Past Award Winners


Legislator of the Year Award

Employer of the Year Award

Advocate of the Year Award

Community Service Award

Hygienist of the Year Award

Student Scholarship Award

Outstanding Dental Hygiene Student Award

About Each Award

2018 Award Winners


2018 NDHA Representatives

From left to right:

  • Heather Hessheimer (Awards Chair)
  • Ryan Rutar (Immediate Past President)
  • Kelly Stava (LDHA Component Chair)
  • Blair Peterson (GNDHA Component Chair)
  • Karen Fiala (Past President)
  • Pat Brinkman-Falter (ADHA - Delegate Chair)
  • Stephanie Kuvetakis (Secretary)
  • Erin Haley (Treasurer)
  • Kat Galvan (Past VP and ADHA 2nd Alternate Delegate)
  • Tom Wekluk (President)

Advocate of the Year - Kristen Strasheim

Kristen has worked at the national level to help create the much needed gingivitis code, D4346. It took a long time for the CDT to recognize the gap in care and a committee of dental professionals have spent a tremendous amount of time responding to the need for an additional procedure between preventative prophylaxis and scaling root planing. Kristen has worked as an advocate for dental hygiene with her work on creating the new code which can truly help patients understand the severity of gingival inflammation. This new code has the potential to make a huge impact on dentistry and our ability to educate patients about their gingival health, and we thank individuals like Kristen, who advocated for its creation.

Kristen volunteers on several work groups with the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) including: Terminology Work Group, Current Dental Terminology Codes Work Group, Dental Quality Alliance (DQA) Work Group and SNOWMED Work Group. She also volunteered at Hope Community Church and for the Dream Factory as an executive committee member this past year. The Dream Factory grants dreams to chronically ill children.


Future Leader Award - Stephanie Kuvetakis

Stephanie has shown leadership within the profession of dental hygiene as a licensed and practicing dental hygienist by volunteering for both the Lincoln Component and Nebraska Dental Hygiene Association. She has volunteered to help find new officers for the Lincoln component when both the president, and vice president, stepped down from their positions unexpectedly. And also volunteer for Clinic with a Heart, a free clinic which provides dental and medical screenings, taking radiographs once a month, helping set up a protocol for doing so, and also training new volunteers. I have also tried to help promote the Nebraska Mission of Mercy and encourage other dental hygienists to volunteer for this event by writing articles in the monthly news letter when the event approaches, as well as having volunteered myself since its existence.

Stephanie would very much like to be able to spread access to dental hygiene, and dental care, in our communities. Although there are some wonderful programs put in place to help achieve these goals, there will always be a need for more. Being able to have hygienists in nursing home/retirement home settings, schools, and hospital settings, would really improve the quality of life for so many individuals.

Employer of the Year - Dr. Charles Genrich, DDS

Dr. Genrich has created and maintained a supportive workplace for dental hygienists by always being flexible with our schedules. He understands sometimes we may need more time with some patients, or may not be able to complete everything originally planned in an appointment. He also encourages shorter recare intervals for patients with gingival concerns. He is in constant communication with us, letting us know if there are any concerns or special needs of a patient. He also supplies what ever instruments we request, and does not put a restriction on how frequently we need to order more. Dr. Genrich is willing to listen to concerns we may have with a patient, and will always check areas we have mentioned, even if the patient is not "due" for an evaluation. The hygienists in his office always feel comfortable approaching him with any problems or concerns we may have regarding anything. Whenever a new patient arrives at our office, Dr. Genrich will express the importance of having the patient\'s gingival health taken care of before any dental work is completed, unless the patient is in pain or discomfort. He also keeps up on the latest technology, and encourages his dental hygienists to stay current on these as well. He recently purchased a CO2 laser to help with periodontal pockets on patients who have not shown improvement from conventional scaling and root planing. He will even find continuing education courses for his hygienists he thinks they may find interesting to go to.

Dr. Genrich displays respect and recognition to the dental hygiene profession in many ways. He understands the value and importance of a dental hygienist, and currently has two full time hygienists, and one part time hygienist employed at his office. It is a team effort at his office, and always says "two sets of eyes are better than one". One of the fist things Dr. Genrich asks once entering an operatory, besides how the patient is doing, is if we have noticed anything we were concerned about with them. For several years, Dr. Genrich taught the dental hygiene students dental anatomy at UNMC before the position was taken over by a dental hygiene faculty member. He is constantly being a mentor at his office as well, pointing out things observed on radiographs, as well as intraorally, and extraorally with a patient.


Dental Hygienist of the Year - Nicole Baker, RDH

 Nicole has demonstrated leadership at the local level of our association by serving as membership chair of PNDHA for 4 years, vice president of PNDHA for 1 year, and president of PNDHA for 2 years. Nicole is now serving at the state level for NDHA as HyPac Chair. And has also served on multiple committees at the state level including: Bylaws Committee for 1 year, Ethics Committee for 2 years, Education Committee for 2 years, and Legislative Committee for the past 2 years and still serving. Nicole has also taken on the role of a full time clinical dental hygiene instructor at UNMC College of Dentistry for the past 9 years. Ans also received my Dental Hygiene Public Health Authorization for treating Children and Adults in the state of Nebraska and have used it to help serve our local children at sealant programs and our local elderly residents at one of our local nursing homes.

Nicole envisions advancing the practice of dental hygiene by staying involved within our association and lending a helping hand at either the local level, at the state level, or national level. She says since being involved with PNDHA and NDHA, she has seen so much passion and devotion to the betterment of our association and I have just felt so happy to be a part of something so great. There are such a dedicated group of hygienists locally, statewide and nationally, all with the goal of making a better future for dental hygienists and our patients. I believe together we can accomplish so much towards advancing dental hygiene and advancing oral health care for everyone.


Community Service of the Year - Molly Asbjornson

For the past year,  Molly has volunteered at Clinic with a Heart where she helps assess the care of patients and also take radiographs for treatment planning. She has also held the role of co-president for the Lincoln Dental Hygienist Association where she helped plan and run meetings as well as coordinate continuing education courses.

Molly devotes some of her time to volunteering at Clinic with a Heart: one Tuesday a month from 5:30pm-7:00pm Co-President of LDHA (volunteer)- 4 hours spent a month coordinating and running one meeting per month.

Was the nominee creative or innovative with their public health contributions? Please explain in detail. (Essay limited to 250 words): I don\'t believe I was very creative or innovative while contributing to Clinic with a Heart as this program was already established however I do feel that I was able to help it grow and serve many people.

Molly is an advocate and volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She also helps out at their office every Friday afternoon and have been involved in their two major events of the year, the Dream Gala and T1D One Walk. Molly has been gone on two dental mission trips down to Honduras with Southwood Lutheran Church

Student Awards

Outstanding Student-CCC - Brooke Butterfield
Outstanding Student-IWCC - Ana Petersen
Outstanding Student-UNMC Lincoln - Courtney VonSeggern
Outstanding Student-UNMC West Division - Kelsey Ferris

NDHA Scholarship Recipient - Morgan Molacek