SDHA Conference Speakers

Conference Schedule | Sessions & Documents | AGM


Dr. Sheri McKinstry

Wabishki mitadim ojichidaa ikwe/ Dr. McKinstry is Anishinaabekwe from Treaty 1 territory, and proud member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba. She is married with four children and is honored to live and work on Treaty 6 territory. She is an assistant professor in the College of Dentistry at the University of Saskatchewan.

Dr. McKinstry completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Manitoba in 2001; and went on to attain a Bachelor of Science in Dentistry and a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 2005; also from the University of Manitoba. Upon graduation from dental school, she provided dental care in Indigenous communities for over a decade until she left to specialize in pediatric dentistry. During this time, Dr. McKinstry started a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies and obtained a master of Public Health in 2017, specifically in Indigenous Peoples’ Health from the University of Victoria. Here, her area of focus was in Reconciliation and Cultural Safety in Dentistry. Most recently she completed the Master of Dentistry/ Paediatric Dentistry Residency program at the University of Manitoba, where her research focus was on the oral health experience of First Nations Children.

Her goal is to use her knowledge and expertise to benefit Indigenous children and communities while transitioning into an academic and research career. Dr. McKinstry is a provisional fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in paediatric dentistry.

Cheri Wu, BDSc(DH)

Cheri holds a BDSc(DH) from the University of British Columbia and is a Dental Hygiene Practitioner with 31 years dedicated to clinical practice and education, including 10 years in non-profit dental care. In 2011, Cheri opened her independent dental hygiene clinic in Victoria, B.C. – ‘Focus On Dental Hygiene’ and is passionate about optimizing patient’s overall health. In partnership with DENTSPLY SIRONA, Cheri presents scientific, evidenced-based information and hands-on education for ultrasonic instrumentation, polishing and ergonomics. Her accomplishments include the UBC 2003 Gold Medal for Academic Excellence, the 2012 Camosun College Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2014 Barbara Heisterman Award for Innovation and Commitment to Care.
Andrea Melnyk, RDH

Andrea graduated from the Dental Hygiene program at the University of Alberta in 2007. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree specializing in Dental Hygiene and began her career as a registered dental hygienist in Edmonton, AB.

Andrea became interested in the field of orofacial myology after attending a continuing education course that highlighted the positive outcomes and life changing results orofacial myofunctional therapy can have on individuals. In 2013, Andrea began her training in orofacial myology at the Coulson Institute in Denver, Colorado. She has completed numerous training courses since then, and most recently, achieved her certification with the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM).

She owns and operates Saskatchewan Myofunctional Therapy, the first Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy clinic in the province whose sole purpose is to treat myofunctional disorders.

Andrea is committed to providing individualized therapy for patients of all ages. She is passionate about prevention and addressing the root cause of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) rather than just treating the symptoms. Her expertise includes correcting oral rest posture, noxious oral habit elimination, tongue thrust correction and identifying tongue and lip ties and their influence on growth and development of the teeth, jaws and airway.

Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH
Kathleen has been bringing engaging energy to the dental profession for over 30 years. Kathleen is the founder and president of rdhu Inc., a Professional Development company which provides team events, and delivers evidence-based education through hands-on and online learning. An interactive and popular presenter, Kathleen is committed to help ‘transform the dental hygiene experience’ for you, your client and your practice!

Beth Parkes, RDH, BSc

Beth Parkes is an engaging international speaker who has been a Registered Dental Hygienist for 16 years. She has worked in General and Independent Practice, Mobile Dental Hygiene, Orthodontics and Periodontics. She is the Vice President of rdhu Inc., leader of their Laser Training Program across Canada, a Quality Assurance coach, and a cast member of the ever-popular CE Show, The RDH View. Beth is a published author and a board member for Dental Hygiene Quarterly. Her vision is to help create leaders in the Dental Hygiene Profession, empowering them with knowledge and skill sets that will set them apart.
Dr. Salme Lavigne, RDH, PhD

Salme was the founding Director of the dental hygiene program at Confederation College (Thunder Bay, ON); Associate Professor & Chair of the Department of Dental Hygiene at Wichita State University (Wichita,KS); and Professor & Director, School of Dental Hygiene at the University of Manitoba. Currently, she holds the title of Senior Scholar at the University of Manitoba and is the Scientific Editor of the Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene (CJDH). Salme holds a Diploma in Dental Hygiene (University of Toronto), a BA in Biomedical Anthropology (Lakehead University), a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Education (University of Missouri-Kansas City) and a PhD in Community Health Sciences and Epidemiology (Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba). Salme is the recipient of Alumni of Distinction Awards from the University of Toronto and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry and recently received the Life Membership Award from the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association.

In addition to being the Scientific Editor of the CJDH, she is also currently a reviewer for two international journals, has authored chapters in three textbooks, has numerous publications in both national and international peer reviewed journals and has delivered over 100 continuing education presentations in Canada, the US, Scandinavia, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, China and South Africa. Her research interests lie in periodontics; oral-systemic health connections; and community health.

Dr. Amanda Gruza
DMD, Cert. GPR, FRCD(C), Oral & Maxillofacial Pathologist, Oral Medicine Specialist
Dr. Amanda Gruza graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, College of Dentistry in 2010 and subsequently completed a one-year General Practice Residency (GPR) at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Dr. Gruza then spent several years in private practice as a general dentist, and also supervised dental students as a part-time clinical faculty member at the U of S College of Dentistry. In 2019, Dr. Gruza completed the four-year, hospital-based combined Oral Medicine-Oral Pathology residency program through the University of British Columbia. Dr. Gruza is now a board-certified Oral & Maxillofacial Pathologist, as well as a board-certified Oral Medicine Specialist. She currently works at the U of S College of Dentistry as an Assistant Professor teaching both undergraduate dental students and medical residents. Dr. Gruza also works in private practice as an Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist in the Saskatchewan Health Authority and as an Oral Medicine Specialist at Saskatoon Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology (SOMOP). When she is not at work Dr. Gruza loves spending time with her husband and two children.

Rebecca Whitrow, RDH

Rebecca Whitrow graduated from SIAST as a dental hygienist in 1999. She currently works part-time at Riverbend Dental & owns You 1st Yoga.
Rebecca’s passion is fitness. She began teaching group fitness classes at 16 and has practiced yoga for 27 years. Feeling overwhelmed with the demands of motherhood, work and mental illness she knew she needed to do something to take care of herself so she could be there for her family. In 2020 she enrolled in 200HR YTT. She is currently working on her Masters Training and has completed certifications in Chair Yoga, Restorative, Stress & Trauma (Psoas) Release, Yoga for Athletes, for Youth, for Mental Health, Yoga Nidra, Meditation, Wellness Coaching & Mindful Eating.

You 1st Yoga, her yoga & self care coaching business is located at the Lake in Alta Vista, Saskatchewan. Classes are taught in the park during the summer, in the garage studio and online CST year round. Rebecca offers an unlimited video library membership so you can practice yoga anytime, anywhere & is the creator of Peace Practices, an online transformational self care course. She loves teaching private sessions and travels to several care homes, businesses & conferences in Saskatchewan.

Rebecca helps women, going through challenging times, go from worried & overwhelmed to peaceful & calm through self care; movement, meditation & mindfulness, so they can be there for those that they love. Her classes, courses & coaching focus on teaching you to slow down, listen to your body and care for yourself, helping calm the mind, lift the spirit & reduce stress. Rebecca specializes in slow flow & chair classes with lots modifications & alignment cues making the practices available to all levels.