoring North America’s outstanding dental hygienists. The oral health leader and RDH magazine joined forces to create the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction program in 2002. Since then, 137 dental hygienists have been recognized for their success and accomplishments in the field of dental hygiene. The four most recent recipients of this prestigious award will be honored during an award ceremony at the RDH Under One Roof conference in Orlando, Florida, on July 22, 2022.

“On behalf of Sunstar Americas, Inc., we congratulate this year’s recipients of the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction, and thank them for their passion and inspiration,” said Tom Raish, senior manager, Professional Marketing at Sunstar Americas, Inc. “As a proud sponsor of this program for the past two decades, we have seen the role of the dental hygienist evolve and the program grow in importance as it recognizes those dedicated professionals who are true change agents in improving the oral health of their patients, their communities and underserved populations. The relationship between oral health and overall health has never been clearer, nor has the pivotal role which dental hygienists play in preventative health.”

The 2022 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction honorees, as selected by an independent review committee, are:

  • Darla Dale, BSDH, RDHAP from Eureka, California
  • Sonya Dunbar, RDH, MHA from Jacksonville, Florida
  • Amber Lovatos, BSDH, RDH from Spring, Texas
  • Melissa Turner, BASDH, RDHEP, EFDA from Portland, Oregon

“The 2022 Award of Distinction recipients were selected for their success in promoting positive change in private practice, public health, and community service with a focus on increasing access to care for those in need. RDH and Sunstar are most proud to recognize the individuals who have embraced their internal calling, focused on their ambition, and made a significant difference in many lives across the country. In addition, RDH celebrates Sunstar’s commitment to the dental hygiene community through their 21-year sponsorship of the Sunstar/ RDH Award of Distinction program.” said Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, chief editor of RDH magazine.

About Sunstar Americas, Inc.

Sunstar Americas, Inc. is a leader in developing high-quality, research-based oral care solutions for better overall patient health. By partnering with dental and medical clinicians, academics, and researchers, Sunstar continues to innovate and provide daily oral care, advanced gum care and chairside products under the GUM and Butler brands. Sunstar Americas is a member of the Sunstar Group of companies, a global organization headquartered in Switzerland that serves oral healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers in 90 countries around the world. For more information, visit:

About RDH magazine

RDH is the top magazine for dental hygiene professionals. RDH provides hygienists key information on professional growth, including clinical analysis, practice management advice, continuing education opportunities, career strategies, and more. Each month, RDH also publishes the RDH eVillage and RDH Graduate e-newsletters. RDH partners with DentistryIQ to deliver timely info on news, case studies, product info, salary studies, and more. For more information, visit