Class VIII: 2016-2017
Click on the individuals name for more information.

Rachel Alexander

Rachel Alexander is the Policy Director at Oral Health Kansas, a position that includes overseeing and implementing the Kansas Oral Health Connections initiative through the DentaQuest Foundation. Rachel has been involved in Kansas policy for a few years, most recently as the Program Manager with the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition where she worked with stakeholders on major advocacy efforts, including Medicaid expansion and oral health initiatives.

Rachel graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Political Science. Other projects and organizations that Rachel is involved in include RevUp Kansas, KanCare Advocates Network, Tobacco-Free Kansas Coalition and the Midwest Regional Oral Health Connections Team where she represents Kansas as the state representative.

Rachel and her long time significant other, David enjoy spending time with their son, Roman, and their friends and family. Her passions are baking, reading and traveling.

Bill BlasingBill Blasing is the Executive Director of America’s Dentists Care Foundation (ADCF) in Wichita, KS (  ADCF has been in operation since 2008 and facilitates the delivery of oral healthcare to the underserved by performing its duties as the provider of equipment and expertise for Mission of Mercy free oral healthcare events across America.

Before joining ADCF, Bill held leadership positions in various organizations from corporate America to small, privately owned businesses in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.  Bill has also owned his own business performing outsourced customer service and risk management in the home building/condo industry. 

Bill and his wife, Gina, have been sweethearts since 3rd grade and came back home to Kansas in 2002 to be closer to family.

Keyna Chertoff

Keyna Chertoff, M.A. joined the UMKC School of Dentistry in January, 2016 as the Study Coordinator for a grant awarded by NIDCR. This is a feasibility study to evaluate the outcomes of oral health workforce policies in Missouri and Kansas. UMKC investigators are examining the impact of dental hygienists in Kansas and Missouri, assessing oral health and social outcomes in kindergarten- through high school-aged children from underserved, primarily rural communities. Ms. Chertoff organizes all aspects of the research project, managing operational responsibilities, attending monthly research team meetings, developing data collection instruments, and determining inputs for the cost analysis. She also sees to it that everyone remains in compliance with local, state and federal regulations.

Prior to joining the School of Dentistry, Ms. Chertoff spent 13 years at UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. She worked with faculty on several public health studies, including fall prevention in the elderly, medication adherence in HIV infected individuals, and health literacy of incarcerated women.  She also facilitated faculty research activities by being responsible for management of processes related to grant development and submission, and for data-handling of funded projects. She coordinated the grant application requirements, including budget development, subcontract negotiations, support letters, implements internal review and signature process, prepared sponsor application forms, and transmitted the proposals. She managed reference, survey, and teaching databases and assisted with manuscript preparation.

Denise Cyzman

Denise Cyzman is the Executive Director of the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved, KAMU, which is the federally-designated primary care association.  KAMU support its 50+ member organizations through advocacy, education, and communication.  Denise provides operational leadership and ensures a strong fiscal foundation to accomplish organizational goals. With the Board of Directors, she guides the strategic direction, identifies and enhances strategic opportunities and partnerships, secures diversified funding, and advocates for policies to strengthen the safety net clinic system in Kansas. Denise also serves as the primary spokesperson for KAMU.

Since 1996, Denise has served in leadership positions for state and nationally-based non-profit health organizations, as well as state government. Immediately prior to joining KAMU, Denise was Vice President of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. Denise has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition and a Master of Science degree in Health Education from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  Additionally, she is a graduate of the Sunflower Foundation’s Advocacy Fellowship and the University of Kansas’ Community Health Center Executive Fellowship.

Cheryl Helmer

Cheryl Helmer is a Guidance Counselor with USD 259 and before that served as a Biology and Environmental Science and Math Instructor in the classroom so she hasexperience with all ages of students.  She is also an Adjunct Professor at Baker University and Wichita Area Technical University.

 “I am so excited to serve with the Class VIII, bringing fluorinated, clean, healthy drinking water to more of our municipalities!”

Alexandro (Alex) Martinez

Alexandro (Alex) Martinez is a Community Health Worker (CHW) for Score 1 for Health, an outreach program from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience (KCU).

Alex was born in Veracruz, Mexico and immigrated to the United States at a young age. Alex completed his CHW course at MCC-Penn Valley in 2015.

As a CHW, Alex’s focus is to help underserved families in the greater Kansas City area to access Oral Health; He targets Hispanic families who might have a language barrier and/or are simply afraid to access care. Before Score 1, he worked for a dental practice in Independence, MO, where he encountered a high need for education and interpretation services for those families. As a CHW Alex is able to schedule appointments for clients, advocate, and interpret for them. 

Alex is passionate about the communities he serves, in his free time he acts as an online organizer for an organization that advocates for higher education for undocumented immigrants.

Davette McCoy, RDH, BSDH, ECP III

Davette McCoy has been a dental hygienist for five years at E.C. Tyree Health and Dental Clinic. E.C. Tyree is a non-profit clinic, which provides medical, dental and mental health services for the underserved population. Immediately after graduating from dental hygiene school at Wichita State University in 2011, Davette began working at the clinic. She was among the first class to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from the university.  She has coordinated the Give Kids a Smile’s free clinic in the hygiene department, where she is the lead dental hygienist. She has volunteered at several Kansas Mission of Mercy events over the course of her career. Davette obtained an Extended Care Permit (ECP III) with the state of Kansas in 2014 where she endeavors to bridge the gap of those without dental care, serving those in need.

Davette serves as an adjunct faculty at Wichita State University. The E.C. Tyree Dental Clinic acts as an extramural site for the dental hygiene students.  She thoroughly enjoys teaching students and aiding them in preparation for their upcoming careers as hygienists.  In the future, Davette plans to assist with the expansion of the dental outreach program into nursing homes and home health agencies. In addition, she wants to develop partnerships with the special needs population.

Currently, Davette resides in Wichita with her husband, Ramere’ and children, Milana and Joshua and Camilla their dog.

Adrienne Olejnik

Adrienne Olejnik is the Director of the Rossville Community Library, a position that has allowed her to get more involved in the community and make the library a valuable resource for the Rossville area. Adrienne also serves on the Rossville City Council, Rossville Community Foundation Board, and is a member of Topeka South Rotary.

In 2016, she ran for the Kansas legislature for State Representative in the 51st District and enjoyed getting out into the many communities in her district and meeting constituents. Adrienne is interested in learning how to make progress on the complex issues our state faces when it comes to oral health, especially for children.

Adrienne graduated from Washburn University with a BBA in Finance and Management, was a part of the 2015 Leadership Greater Topeka class, and was recently selected as one of Topeka's Top 20 Under 40.

Michelle Ponce

Michelle Ponce is the executive director of the Kansas Association of Local Health Departments and has served in this role since August 2011.  Previously, she held a variety of positions with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, including director of communications and special assistant for the Integrated Services Delivery division. 

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Emporia State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Wichita State University and is a 2014 Sunflower Health Foundation Advocacy Fellow.

She lives in Emporia, Kansas with her husband and their four sons.

Kelly Rippel

Kelly Rippel joined Oral Health Kansas in January of 2016. He is a Topeka native who came to the organization after working nearly 6 years with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. Kelly graduated from Emporia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and a minor in sociology.

In the time he has been at Oral Health Kansas he has coordinated the Thirsty for Health project, and attended conferences with local as well as national partners including the CDC Community Water Fluoridation Practices & Principles training and the National Oral Health Conference.

Other projects and organizations Kelly is passionate about are the National Teachers Hall of Fame, the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas and Topeka Civic Theatre Academy.

James Trotter DDS, FAGD, FACD

James B. Trotter DDS, FAGD, FACD joined the faculty of UMKC, School of Dentistry in 2008 after practicing in Overland Park, KS for 30 years. He serves in the Department of Restorative Clinical Sciences as Assistant Clinical Professor where he teaches clinical dentistry to pre-doctoral students and is Course Director for Operative III, Aesthetic Dentistry. He has been active in organized dentistry for 40 years in the Fifth District Dental Society, Kansas Dental Association, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry and American College of Dentists. He enjoys presenting seminars to students and faculty on the subject of Ethics in Dentistry.

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