Meet Your GADHA Board of Directors

Kym Whitehead, President


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 was Jr. President, and the Senior President of her graduating class. She receive 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, which she believes weaves her tightly into the fabric of our community. 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 patients’ health. As a member of TDHA, she has attended annual conference and acted as a delegate for the hygienists of Austin on multiple occasions, ensuring that the concerns of hygienists are met, so that the hygienists are able to focus of meeting the needs of the patients. 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 where she lives. She practices dental hygiene four days a week in a central Austin office, and enjoys baking bread and making jelly in her spare time.

Melissa Vetter
Melissa Chagollán Vetter, Trustee

TDHA Trustee
Melissa Chagollán Vetter, RDH

Melissa received her Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene from Austin Community College in 2016. She also holds a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Southern California. Her passion lies in community outreach and recently started an adjunct faculty position at Austin Community College as lab faculty for their community and other classroom courses. As an avid member of ADHA at both the local and state level, she hopes to provide resources for local components on how to organize community events while changing systemic issues in dental care in the US from a grassroots level. Her hobbies include playing viola in local chamber groups, walking with her husband, son, & two dogs, knitting, attending film festivals, and playing board games with friends.

Josette Chen

Vice President
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.

Trine Santa, Treasurer

Trine Santa, RDH

Trine began her career in the dental field as a Registered Dental Assistant in 1996. Over the following 15 years, she worked in General Dentistry, and then in the specialties of Orthodontics and Endodontics.. Trine then completed additional training to work as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical (Sedation) Technician. In 2011, Trine moved into the front office area for a General Dentistry practice as an Appointment and Insurance Coordinator, eventually moving into the Front Office Manager position.

These varied positions allowed Trine to experience all aspects of practice management and clinical patient care, and helped develop her passion for creating a safe and pleasant patient experience.

Trine graduated from the Dental Hygiene Program at ACC in 2016.  She was the lone recipient of the Susie K. Pearce Award, which recognized student excellence in patient care and clinical demeanor.  She currently works as a Registered Dental Hygienist for a private general practice in Oak Hill.

Trine is a new member to the GADHA Board of Directors this year.  She hopes her well-rounded dental experience will be an asset to help continue the great work of the past and current GADHA Board of Directors. 

Meet your GADHA Committee Chairs & Members

Sandy Tesch, Legislative Chair

Legislative Chair
Sandy Tesch, RDH, MSHP

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 (Health Education/Health Administration) at
Southwest Texas State University. She has been a registered dental
hygienist for over 40 years.

Sandy works as state employee within the DSHS Oral Health
Improvement Program (OHIP) for the office of the Public Health State
Dental Director. Her responsibilities include oversight of OHIP’s
perinatal oral health program and training, technical writing and
curriculum development, policy development, grant writing, and
project management. She serves nationally as a sealant consultant for
the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) and
also serves as a board director on the Texas Oral Health Coalition.

Sandy is a past president of both the Austin component and state
associations. She has served as TDHA’s Legislative Director and the
Governmental Affairs Councils (GAC) co-chair. On the national level,
she served as ADHA’s Vice-President and District IX Trustee. She
and her son Tyler live in Austin and spends their free time traveling,
movie going, and eating out.

Legislative Committee Members
Nancy Cline, RDH, MPH
Melissa Vetter, RDH
Kym Whitehead, RDH

Karen Tuel, Membership Chair

Membership Chair
Karen Tuel, RDH

I grew up in Maryland, I attended a two year Associate in Arts program at Montgomery College in Tacoma 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 1990. 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 Hygienists’ 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. For the last 2 years I have been one of the the reviewers of scholarships applications for the TDHA scholarships.

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 Membership Chair of GADHA for 2020-2021.

Membership Committee Members
Kirsten McGee Young, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH

Kimberly McDougall, Student Liaison

ADHA Student Chapter Liaison
Kimberly McDougall, RDH, MS

Kimberly grew up in Michigan. She graduated from Kellogg Community College with an Associate of Science degree in dental hygiene in 1990. She practiced in both general and periodontal practices until the summer of 1996 when she decided to go back to school full-time and started a temporary dental hygiene placement service.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University in 1997 and her Masters of Science from the University of Michigan in 1999. While obtaining her masters she was employed at the University of Michigan as an adjunctive clinical instructor in the dental hygiene department.

In 2000, Kimberly moved to TX. In 2002, she started working for a general dentist and continued working in private practice until 2010.

In 2003, the opportunity came to pursue her dreams and teach dental hygiene as an adjunctive clinical instructor at Austin Community College. She continues to teach at Austin Community College and is currently the First-Year Clinic Coordinator.

I look forward to serving as the ADHA Student Chapter Liaison Chairperson, it is both an honor and a privilege. I look forward to meeting and working with each and every one of you.



Student Affairs Committee Members
Josette Chen, RDH
Talie Henry, RDH
Trine Santa, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH


Community Outreach Chair
Kym Whitehead, RDH

Community Outreach Committee Members
Michelle Landrum, RDH, MEd
Yvette Wagner, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH

Continuing Education Chair
Josette Chen, RDH

Continuing Education Committee Members
Kirsten McGee Young, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH
Trine Santa, RDH

Nominating Chair
Melissa Vetter, RDH

Nominating Committee Members
Sandy Tesch, RDH, MSHP
Kym Whitehead, RDH

Scholarship Chair
Yvette Wagner, RDH

Scholarship Committee Members
Julia Levitt, RDH
Kimberly McDougall, RDH, MS
Karen Tuel, RDH

Budget and Financing Chair
Trine Santa, RDH

Budget and Financing Committee Members 
Karen Tuel, RDH
Melissa Vetter, RDH

Webmaster, Communications Chair
Melissa Vetter, RDH

Communications Committee Members
Josette Chen, RDH
Julia Levitt, RDH
Karen Tuel, RDH

Bylaws and Policy & Procedure Manual Co-Chairs
Sandy Tesch, RDH, MPHS

Nancy Cline, RDH, MPH

Nancy Cline, Bylaws and Policy & Procedures Co-Chair

I am a retired dental hygiene educator who moved to Texas 17 years ago. I graduated from the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, School of Dentistry, and received a Master’s Degree in Public Health at the University of Puerto Rico and was the Dental Hygiene Program Director at Louisiana State University School of Dentistry until 1999.

I am an active member of GADHA because the importance of belonging to my professional association was something that my faculty instilled in me when I was a student. There was no question. .You joined and you contributed. As an educator, I also required it of my faculty and students. Membership in ADHA not only makes the dental hygiene profession stronger, on a personal level, it gives you a “home” and a network of friends where ever you move. I have had “homes” in California, Puerto Rico, Georgia, Louisiana and now Texas. The dental hygiene friendships I have developed will last a lifetime.

Dental hygiene and libraries are dear to my heart.. In addition to my volunteer work for TDHA, I work one day a week at the Blanco Library and I am on its Board of Trustees. My husband and I live on a little ranch in the Hill Country outside Blanco where we enjoy our 6 longhorns, 3 miniature donkeys and one Great Pyreness dog, Boone.

Committee Members 
Trine Santa, RDH
Karen Tuel, RDH
Yvette Wagner, RDH

Are you interested in becoming a committee member?

Become involved by helping the different committees accomplish their goals. Select a committee to join!