The ADTA Celebrates Newly Licensed Board Members

The ADTA congratulates board members, Immediate Past President Kari Ann Kuntzelman, and Treasurer Mark Kobylinsky on becoming newly licensed dental therapists in the State of Oregon.

Kuntzelman, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, moved to Alaska in 2017 to attend the Alaska Dental Therapy Education Program (ADTEP). Upon graduating from the program, she returned home to her urban community in Portland, Oregon, to give back to her people, and join the efforts to end oral health inequity. In 2019, Kuntzelman graduated from the ADTEP Program and worked under Dental Pilot Project #100 in the State of Oregon at the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA) for two and a half years. In April 2022, she joined the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board as a Dental Health Aide Education Specialist, advocating for dental therapists and other levels of dental health aides. On January 5th, 2023, Kuntzelman became the 11th licensed dental therapist in the State of Oregon.

When asked about her recent accomplishment, Kuntzelman stated, "As a child, I moved a lot. I went to five high schools in four states. The traditional college education path did not fit my life, but the dental therapy program I attended in Alaska did. I am proud and honored to be the 11th licensed dental therapist for the State of Oregon.

Kobylinsky's journey began quite differently. In 2012, he started a dental hygiene program at Mount Hood Community College. After working as a restorative dental hygienist for six years, Mark had a fantastic opportunity to participate in the Dental Pilot Project #300 to become a dental therapist. Alongside six other students, he completed the first-ever cohort of the dental therapy program through Pacific University and, at the end of 2022, became the 8th licensed dental therapist in the State of Oregon.

Mark works for Willamette Dental Group in Portland, Oregon, serving the underserved population. When asked about his career path, he states, "I am grateful to be a part of the growing profession of dental therapy and appreciate the opportunity to increase access to oral health care to those who need it most."

The State of Oregon created two dental therapy pilot projects: Dental Pilot Project #100, which began in 2016, and Dental Pilot Project #300, which started in 2020. Each pilot utilized a different education pathway. In July 2021, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2528, which authorizes licensed dental therapists to practice in Oregon. Next, Oregon created a Dental Therapy Rules Oversight Committee that included dentists, dental therapists, hygienists, a dental assistant, and an at-large community member. The Dental Therapy Rules Oversight Committee worked to create rules surrounding dental therapy licensure and oversight by the Oregon Board of Dentistry. Finally, on July 1, 2022, the Oregon Board of Dentistry began accepting applications for dental therapists. 

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