AADA Leadership

Our Mission

The Alliance of the American Dental Association is a volunteer organization that supports its members and values its partnership with the American Dental Association in advancing the oral health of the public.

Our Vision

The Support Community for its Members and the ADA.

Join us in our mission to help your local communities and dental families.

Reason To Smile

The Alliance of the ADA give dentists, their families and the public the reason to smile. We

  • promote healthy dental practices for dentists, the public and the dental profession as a whole
  • actively support dental families at every stage of their career and lives
  • act as ambassadors for our spouses and dentistry through legislative advocacy and local outreach
  • provide extensive oral health education in communities across the nation

Meet Our Leadership Team

Sue Hadnot

Sue Hadnot


Sue Hadnot has been a member of the Alliance for the American Dental Association for over 20 years. She has become active at the national level the past 5 years. She is married to Dr. Doug Hadnot who has practiced general dentistry for over 40 years in Missoula, MT. They have 3 grown sons and 4 grand Daughters. She has been active at the state level in legislative advocacy for dentistry and for the Lolo Community, serving on the Lolo Community Council for 12 years. A member of ADPAC and participation in several ADA Washington Leadership meetings and lobby days. She represents the leadership council on legislative advocacy

She loves to run and has run over 20 marathons. She is most proud to have qualified and run 7 Boston Marathons.

Susanne Espinosa

Susanne Espinosa


Teresa Theurer

Teresa Theurer

Immediate Past President

Teresa and her husband, Scott, are from Logan, Utah where Scott is a General Dentist. She has served on the Cache District Dental Alliance as the dental health specialist and as president. She has served on the Alliance to the Utah Dental Association as president and treasurer. She has served on the AADA Leadership Council since 2013 and is the current liaison on the ADA Council of Government Affairs. She also served as a AADA Reference Committee Chair for several years.

Teresa currently serves on the Utah State Board of Regents. She served two four-year terms on the Utah State Board of Education. She graduated from Weber State University with an Associate Degree in Nursing and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University in General Studies. Scott and Teresa have four children and twelve grandchildren.

Anne Morrison

Anne Morrison


Sharon Bryant

Sharon Bryant

Council Member

A member of the Alliance of the Dallas County Dental Society and Alliance of the Texas Dental Association for almost 50 years.   Sharon is a Past President of the DCDS and the ATDA and currently serves on the Board of the ATDA as a member of the Legislative and Administrative Committees.

Married to Dr. Alan “Rock” Bryant in 1968 during Dental School at Baylor, they have 4 children and 8 grandchildren. After selling his practice in Dallas they moved to their ranch and opened a practice in the small west Texas town of Santa Anna.

Sharon represents the Leadership Council on the ADA Dental Wellness Advisory Committee

Connie Slyby

Connie Slyby

Council Member

Connie, and her husband Ron, live in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Her husband is a retired general practicing dentist.  They met when Connie was in Dental Hygiene school and she cleaned Ron’s teeth when he was in dental school.  She currently has a son, brother, niece and nephew who are also dentists.   Ron and Connie have two sons and 5 grandchildren.

She has been an active alliance member for 49 years.  She has served at the national level for 20 years and she has assumed just about every leadership role in the Isaac Knapp and Indiana alliance.  Because of her active participation in Alliance activities she has learned skills and used them to work in her community and church.  She credits her Alliance friends as THE BEST.


Roger Valliere, DDS

Roger Valliere, DDS

Council Member

Lynn Young

Lynn Young

Council Member

Lynn and her husband, Stan have been married for 34 years.  They moved to Dyersburg, TN in 1984 after Stan’s dental school graduation, so that he could go in practice with Lynn’s father.  They practiced together until my Lynn’s retired.  Lynn graduated from University of Tennessee Health Science Center with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1981 and a Master of Science in Nursing in 1988.  She also worked in Intensive Care Nursing and then taught nursing for a few years before becoming a stay at home mom.  They have 3 sons, John (32) and his wife Whitney, David (29), and Will (23).  Their son, David, joined the practice with Stan in 2016.  Lynn now works in the practice as office manager.  Lynn has been active in the Alliance for over 30 years.  She loves being a part of the Alliance and supporting the profession of dentistry which has been such a blessing to their family!

Sue Ryser

Sue Ryser


“Our future is bright. Thank you for all that you do. I challenge each of you to catch the spirit and spread the vision to others. We DO make a difference.”

Emily: This is the first year that the Alliance will be governed by a Leadership Council in place of the Board of Directors, How do you think the Alliance will benefit from this change?

Sue: With the smaller council and flexibility of volunteer roles we can act quickly and have the freedom to focus on what we feel is important at this time. I would really like to see the Council work as a team to engage as many members as possible.

Emily: What are some highlights that our members can look forward to this year?

Sue: In 2014 we are offering a one time only opportunity to experience Conference for virtually no cost. The “Daybreak Vision Membership Renewal”Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya in Santa Ana Pueblo , NM. This Conference is designed to re-energize and inspire our current and new members. Alliance members can look forward to a complimentary three nights stay at the resort, access to cultural events, pools, a train trip to Santa Fe and of course food, fun and friendship! Dentists attending with their spouse can take advantage of 8 free hours of CE courses.

Another highlight is Healthy Smiles from the Start – a brand new dental health program will be available to members only – early January 2014. The multifaceted prenatal and postnatal dental health care education program for mothers and caregivers of newborns was created to address the nation’s growing dental health issues during pregnancy and throughout early childhood. This toolkit has been tailor made to deliver to hospitals and birthing centers with existing prenatal classes. All you need to do is request that this material be added to their curriculum. To pre-order your toolkit please email the AADA Central Office at AADA@AllianceADA.org.

Emily: It requires a lot of time and effort to take on the role of President, (and we thank you!), why is the Alliance important to you?

Sue: The Alliance has a rich history of service, friendship and making a difference. However, during the past few years, we have wondered what the future for the Alliance would be. There have been so many of you who have stepped up in support, recognizing the great value of the Alliance. Because of you, the Alliance makes a difference. The Alliance makes a difference to our school children when members teach Oral Health to students, engaging them with puppet shows, demonstrations and learning activities. The Alliance makes a difference to senior citizens when they deliver health care kits and teach proper oral health habits. The Alliance makes a difference when they provide pregnant women and new moms with education and resources to care for infant and toddlers teeth. The Alliance makes a difference to many underserved children by supporting and volunteering for Give Kids A Smile projects. The Alliance makes a difference to those who have difficulty affording oral care by volunteering at and helping to organize and raise money for Mission of Mercy projects, Remote Area Medical and other donated dental service clinics. The Alliance makes a difference to the future of the dental profession when they visit their elected officials, write letters and make phone calls. Alliance members make a difference to each other with friendship and support.

Emily: Thank you for sharing your time and talents with the Alliance – we look forward to another amazing year!


Brittney Checketts

Brittney Checketts


“Help with the little things makes such a big transition so much easier and helps the fear of the unknown become excitement because you do know. That is why I started getting involved.”

Brittney is an active member of the Marquette University School of Dentistry Student Spouse Alliance. Her efforts to organize the MUSoD Student Spouse group have resulted in a dental health education for kids, family outings for students and support for our future dentists! Here is her story.

Emily: Your experience is pretty unique in that you have sort of paved the way for the MUSoD Alliance, what inspired you to work so hard for the Alliance?

Brittney: I thought if there was an active and working alliance it could be such a benefit to so many people. I am part of the Latter-day Saints (LDS) church so this sort of networking and friendship is already in place for me, but not everyone who is married and in dental school has the same resources as I had while moving in our first year of school. I was able to find other LDS families who were living here that let us stay with them when we interviewed. They showed me around Milwaukee and introduced to me to a ton of other families. I was able to come home from our first visit with friends who helped us find an apartment, move in, made us meals, showed us around and included us in activities. I want EVERYONE to have that available to them and to be as excited to start this journey as possible, to feel comfortable and know people before they even get here. It was great to have someone to ask about where to live and where to avoid, what to do when family visits and where to eat. Help with the little things makes such a big transition so much easier and helps the fear of unknown become excitement because you do know. That is why I started getting involved.

Emily: What projects or events have you participated in with the Alliance?

Brittney: I got to attend Conference last year and learned SO much that has helped me to make the end of last year and the beginning of this year be so much more effective!

We are having a lot of fun here at MUSoD! We try to meet once a month, in September we do an opening social, in October we do a Halloween activity, at the beginning of December we do a bake sale at the school, in January we make hygiene kits for February when we go and visit schools, in May we do a garage sale so we can all make a little cash, in the summer we try to get together for some kind of social. We all really get along and have so much fun together!

Baseball Outing
Ready Set Brush
Ready Set Brush

I feel like networking is a tool that is so under utilized. Having friends and knowing people all over the country who are in your same position is a priceless tool. You never know where life will take you and its always nice to have friends all over.

Brittney and Erin Knowles at Conference Welcome Event

Emily: What advice would you give a brand new member of the Alliance, or someone considering starting their own local Alliance?

Brittney: Do it! Go to Conference! Learn about all the awesome resources available at your fingertips!

Emily: Just for fun, If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Brittney: I couldn’t pick just one! I would LOVE to go to Greece, Scotland, England, Italy, Venice, Fiji – I LOVE vibrant colors – I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but color makes me happy. I LOVE Hawaii because everything is so colorful and vibrant.

Emily: Thanks for sharing with us Brittney, keep up the good work!

As the spouse of a dental student, you are eligible for a Student Membership in the Alliance of the American Dental Association. Membership in the Alliance provides opportunities to interact with others who share common concerns and interests, as well as opportunities to participate in special conferences, workshops, and community programs related to dentistry and dental health

Roger Valliere

Roger Valliere


AADA: Roger,please tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a dentist…

Roger: I was born and raised in Westbrook, Maine, a suburb in Portland. My father was a dentist in this small southern, coastal Maine town. I earned a BA in Chemistry from Colby College, a small liberal arts school in Waterville, ME. I met my wife Brenda, at “The” Ohio State University College of Dentistry, and we graduated together in 1986. We lived in Westbrook and practiced with my father in his dental practice.

AADA: How did you and Brenda end up in Fort Wayne Indiana?

Roger: I won the battle but I lost the war, however, as our family eventually moved to Fort Wayne, IN (Brenda’s home town). We now practice together there, along with her dad, Ralph Merkel. I am also the Dental Director of the Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic in town and tach at the local university in the Dental Laboratory Technology Program.

As well as serving on the Leadership Council of the Alliance, I am currently the President of our local dental component, the Isaac Knapp District Dental Society.

AADA: What sparked your interest in the Alliance of the ADA?

Alliance Members of Indiana, Convention 2014

Roger: My interest in the Alliance began as a young child. I remember playing with puppets and seeing the toothbrushes and toothpaste all around our house, when the dental spouses would gather there to prepare for an educational trip to the library, school or public event. Over the years, my mother, mother-in-law, step mother-in-law (Maxi Merkel) and wife have all been active members in the Alliance. Their enthusiasm and activity has nurtured my interest in it as well. I have participated in many school evens, hung around local and state meetings and attended several national Alliance Conventions and Conferences.

I strongly believe in the mission and goals of the Alliance and am eager to help bolster its membership and maintain its relevance in our ever changing world of dentistry. I look forward to working with the rest of the Leadership Council, moving the Alliance of the American Dental Association forward in the future.

AADA: Thank you so much for sharing your time and talents with the Alliance – we look forward to another exciting and productive year!

Dr. Roger Valliere joins us as the 9th member of the Alliance of the ADA’s Leadership Council – he is the first male member to serve in a leadership role in the 60 years of Alliance History!

Brenda Valliere

Brenda Valliere


“As a dentist (and previous dental hygienist) professionally, I really like the dental education component of the Alliance, as well as the legislative events. As a woman, wife and mother, I thoroughly enjoy the social events and the friendships that I have developed with other dental families.”

Emily: I understand that not only is your husband and father a dentist but that you are also a dentist yourself. What made you decide to join the Alliance?

Brenda: Initially I was drawn to the Alliance by memories of my mother and her membership in the Isaac Knapp Dental Auxilliary. She enjoyed the friendships she made and all of the fun she had participating in the “Auxilliary” events.

I have been very active in the local and state dental associations, the Isaac Knapp District Dental Society (IKDDS) and the Indiana Dental Association (IDA). I was pleased to serve as the first female president of IKDDS. The excellent professional support of the ADA tripartite has been extremely helpful as a practicing dentist.

As I got to know the dentists in northeast Indiana, I also got acquainted with their spouses. I became interested in the Alliance events at the local and state meetings, and attended my first AIDA Membership Luncheon about seven years ago. Of course, once I became acquainted with some of the AIDA leadership, it became increasingly difficult to say no to their invitations to participate! I have really enjoyed the events the Alliance has sponsored, they are often a lot of fun combined with a service component!

Emily: What projects or events have you participated in with the Alliance?

Brenda: Oh my… there have been quite a few. I really enjoy the monthly Alliance events we have with our Isaac Knapp component, we get together for everything from fund raisers for local educational projects and “We’ve Got You Covered” events to apron fashion shows and holiday dinner dances. Now I look forward to the IDA Alliance events at our annual session, especially the Membership Brunch.

As a dentist (and previous dental hygienist) professionally, I really like the dental education component of the Alliance, as well as the legislative events. Of course, as a woman, wife and mother, I thoroughly enjoy the social events and the friendships that I have developed with other dental families.

Joan Lawrence, Drs. Roger Valliere and Brenda Valliere,
at Presidents’ Reception, San Francisco, CA.

Emily: What has been your favorite Alliance project or event you have experienced?

Brenda: I think the most interesting event I have participated in was the Dental Day at the Capital meeting at the Indiana Statehouse this past January. However, my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed the Alliance conferences in Phoenix, Richmond and Atlanta these last three years, they are educational, fun and rejuvenating!

Emily: You became the president of your state Alliance in 2012, are you excited to lead the group?

Brenda: Yes, I am very excited to be the new president of the Alliance of the Indiana Dental Association. I really enjoy working with all of the dental spouses from across the state. We have such great leaders who are always willing to step up and help, no matter what the project requires! I have very big shoes to fill, as I follow Connie Slyby, our past-president. Hopefully I can provide the leadership and direction that the AIDA needs this year.

My greatest pleasure is working with the other dental spouses. It is especially nice for me, as my step-mom, Maxi Merkel has become involved with the Alliance and we get to enjoy these events and projects together. I really enjoyed representing the AIDA at the AADA Convention in San Francisco last October. This is a pivotal time for the Alliance and I am excited to be involved.

Brenda and Maxi Merkel
at Convention

Emily: What advice would you give a brand new member of the Alliance?

Brenda: I would recommend that they just jump in and get involved! Even if they only attend local events, it is a great way to develop friendships with other dental families. The Alliance goals are geared to support the profession of dentistry and the individual dental families, there is always a lot of information that is helpful to any dental spouse. In addition, it is a lot of fun, so get involved! When they ask for volunteers, take a risk and say “YES”. You will be very glad you did!

Emily: Thanks Brenda!

Just for fun, if you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Brenda: I would love to go to Greece. I love history and the photos I have seen are fabulous, with the ancient architecture, the friendly people and delicious food it sounds like a perfect place to vacation!

Jacquelyn Whetzel

Jacquelyn Whetzel


“being involved with the Student Spouse Alliance was one of the best decisions I made as a spouse of a student”

Emily: First, please tell me a little about yourself, your family, hobbies, etc..

JacqueIyn: I am a stay at home mom to The Big One (6), The Little One (3.5) and The Mini One (6m); married to Josh Whetzel. We live in an adorable small town in Georgia, and I enjoy chasing after my kids (most of the time). Being their mom doesn’t leave me much time for other things. I am involved with our local Women’s Club and Mom’s Club and I enjoy exercising and cooking.

Two of Jacquelyn and Josh’s daughters

Emily: You really are a busy lady! How did you first learn about the Alliance?

Jacquelyn: I learned about the Alliance during the first week of Dental School (August 2005), when Josh came home and said, “There’s a spouse group here, you should join”

Emily: And when did you join the Alliance?

Jacquelyn: I joined that Winter (Feb 2005) and have been a member ever since. I was a member in 05-07 and the President of the group from 08-09. After graduation, I stepped into the role of Student Spouse Liaison between the AGDA and the GHSU DSSA (Dental Student Spouse Alliance) and have served in that position since then.

Emily: Wonderful! What Alliance projects or events have you participated in?

Jacquelyn: As a Student Spouse (SS), we hosted a Santa’s Workshop, where the DSSA members collected Christmas gifts for the teenage patients at CHA (Children’s Healthcare of Augusta). We performed the Wanda Wondersmile Puppet Show for local schools and for the last three years I have planned the Annual Student Spouse Dinner held each fall at Dean Drisko’s home.

Emily: What has been your favorite project or event?

Jacquelyn: Honestly, my favorite project is the one I’m working on. I really enjoy educating people about Dental Health, and I also enjoy mentoring the Student Spouses and the fellowship and friendships that come with it.

Jacquelyn and Josh Whetzel
Jacquelyn and her youngest daughter attended the Annual Alliance Conference in Stone Mountain, GA

Emily: I remember that you said something great in the student spouse gathering at the Conference about your husband really wanting you to be involved in the Alliance and the community. Could you please paraphrase that for me again if you remember?

Jacquelyn: If I remember correctly, I said being involved with the Student Spouse Alliance was one of the best decisions I made as a spouse of a student. I had a group of ready made friends who knew exactly what it’s like to be married to a student whose schooling is the equivalent of a full time job – before studying. We were able to support and encourage each other and share our experiences. It was nice to hear from someone slightly further along in the process that if you can just make it through the first two years, it gets a lot easier. I believe our marriage would have suffered greatly without that knowledge from other spouses that the challenge of being married to a student would get easier as he progressed through school. The spouses reminded me to cut him some slack when he needed it, and we helped each other when our spouses weren’t able to. It was also nice to have some friends who were MY friends, not just friends of his as well. I ended up meeting a lot of women in other classes that we wouldn’t have gotten to know had I not joined the Alliance.

Josh really encouraged me to get involved in our community once he graduated, because I am a direct link in advertising. I can gain the trust of other couples in our age group and refer patients to the practice through my involvement in local organizations, PTO and just by being out in the community.


Emily: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Jacquelyn, I really appreciate it and we all appreciate your hard work as an Alliance member!

April Cobb

April Cobb


“I have visited over 500 children in our local schools this year and taught them about dental health. I think that’s pretty good for the first year!”

If you all remember back in May of 2012 we sent out a member survey, one particularly enthusiastic member really stuck out in my mind. I thought, I really want to hear more, so as our newest member spotlight: Meet April Cobb

Emily: Please tell me how you came to join the Alliance?

April: Dentistry is a second career for my husband, Nick. Among many things, being family friendly lured him into this great profession. While he was in school, he made many connections with his fellow students, the faculty, and other area professionals. I wanted to support him and have a connection to the profession, too. I found the Alliance by accident while taking my students on a field trip. We passed a hotel that was holding the annual TDA convention and I saw a sign for the Alliance while I toured around with nearly one hundred 4th graders. The sign promoted a dental spouse event and after a quick search when I returned to Houston, I submitted my membership.

Emily: I’m so glad you saw that advertisement and took the initiative to join! In your experience how was the Alliance able to help you and your family through your husband’s career change and dental school?

April: Pat Cross, the former student spouse sponsor of AADA, did so much for my motivation while Nick was in school. I taught school full time, cared for our two young sons, and balanced home life during dental school. I’m sure many student spouses have had similar responsibilities! I applied for the grant to attend the AADA annual conference, and was absolutely thrilled to go! Pat Cross was brilliant: she had compiled a collection of encouraging letters from Alliance members to help us student spouses get through the tough times of dental school. She may not know how much I adore that booklet, but it was a very special—and appreciated—gift. Getting to meet members from around the country, seeing how they supported the dental profession in their own unique ways, and experiencing their enthusiasm at various events were all ways that the Alliance helped me during the years of dental school.

Nick graduated from University of Texas Dental Branch in May 2011. It was a proud moment for our whole family. Out of 84 (I think) graduating seniors, 2 of them “flew solo” and purchased their own practice. Nick was one of them. We negotiated money figures that could have induced nausea, we moved our family to a new city, I resigned from my teaching job, and our lives began a new chapter.

Two of Jacquelyn and Josh’s daughters

Emily: Stepping out like that was a really brave, and I’m sure nerve wracking move for your family.

Congratulations on your success, I saw that you recently celebrated your first year anniversary of owning the dental practice.

April: We did! And the Alliance continues to be a source of support and inspiration in my life. The state ATDA president, Sharon Bryant, came to a local dental society meeting. Spouses were invited—yay! I felt supported! She helped me join a small committee within the state Alliance and encouraged us to attend the state TDA meeting in San Antonio. We went, and I learned about how some state districts stay involved in the Alliance.

I’ve built upon some dental education project ideas that I learned about when Nick was in school. I have visited over 500 children in our local schools this year and taught them about dental health. I think that’s pretty good for the first year!

I was inspired by Alliance members and their active roles in their community events. I signed up Nick’s office to be an official sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in September 2012. We want to promote oral health awareness for cancer patients and survivors. Now I am a bit intimidated by such an ambitious undertaking, but I’ve been nudged by the encouragement of Alliance members to jump in and support the profession.

I still look at Pat Cross’s booklet. At first, when we had a slower month, it helped me to calm down and be positive. When I thought about taking on events like dental education presentations or the Race sponsorship, I was reminded of the many spouses who had taken on similar (and often MORE daunting projects) and I jumped right in. I like connecting through facebook, Alliance newsletters, and the website to see what others are doing. I think it’s great that we can support each other and share ideas so easily. From new offices opening up, sharing family events, or bouncing questions around, I like to know that someone is out there!

Emily: You are an amazing woman April, in just one year you have reached 500 children! What would you to say to encourage someone considering joining or starting their own Alliance chapter?

April: I believe prospective members must WANT to make a connection to the dental profession. It’s tough to make time with young kiddos and a busy schedule. However, I’ve found that the Alliance is a great, supportive community in which we dental spouses share a common thread. We come from all over the country, we are in many different seasons of life, and we have many different perspectives, but we all want to support, protect, and promote our spouse’s profession.

I just listened at first. Members are passionate about different aspects of the Alliance. I am still listening and learning HOW members become more involved and how I want to be involved.

Cobb Family Dentistry
Fun with Dental Health!


Cherri Goad

Cherri Goad


“Our future is bright. Thank you for all that you do. I challenge each of you to catch the spirit and spread the vision to others. We DO make a difference.”

AADA: How long have you been an Alliance Member-At-Large?

Cherri: I have been an Alliance Member-at-Large since 2008 when then 14th District Trustee, Ken Versman, DDS, and his wife, Linda, informed me about the ADAA. My husband, Dale, was installed as President of the New Mexico Dental Association at that dinner and the new information about the Alliance was exciting and timely. Dr. Versman is now Vice President of the ADA, and I’ll always be thankful to him and his wife for informing me about this wonderful organization.

AADA: Why is your Alliance membership important to you?

Cherri: When we arrived in Carrizozo, NM (via the National Health Service Corps), we were newlyweds of seventeen months. The community was rural and had a population of maybe a thousand people. I helped my husband, Dale, start his dental practice and worked by his side for thirteen years as a certified dental assistant before returning to teaching in our elementary and preschool programs. As a certified dental assistant and an elementary and early childhood teacher, I tried to lean toward the importance of nationally educating our youth at the preschool through elementary school levels to teach them about brushing, flossing, and diet as life-long skills. During February, I’d always present a thematic unit on Dental Health with field trips to our local dental office so children could meet the dentist and staff. We’d sit in the dental chairs, ride up and down, listen to the hygiene talks, and watch the demonstrations. I would also visit neighboring schools in the county to teach elementary children dental health.

Cherri and Dale Goad

Today, I believe legislative proactivity is very important to the profession. The Alliance has helped encourage and demonstrate the importance of being active at local, state, and national levels. I have gone with other dentists, spouses, and NMDA staff members to our state legislature in Santa Fe to educate our legislators on the dental needs of New Mexico. We lobby for good dental legislation and against those bills which jeopardize the professionalism of dentists and patients’ health. These legislative days are ideal times to meet peers and explain the Alliance’s purpose and demonstrate its support.

When Dale was president of the NMDA, I traveled with him to many of his events. We attended graduation at a hygiene school and participated in mentoring dinners for pre-dental students of two of New Mexico’s largest universities. If spouses were present, I informed them about the Alliance and the need to join. When Dale later became the 14th District’s representative to the ADA’s Council on Membership, I accompanied him to Chicago many times. I attended the social events always discussing the Alliance, swapping ideas about activities in other states, and enjoyed visiting the Alliance staff at headquarters in the ADA building.

The Alliance is so much more than the sum of its parts. Together as a unit we are able to accomplish amazing goals which not only serve dentistry but also the patients we treat. The Alliance is an extended family of sisters and brothers, some of whom I know, and some I do not know. The Alliance means fulfillment, friendships, fun, fellowship, and family (less by genetics and more by hearts). The dental abilities and talents have expanded through knowledge and ideas gained at conference programs, workshops, seminars, and one-on-one dialogue. I have developed some new leadership skills and have been given opportunities to travel. Our members have inspired me and given me courage to take on more duties in Alliance governance. I realize the effect and power we have when we all work together, sharing differing ideas, yet pulling in the same direction to achieve a common goal. Even though my husband is a dentist in a rural community health center, being an Alliance member is still critical to serving dentistry and improving the health of the community.

This organization has given me a family with which to exchange ideas , laugh, and even share recipes. It is like a reunion when we congregate at the ADA’s Annual Session and discuss what each of us have been up to. I gain new ideas about helping my state and area to move dentistry forward. My fellow Alliance members are like cheerleaders always rallying the team to move toward the future, not resting on past achievements, but striving to develop improved benchmarks to be reached.

AADA: What Alliance projects or events have you been able to participate in?

Cherri: Teaching dental health in our dental practice, public schools, clubs and organizations. I’ve attended/recruited at Eastern New Mexico District meetings and NMDA Annual Sessions. I’ve attended Alliance conventions; Pre-Dental mentoring dinners, and Dental Residents dinners. I have also participated in Missions of Mercy (hosted the booth for the Alliance and spoke with many on hazards of tobacco use, meth-mouth with Dipper Dan and Meth-Mouth Mary which were borrowed from another state’s Alliance. I was also a Delegate at the New Orleans session.

AADA:How would you suggest a new Member- At- Large to start getting involved?

Cherri: Our Alliance members must actively pursue new individuals to join by spreading the word at meetings and volunteer events. Your spouse’s practice is a great resource and avenue to contacting spouses. Be comfortable in the element you are in—small local get-togethers, dinners, etc., or a booth at your local educational meetings. Start in small steps. Get to know your state’s dental association’s director and staff. When they become allies, it opens many doors in membership. Enlist other Alliance members’ ideas and suggestions. Develop your network at the Alliance national meetings. Attend the Alliance Convention and make friends of other members, exchanging contact information for future idea sharing. Try not to become overwhelmed, but press forward one step after another. Prospective members must feel the NEED to make connections to the dental professions! The Alliance has members of all ages across all areas of the nation. Members should be involved when their state’s events or fundraisers. It is a place to brainstorm and see what has worked in other areas. Bloom where you are planted!

AADA: Thank you for sharing your time and talents with the Alliance – we look forward to another amazing year.


Susan Gardner

Susan Gardner


“There is a niche for everyone….I just happen to like it all!”

She has been married for 34 years to her husband Kim, current Vice President and soon to be President-elect of the Ohio Dental Association. When Kim first opened his office, Sue was the receptionist. As time passed, Sue left the office to raise and homeschool their four children. Before homeschooling, she was a first grade teacher in the Cleveland Public School system.

Sue first learned about the Alliance of the Ohio Dental Association at an Ohio Dental Association meeting which included an invitation to a reception for dental spouses. Her interest was peaked and she set out to find information about joining. In her research, she learned that becoming a member of the Alliance included membership in local, state and national Alliance associations or as a member-at-large.

Gigi Kudyba (GA) and Sue

On her local level, the Northeastern Ohio Dental Society had no Alliance; so Sue, with dear friend Bernadette Cavolo, started one! Twenty five years later the Alliance of the Northeastern Ohio Dental Society is still going strong. As President of her local component and of her state Alliance, Sue is working to make positive changes on the local, state, and national level.

Dental Health Education is Sue’s forte. Her background in education gives her the perfect skill set to teach the importance of dental health for every stage of life. Locally, Sue works to educate children in the school system on proper dental care. In elementary schools she dresses as the tooth fairy, handing out brushes and floss, teaching the children the importance of good dental hygiene and how to brush properly. When working with older students and groups in juvenile detention centers, she brings along her Meth Mouth Mary and Dipper Dan models to show how the use of meth and chewing tobacco can impact their dental and physical health, as well as appearance. Sue also finds great satisfaction working with the senior citizens, who need to be educated as their dental needs change with age.

Sue and Wendy Zent (IN)

In addition, Sue enjoys working with student spouses at the local dental school, assisting and collaborating with them as they plan their events. She also serves on the national level on the AADA Council on Dental Health Education and has been a speaker at AADA leadership meetings.

Sue enjoys working with student spouses at the local dental school, assisting and collaborating with them as they plan their events. She also serves on the national level on the AADA Council on Dental Health Education and has been a speaker at AADA leadership meetings.

In addition, Sue enjoys working with student spouses at the local dental school, assisting and collaborating with them as they plan their events. She also serves on the national level on the AADA Council on Dental Health Education and has been a speaker at AADA leadership meetings.

Alliance of the Ohio Dental Association (AODA)
executive board meeting and family picnic at the Gardner’s home.

Sue feels that the AADA makes her more aware of what is going on in her husband’s office, as well as gives her more opportunity to work in the community while she nurtures her political interest and knowledge. Sue says, “If you are thinking of joining the Alliance, there are benefits at all levels of involvement. You will get to work with incredibly inspiring and motivational people from all ages, stages and positions in life. The focus of the AADA Council on Dental Health Education is to reach all ages from cradle to grave. Alliance members focus on dental health education, legislative issues and the well-being of the dental family. There is a niche for everyone….I just happen to like it all!”

Now that her children are grown, Sue once again fills the position of receptionist in her husband’s practice. Through it all she says, “I am thankful I found the Alliance. Thankful for the friendships, mentors, fun times and knowledge shared by members. The Alliance has been a wonderful blessing in my life.”


Kyla Rollins

Kyla Rollins


“Volunteer work is a priceless opportunity to give back. We are proud to give Kyla Rollins recognition and to show her appreciation for her strength, talent and commitment to the Alliance and her community.”

Kyla Rollins
Student Spouse Alliance Member
juggles marriage to a dental student,
raising a daughter,
and being active in the Alliance.

Kyla grew up in a small town in Wyoming and married her high school sweetheart, Paul, in 2006. While supporting Paul through his undergrad at Utah State University, she completed her Medical Assisting degree. She worked as a Medical Assistant in a Pediatric office before having her daughter in 2009.

Paul and Kyla moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 2009 to start dental school at Case Western Reserve University. Kyla is able to stay at home with her 18 month old daughter, MaKendree. She enjoys being a representative for her class of student spouses, being involved in the Case Alliance Dental Association (CADA), and a Student Spouse Representative on the Alliance of the American Dental Association (AADA) Membership Council.

As a member of the CADA, Kyla has helped to put together the yearly Halloween Carnival for the CADA members and their spouses and to participate in dental health education projects. Her favorite project was helping with going to a local elementary school and teaching over 100 students about their dental health and distributing goody bags each containing a tooth brush, tooth paste, floss, brushing timer, and coloring book. Kyla came to realize that many children knew very little about their teeth and how to keep them healthy.

Attending her first AADA Conference in 2011 in Richmond, VA, was a great experience for Kyla. Not only did she gain insight into helping your spouse start a dental practice, in addition she gained a whole new appreciation for the Alliance. She saw how much hard work the alliance members put forth in all areas: legislative, education, membership, and well being. She came away from Conference with new friends and mentors and an excitement to continue being involved in the future!

Kyla presented a How To about Blogging at the Networking Luncheon during Conference 2011. You may have access to the detailed instructions on the AADA website in the For Member section under Resources > Membership.