Terri Chandler

Founder/Executive Director

Ms. Chandler is the definition of an exceptional dental professional, and her passion for helping at-risk populations has made her a pioneer in school-based dental hygiene programs in the state of Nevada. At graduation from the College of Southern Nevada Dental Hygiene Program in 1999 she received both the Leadership Award and the Community Oral Health Award. In the thirteen years since her graduation, Ms. Chandler has continued to be a compassionate leader in her dental hygiene profession.

Ms. Chandler has been a constant leader in her professional organization locally, statewide and nationally, too. In 2006, Terri was awarded the Southern Nevada Dental Hygienists’ Association’s Outstanding Dental Hygienist Award for her excellence in leadership and professionalism. As a member of the Dental Hygiene Advisory Committee for the Dental Hygiene Program at the College of Southern Nevada for the past seven years, and as its Chair for 2009-2010, Ms. Chandler has advocated for the maintenance of the highest educational standards in order to ensure the most competent and safest dental hygiene care for the public.

On the state level, she has served as Speaker of the House at four different meetings of the Nevada Dental Hygienists’ Association’s House of Delegates. Most noteworthy is her national contributions as she has served on the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’ s Committee on Annual Session and she has attended ADHA’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C. In 2006 Ms. Chandler represented the State of Nevada by traveling to Capitol Hill as a participant in ADHA’s Lobby Day. There Ms. Chandler represented oral health advocates who desired to address the unmet oral health needs of Nevadans with the Nevada Senators in Washington to discuss possible solutions to Nevada’s and our Nation’s access to oral health care issues.

Ms. Chandler’s history as an oral health advocate began in 1998 while she participated in legislative efforts to improve the oral health of Nevadans as well. Through the Concerned Citizens for Water Fluoridation she worked tirelessly as a participant in the successful grass-roots campaign that supported water fluoridation. Legislation passed in the 1999 state legislative session made Clark County the first in the state to have a fluoridated public water supply.

Ms. Chandler’s commitment to public health dental hygiene is unparalleled. She has been deeply involved in the planning and execution of virtually every Give Kids A Smile Day, Sealant Day, screening event, or fundraising event for oral public health in Clark County since her arrival here. Her organizational skills have been instrumental in the success of many community outreach events, and she is also the first one to volunteer to directly provide care at these events as well. Her compassion for the at-risk population is obvious, and her energy and enthusiasm for planning and promoting events to treat the neediest in her community never dies.

Ms. Chandler has worked as the Nevada State Oral Health (NSHD) Coalition/Sealant Coordinator since 2004, and in that capacity has become an expert in public dental health issues. As she gained experience in facilitating communication and coordination between Nevada’s oral health coalitions, she helped identify and secure funding for, Seal Nevada, a school-based sealant program that utilized public health endorsed dental hygienists to deliver care to at-risk patients in public schools using mobile dental equipment. Her duties as the state’s coalition coordinator were wide ranging and complex, and helped sustain a diverse framework of public oral health programs, and supported the development of new programs to provide dental care to our state’s neediest residents.

Most recently, she dedicated all of her efforts to the creation of Future Smiles, a non-profit school based oral health program that addresses the unmet health needs of K-12 students. She serves as the Founder/Executive Director of Future Smiles, which partners with the Clark County School District. Since inception in 2009, Future Smiles has provided preventive oral health services to more than 3,000 at-risk children in school setting.

Without the vision of Ms. Chandler the at-risk children being served by Future Smiles would, more than likely, not have the necessary health intervention to prevent or end pain, poor nutrition as a result of dental disease, peer taunting due to ugly mouths caused by tooth decay, and most importantly, the drain that oral disease imparts on academic performance in at-risk children. Historically, these children show an inability to learn and lack initiative to contribute to their education.

These oral health needs are addressed due to an innovative approach that provides school-based oral health care coinciding with the support and professionalism of her team members composed of highly qualified public health dental hygienists. In the absence of Ms. Chandler’s efforts to spearhead Future Smiles, thousands of Southern Nevada children would not have the benefit of professional dental care; nor the life lessons that oral health education can instill in an at-risk population fostering health, well-being and successful adulthood.

A healthy child can be a happy child. A happy child can be a successful child. A successful child can become a contributor to the community. This circular logic is what Ms. Chandler and her organization, Future Smiles, is embracing. The roots of this movement have been planted. Ms. Chandler should be recognized for her courage, fortitude, outstanding contributions and determination to position good oral health for all children as criteria for Nevada.

Jennifer Henderson

Public Health Dental Hygienist

Being a native to Southern Nevada sometimes seems to be a rarity for Las Vegas. For over 21 years I had lived adjacent to Lone Mountain, when it truly was a lone mountain. After spending over 30 years in Las Vegas, a change was due and our family moved to Boulder City. When our two daughters started their elementary education, it was time to head back to college and do something I had always wanted to do… dental hygiene. In 2011, I graduated with an Associate in Dental Hygiene, then became a licensed Registered Dental Hygienist in the state of Nevada, and then received a Public Health Dental Hygiene Endorsement. While attending the College of Southern Nevada, there was an opportunity to volunteer with Future Smiles. There was such a need in the community that Future Smiles provided. Being able to educate children on how to take care of their oral health, as well as systemic health, and provide them with much needed services is so important and is where my passion lies. The rewards from public health are undeniable. Helping children seems to be the right direction for me and to focus children towards the goal that they can have control over their oral health is extremely rewarding.

When not working as a dental hygienist, I am an active member of the Southern Nevada Dental Hygiene Association and of Sigma Phi Alpha (Dental Hygiene Honor Society). Since education is something that is important, I have continued with bachelors’ classes with the College of Southern Nevada, and plan to graduate in 2014. During free time, our family enjoys the trail system out at Lake Mead, as it is a great place to go for a run or a hike. The trails have been very helpful in my training for half marathons, in which I will hopefully run a sub two hour half-marathon in the near future.

Ariana Goertz

Data Director

Athena McCartin

Registered Dental Assistant

Bella Cruz-Hernandez

Program Assistant

Brenda Alires

Public Health Dental Hygienist

I was born in Southern California, moved to Las Vegas and attended Von Tobel and Eldorado High School. I moved to Jonesboro, AR and lived there for 23 years as a hairstylist. I always wanted to work in healthcare so when I moved back to Las Vegas in 2005, I returned to school at the College of Southern Nevada and graduated in 2011 with a degree in Dental Hygiene. I am proud to have won the community award while in school. I was working in private practice however I always loved to serve others, especially children. I have volunteered throughout my career. I am licensed in anesthesia, laser certified, and am now Oraspa trained. I take many continuing education courses and am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree.

When I was approached by Future Smiles to submit a resume I was very excited. I had volunteered many times throughout my dental hygiene schooling at Future Smiles, and had a love for the work they do. Being a part of Future Smiles and serving in a larger way to help children that otherwise may not have access to care is a rewarding experience. I was very fearful of dentists as a child because of bad experiences and am honored to help children overcome their aversion to dental care. Even better if we are able to prevent oral disease before it begins and give them the proper education in taking care of their oral health early on then they are ahead in their lives and makes this program a true blessing. I have two dogs, Sammy and Chelsey, whom are rescued dogs and are now my furry children.

Elizabeth Bruins

Public Health Dental Hygienist

I am Elizabeth Bruins or I prefer to be called Liz. I am a public health dental hygienist for Future Smiles since 2015. I have worked in the Las Vegas dental community as a hygienist for 17 years. I graduated from Community College of Southern Nevada (CSN) accredited dental hygiene program in 1999. I am certified in anesthesia and laser therapy. I am extremely passionate about dental hygiene and have actively volunteered for many community dental programs and provided oral dental instructions to many Clark County school children. I am committed to providing patients with the dental care and knowledge they deserve and expect from a dental professional.

I have lived in Las Vegas for my whole life though not enough to be considered a Nevada native. My family moved here in 1968 when my father was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. I am from a family of 6 children and we all are located in the northwest side of Las Vegas valley where we grew up. I graduated from Western High School. I am married to the man of my dreams for 30 years who is also from Las Vegas. We have 2 children, Braden and Sydney. Las Vegas has always been our home and community and we hope the same for our children and thier children. It is a pleasure to ensure the oral health for Las Vegas children and provide them with a lasting smile.

Elizabeth Metz

Public Health Dental Hygienist

Jan Taylor

Case Manager

Jessica Woods

Public Health Dental Hygienist

Karen Portillo

Public Health Dental Hygienist

Nataly Hernandez

Registered Dental Assistant

My name is Nataly Hernandez, I was born in southern California but have lived in Las Vegas for the majority of my life. After graduating from high school, I joined the US Army Reserves and was enlisted for 10 years. During my time in the military, I was able to attend military training in different parts of the US. As a soldier, my occupations included military communications and information technology.

Being in the reserve allowed me to have a career in the dental field as well. I worked in private dental offices for over 11 years. Since working for Future Smiles, I have a different view on dental care. Teaching children the basics of dental care will hopefully prevent them from having to spend time and a lot of money to restore their teeth in the future. The mission of this non-profit organization is prevention. Everyone on the team strives to educate young people about the importance of preventing dental disease and provides the tools to do so.

The best part about being a part of this great team of caring individuals is the rewarding feeling I get at the end of each day. I know I did my part in helping my community by sharing essential dental care information with someone who may not understand the importance of it.

Xochitl Flores

Registered Dental Assistant

Xochitl Flores has been working in the Dental field for over 5 years. She worked for a dental corporate office and private practice before joining the Future Smiles team. As a parent she understand the vision and purpose of Future Smiles.

She feels very fortunate to work and also be able to be a part of a program that provides the best services for the children in our communities. She did not know anything about public health, and after 3 years she has learned it's a very difficult path that requires focus and effort, but also understands that at the end it’s one of the most rewarding jobs she could ever have. She admires the team for all their dedication on educating our students.

She hopes to continue this journey and keep learning from all the wonderful experiences she learns every day.