Meet Your GADHA Board of Directors
Kym Whitehead, RDH
Kym graduated from Austin Community College’s Dental Hygiene program in 2014. She became interested in the organizational side of the profession while still in school, and served as President of SCADHA in 2013-2014. She received the only Colgate STAAR award for total student achievement presented in Austin that same year. Kym has a longstanding commitment to community service, and helps organize GADHA’s involvement with the AISD Back To School Bash every year. Kym loves dental hygiene because the profession offers her a flexible schedule to pursue other non profit and volunteer activities. Kym believes that membership in ADHA allows her voice to be heard on a national level, assuring that procedures and standards are upheld for the sake of patient health. As a member of TDHA, she has attended convention and served as a delegate for the hygienists of Austin on multiple occasions, ensuring that the concerns of hygienists are met. Kym believes that membership in GADHA is the best way to meet a wide variety of hygienists of all ages and walks of life, in order to learn from their experience and perspective, and to discover new ways to give back to her community. She practices dental hygiene four days a week in a central Austin office, and enjoys baking bread and making jelly in her spare time.
Immediate Past President
Estela Lemus, RDH, BS
I am a practicing hygienist who moved to Austin in 2013. I graduated from Texas Woman’s University and have been practicing in private practice for four years. I was active in SCADHA during my school years and a TDHA student delegate. Upon moving to Austin I became active in my local chapter. I am an active member of GADHA because I think it’s important to belong to my professional organization. We only count in numbers and together is how we can make a change. My husband and I live in Avery Ranch. We have a 2.5 year old son, Ethan, and are currently expecting our second baby. We enjoy food and trying all the new restaurants. Our son Ethan keeps us busy and life interesting.
Yvette Wagner, RDH
I am a Bee County College graduate and have been practicing in the Southwest Austin area for the last 30 years. My husband and I enjoy traveling, boating, and spending time with our two grown children. My involvement in GADHA runs deep and it is with enthusiasm that I look forward to serving you this 2018-2019 term.
Melissa Vetter, RDH
I received my Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Austin Community College in 2016. I also hold a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Southern California. I served as Secretary and as Treasurer of my class’ SCADHA component. As an avid volunteer, I currently volunteer with Austin Humanists at Work helping Austin’s population of people experiencing homelessness and with Samaritan Health Ministries helping those without insurance receive healthcare for their chronic illnesses and dental needs. In 2016, I coordinated the Samaritan-ACC Dental Hygiene Rotation Program and serve as the Samaritan-ACC Rotation Liaison. Recently, I have taken on the role of monitoring and updating our component’s website and social media. This past May, I was installed as the 2018-2019 Vice President for the Greater Austin Dental Hygienists’ Association. I need to be a part of our professional organization because they support me as I organize volunteer opportunities and help change the systemic issues of dental care in the US from a grassroots level. My hobbies include playing viola and violin in local chamber groups, walking adventures with my two dogs, knitting and crocheting washcloths and hats for the homeless, attending film festivals with my husband, and playing board games with friends.
Karen Tuel, RDH
I grew up in Maryland. I attended a two year Associate in Arts program at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, Maryland. I was accepted at Howard University in the Dental Hygiene Program, which was a part of the College of Dentistry. I graduated in 1970. I moved to Austin in 1973. I obtained my Texas license in 1974. Over the years I practiced in a pediatric office, the City of Austin Dental Clinic, and a general dentistry office for 27 years. I practiced a total of 45 years but did take 2 years off when we had a baby. I retired in August of 2015. I have been a member of ADHA since 1991. It has given me many opportunities to be involved in service to the Austin community. For many years I have volunteered for “Seal Out Decay the Austin Way”, at Manos de Cristo Dental Clinic and ACC Dental Hygiene School , Health Fairs at Reagan High School, oral health presentations at elementary schools, a presentation at Seton Hospital to members of the local Parkinson’s Disease Society, and most recently AISD’s “Back to School Bash” at Palmer Auditorium in August, 2016. I am a grass roots dental hygienist and have represented Greater Austin Dental Hygiene Association at the TDHA Annual Session as a Delegate for several years. Locally I have been President, Secretary, and Treasurer of what was then the Austin District Dental Hygienists’ Society. I have also participated in TDHA’s “Legislative Awareness Day” at the Capitol. This year I was able to attend hearings concerning our bills during the current Legislative Session. I also testified during the Sunset hearing of TSBDE. I have made many friends over the years of membership in Austin and throughout the state. I love going to Continuing Ed programs and catching up with fellow hygienists. My husband and I are avid “birders”, and hikers of state and national parks. Over the years we have scuba dived, snow skied, and sailed on Lake Travis. He is the Secretary of our HOA and I am your new Treasurer of GADHA for 2017-2018, and 2018-2019.
Josette Chen, RDH
Josette graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from UT Austin before earning an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Austin Community College. She was involved in her class’ SCADHA component as historian and joined GADHA to stay involved with the dental hygiene community. She has high hopes and wants to be part of the positive force in advancing the dental hygiene profession in Texas. In her free time, Josette enjoys reading, attending concerts, traveling, and taking photos.
Lindsay Jorkos, RDH, BS
Lindsay attended Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio and has been practicing hygiene for 5 years. She is a member of her local component because of the friendships and connections she has made with other members in the association. She also feels that dental hygiene is more than just a job, it is her career and her profession and in order to see advancements in her profession, she must volunteer and support her professional association. Lindsay currently practices at 360 Dental Care with Dr. Michael Nussbaum, DDS. On her free time she enjoys being a triathlete, reading, hiking, and playing with her puppies.
Sandy Tesch, RDH
Sandy grew up in upstate New York and attended dental hygiene school at Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York. After working for a few years as a clinical hygienist, she went back to school full time to get a Bachelor of Science degree in school health education. Upon completion of her BSE degree, she was tired of the cold winters in NY and decided to move to Texas to further her professional career. Sandy worked as a dental hygiene clinician for several general practices while completing her Master of Science in Health Professions (Major-Health Education, Minor- Health Administration), from Southwest Texas State University. She has been a registered dental hygienist for 39 years.
Sandy has worked for over 24 years as a state employee for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, presently for the deputy commissioner, as a special project coordinator for the Texas Medicaid/CHIP programs and previously for the Oral Health Program as a Program Specialist. Her responsibilities included the coordination of dental public health activities to include a statewide dental sealant program, community outreach activities, marketing and education, policy development, project and contract management and grant writing.
Sandy is a past president of both the Austin component and state associations. She currently is serving as TDHA’s Legislative Director and the Governmental Affairs Councils (GAC) co-chair. On the national level, she served on the ADHA Board as Vice-President and District IX Trustee. She and her son Tyler live in Austin and spends their free time traveling, movie going, and reading.
Kirsten Young, RDH
I graduated from UT HSC SA in 1991. I know, I’ve been doing this a long time! I still love my career in dental hygiene. I wasn’t always a member of The American Dental Hygienists’ Association but I got here as fast as I could. LOL. After noticing all the hygienists’ I admired were members, I took a look at the organization and realized I could be one of those smart and professional people too. My long, successful career in general dentistry is contributed to the professional mentoring and networking with Greater Austin Dental Hygienists’ Association. And it’s members. Join us!
Meet your 2017 GADHA Committee Chairs
Sandy Tesch, RDH
Kirsten Young, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH
Erin Harry, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH