Department of Primary Dental Care

Primary Dental Care hero image


The Department of Primary Dental Care plays a significant role in creating the next generation of oral health care professionals for our state and region. We focus on the development of dental, dental therapy and dental hygiene students as they gain technical skills, apply knowledge gained from their classroom experiences and embody the values and critical thinking skills demonstrated by our world-class faculty.  


The Department of Primary Dental Care is central to realizing the School of Dentistry’s mission  to advance health through scientific discovery, innovative education, and the highest-quality care for all communities. We advance health by:

  • creating new knowledge through community engagement, educational research and clinical trials.  
  • contributing to the curriculum. We provide over 200 credits of instruction toward five degree programs, delivering educational content in the classroom, online, in the clinic and in the community. Our faculty employ evidence-based teaching methods, often based on the results of their research initiatives.
  • by delivering preventive, diagnostic, and primary care in rural and urban settings. 
Leadership - Sheila Riggs

Sheila Riggs

Chair, Department of Primary Dental Care
[email protected]

Rosemary Burns-Valez, Department Administrator
[email protected]edu



The Department of Primary Dental Care is home to five divisions.

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Comprehensive Care

Comprehensive Care photo

The Division of Comprehensive Care is responsible for educating learners in the clinical setting. Six leaders each provide instruction for a group comprised of approximately 20 third-year DDS students, 20 fourth-year DDSstudents, one Dental Therapy learner, and  three dental hygiene students. Additional full- and part-time faculty provide instruction in the clinics.  We oversee the students’ development in regards to their technical and critical thinking skills for oral diagnosis, treatment planning, urgent care and restorative treatment. In addition, we work closely with all specialty departments ensuring a comprehensive plan for each patient.

Faculty and Color Group Leaders

Richard Nadeau, DDS, MPH
Division Director 
Clinical Professor 

Amy Browning, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor - Maroon

Wendy Engstrom, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor – Green

Gregory Gella, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor - Silver

Brian Hatch, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor – Yellow

Natalie Peterson, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor - Orange

Carmen Real, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor - Blue

Carol Meyer, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor
Director of Admissions

George Demonakos 
Clinical Assistant Professor

Kacie Woodis
Clinical Assistant Professor

Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene division photo

The Division of Dental Hygiene seeks to educate individuals who are prepared intellectually, technically and ethically to meet the oral health care needs and challenges of the future. Our purpose is to create a learning environment that fosters collaboration, lifelong learning, informed citizens and leaders, and oral health care professionals who provide quality care to diverse populations in a variety of settings. We are committed to excellence in dental hygiene education, practice, public health, management and research.


Cyndee Stull, DHSc, MDH, RDH
Assistant Professor 
Division Director and Director of MSDH Program

Christine Blue, DHSc, MS, RDH
Associate Professor

Priscilla Flynn, DrPH, MPH, LDH, CHES
Associate Professor

Michelle Arnett, RDH, MS, BS
Assistant Professor

Hiwet Ephrem, MSDH, RF
Clinical Professor
Dental Hygiene Admissions Chair

Yvette Reibel, EdD, LDH
Clinical Associate Professor
Clinic Director, Dental Hygiene

Megan O'Connell, MSDH
Clinical Assistant Professor
Assistant Clinic Director, DH

Keta Desai, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor
Dental Hygiene and Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology 

Keeley Flavin
Clinical Assistant Professor

Rachel Thelen
Clinical Assistant Professor

Kelly Rogers
Clinical Assistant Professor

Mercedes VanDeWiele
Clinical Assistant Professor
Hospital Consultant

Dental Public Health

Dental Public Health division

The Division of Dental Public Health educates, prevents and controls disease on a community basis. Rather than focusing on an individual, Dental Public Health serves the greater population. .


Karin Quick, DDS, PhD 
Associate Professor
Division Director

Boyen Huang, DDS, MHA, PhD
Associate Professor

Naty Lopez*, PhD
Associate Professor

Sheila Riggs, DDS, MS, DMSc
Associate Professor
Chair, Primary Dental Care

Dental Therapy

Dental Therapy division photo

The Division of Dental Therapy works to address issues with oral health care access to underserved communities within Minnesota by advancing the profession of dental therapy through a well-rounded dental education. 


Karl Self, DDS, MBA
Associate Professor 
Division Director
Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Drew Christianson, MDT
Clinical Associate Professor

Danae Seyffer, MDT
Clinical Associate Professor

Phonsuda Chanthivisouk
Research Assistant Professor

Outreach and Community Engagement

Outreach Division photo

The School of Dentistry has a strong commitment to community outreach. Students in the last year of their DDS, Dental Therapy and Dental Hygiene programs participate in community Outreach rotations through the Division of Outreach. Outreach experiences provide an opportunity for our students to develop a broad understanding of the community and social responsibilities they will have as dental professionals, treat a diverse patient population that is often underserved, enhance their clinical skills and participate in career promotion and interprofessional learning experiences. All dental services provided by students in Outreach are overseen by faculty of the School of Dentistry.


Angela Hastings, DMD
Clinical Associate Professor
Interim Division Director

Iqbal Petker
Clinical Assistant Professor

John Zupancic, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director, Hibbing Dental Clinic

Michael Henderson
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director, Mobile Dental Clinic