Oral Health Alliance Team

Brent Lin DMD, Oral Health Alliance Director

Brent Lin, DMD, is currently a Clinical Professor in the Division of Pediatric Dentistry and the Director of the Pre-Doctoral Pediatric Dentistry Program at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Prior to joining the faculty at UCSF, Dr. Lin was a full-time faculty in the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He received his dental degree from Temple University School of Dentistry in 1992, Certificate in Geriatric Dentistry from the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1997, Certificate in General Practice Residency from Yale – New Haven Hospital in 1999, and Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from the St. Barnabas Hospital in 2001.
Dr. Lin is an active member in the American Dental Education Association. He was a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Pediatric Dentistry and reviewer for several other peer review journals. He was awarded “Excellence in Dental Education” by the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 2006, UCSF Mentor of the Year award in 2009 and again in 2013, Albert Schweitzer Academic Mentor of the Year award in 2010, and Certificate of Honor by the City and the County of San Francisco in 2013. He has been involved with numerous public health & community service activities and clinical researches. Some of his grant supports are industry supported FDA approved phase IV clinical trials, National Children's Oral Health Foundation, and Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). He has given lectures throughout U.S. and Asia and has authored over 45 abstracts, book chapters, and articles in pediatric dentistry and geriatric dentistry.



Wilson Cruz, B.A. Program Coordinator

Wilson Cruz is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Boston where he received degrees in Philosophy and English Literature. He has held analyst positions in marketing, financial, and engineering firms in Massachusetts and California--most notably, L. Rudolf Engineering, First Data, Inc., and Western Union Payment Services. Wilson has been a member of the UCSF family since October 2010 when he joined the administration team of UCSF Orthodontics. Currently, Wilson's role as Program Coordinator is to build and guide logistics and administrative projects that are vital to the success of the Oral Health Alliance.





Abbey Alkon, RN, PNP, MPH, PhD

Abbey Alkon, RN, PNP, PhD is a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. She is an epidemiologist and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and she works on multi-disciplinary, research teams. Her research focuses on understanding how children’s exposure to adversity early in life and their physiologic responsiveness to their environment effects their health. Her studies include children from ethnically-diverse, low income families. Dr. Alkon is an investigator at the University of California, Berkeley Center on Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) and Director of the California Childcare Health Program (CCHP). Dr. Alkon’s teams also provide service, education, and research to improve the health and safety for children attending child care programs in the U.S. At UCSF School of Nursing, Dr. Alkon teaches the Masters and Doctoral courses on Research Methods.



Karen Duderstadt, RN, PhD, FAAN

Dr. Karen Duderstadt is a Clinical Professor at the UCSF School of Nursing, and teaches in the Advanced Practice Pediatric Nursing program. She completed her PhD at UCSF in Nursing & Health Policy in 2006, and her research focused on access to care for low-income children. Her work over two decades has focused on access to care for patients and families through expansion of public health insurance programs. Since 2005, her clinical practice is with the urban, low-income Spanish speaking population of children and families at San Francisco General Hospital Children’s Health Center. Dr. Duderstadt served as the Health Policy/Legislative Chair for the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners from 2002 to 2006. She worked on healthcare reform and reauthorization of Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). She has been a member of the prevention of Childhood Obesity Initiative was a contributing author to the Childhood Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines published in 2006. She also published the 2nd Edition of her popular Elsevier Pediatric Physical Assessment in 2014.



Gail Feinberg DO, FACOFP, M.Ed

Native Californian, attended UCLA with Psychobiology Major, Western University-College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific for medical school, and Residency in Family Medicine at University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey – Stratford Division. Upon completion of residency, served her National Health Service Corps obligation in Ironton, Ohio where she quickly became Medical Director of the Community Health Centers there, and a member of the board of USPHS Region 5. She then moved her practice across the Ohio river to a community hospital in Ashland, Kentucky and became the practice site for the then new Family Medicine Residency at the hospital. After 3 years, she became the Director of Medical Education and Program Director for the hospital/program, and served in that capacity until moving back to California in June, 2016. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Primary Care at Touro University California in Vallejo, CA. She is married and has two adult children and one grandchild.


Susan A. Fisher-Owens, MD is a practicing Pediatrician in San Francisco, CA. Dr. Fisher-Owens graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 2001 and has been in practice for 16 years. Dr. Fisher-Owens accepts multiple insurance plans including Aetna, Medicare and PacifiCare (UnitedHealthcare). Dr. Fisher-Owens also practices at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. In addition to English, Dr. Fisher-Owens's practice supportedActions these languages: Arabic, Tagalog, French, Polish, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese and Russian



Dental Hygiene

Nancy Cheung, RDA, RDH, MPA, HSA, is the Program Director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Chabot College in Hayward, California. She received her Bachelor degree of Science in Dental Hygiene from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1992, followed by a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Health Services Administration from the University of San Francisco (USF), College of Professional Studies in 1998.
Nancy’s vision for the Dental Hygiene Program at Chabot is to be the leader of the community, to educate lifelong learners, to train highly skilled professionals, and to foster incomparable ethical leaders in dental hygiene.

Elizabeth Couch, RDH, MS is an assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), School of Dentistry. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2007, associate’s degree in dental hygiene from Cabrillo College in 2011, and master’s degree in dental hygiene from UCSF in 2012. She currently teaches in the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene program at UCSF and is the project director of a longitudinal cohort study of conventional and alterative smokeless tobacco use among adolescents in rural areas of California. Her research goals are focused on understanding the behavioral, environmental, biological, and social factors that influence oral and systemic health among vulnerable populations



Elena Ortega, RDH, MS is the Interim Director of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program. She received her Bachelor of Art degree from Occidental College, and Bachelor of Science and Master degrees in dental hygiene from UCSF. Her area of focus is in teaching, specifically, in dental hygiene basic preparation programs. Her research focus is in developing the dental hygiene scholarly identity within undergraduate and graduate education.






Troy Santos B.S.- is currently a pharmacy student at the UCSF School of Pharmacy, class of 2019. He previously completed his Bachelor’s degree in Cell Biology & Human Physiology at U.C. Berkeley. He is the 2017-2018 President of UCSF GPSA, and looks to increase interdivision collaboration within the UCSF student body. He is the current executive clinic director at Mabuhay Health Center, a clinic that serves the SoMa community in San Francisco. Troy was previously an Albert Schweitzer Fellow in 2016-2017, and the President of Pilipinos at UCSF Student Organization (PUSO) in 2015-2016.

Troy is currently leading a research project focusing on tobacco usage in college student populations. He is also working on research projects involved with patients at the Women’s HIV clinic at UCSF, as well as a project on medication reconciliation in dental clinics.





Linda Centore, PhD, ANP

Dr. Linda Centore is a health sciences clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry. She is the Division Chair of Behavioral Sciences and Community Dental Education which houses the Advanced Education General Dentistry Residency Program and the Community Service Learning Externship Program. As a licensed psychologist and board-certified adult nurse practitioner, she teaches medical risk assessment, behavioral sciences, and cultural competency to dental students and works with challenging patients in the student clinic.


Ha (Jacklynn) Thai, DDS: Associate Clinical Professor 2007-Present.
Dr. Thai is part of our pre-doctoral pediatric faculty team. She is involved in the instruction of pediatric dentistry in our didactic and clinical courses. She is board certified with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Thai is married with two children. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new restaurants and practicing yoga. She is in private practice in the East Bay: www.kiddodentist.com.



Devon Cooper DMD

Dr. Devon Cooper was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, had a big move deep south to Ocean Springs, Mississippi when he was 13, attended the University of South Alabama where he received a Bachelors of Science in biology with a minor in Spanish. Devon has always wanted to be a dentist because a pediatric dentist impacted him at the age of 8, which influenced him to pursue a career in dentistry. Dr. Cooper feels very blessed to be a part of the UCSF Pediatric Dental Residency Class of 2018.



Remya Niranjan DDS

Dr Remya Niranjan earned her Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2004 from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, India . After immigrating to the U.S in 2005 , Dr.Niranjan earned her DDS from University of California San Francisco in 2011. Upon graduation , she focussed on serving rural communities in Central Valley of California and is a faculty at UCSF. She works at Livingston Community Health in Hilmar CA where she was instrumental in opening the dental clinic. Dr.Niranjan is facilitating an engagement between UCSF and the Livingston Community Health in order to better serve the population in Central Valley.
Her goal is to administer quality care to pediatric patients and hopes to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry. On a personal note, she enjoys spending time with her family and travelling to experience various cultures.


Ruchita Lalmalani DDS

Ruchita received her Bachelor of Dental Surgery Degree from Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital in 2014. She is currently doing a fellowship in Pediatric Dentistry at UCSF and wants to pursue a career in Pediatric Dentistry. She feels very fortunate to be a part the Oral Health Alliance and is working on developing outcome assessment tools for inter-professional education and case presentations for discussions & evaluations.




Irene Ching -B.S.

Irene Ching is a second-year dental student at UCSF, where she is expected to graduate in 2018. As part of the Oral Health Alliance, she will develop an interprofessional elective to introduce non-dental, health professional students to preventive dental care and early dental disease recognition. Irene received her Master’s in Global Health from UCSF in 2014 and her B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University in 2013.




Jungsoo Kim -B.S. 

JungSoo Kim is a dental student at the UCSF School of Dentistry, expected to receive her D.D.S. degree in 2019. In the Oral Health Alliance group, Ms. Kim is responsible for organizing its first annual Symposium and for outcome assessments in its projects. Prior to dental school, Ms. Kim worked as a Junior Professional Associate for four years at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Ms. Kim received her B.S. with high honors in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2011.



Sheela Lewis -B.S. B.A.

Sheela is a dental student at the UCSF School of Dentistry, expected to receive her D.D.S degree in 2020. She joined the Oral Health Alliance Team to help with the sustainability of the Oral Health Alliance team and organize it's various programs including: the Interprofessional Education for Primary Care Providers, Undergraduate College Day Event, Oral Health Symposium, and Pediatric Oral Hygiene Fellowship Program. She looks forward to spreading the importance of interprofessionalism and empowering minority and underrepresented students to pursue the dental profession. Sheela received her B.S in Chemistry and B.A in Studio Art from California State University of Bakersfield in 2016.



Deepika Ramachandran- B.D.S., M.P.H is currently an international dental student at the UCSF School of Dentistry, expected to receive her D.D.S degree in 2019. She is a former trainee and graduate of Interprofessional Education for Primary Care Providers. As part of the Oral Health Alliance Team, she is actively involved in setting up the first pediatric dental component at the Women’s and Infant Clinic in San Francisco General Hospital. She is also working on a project, developing a fluoride clinical skills assessment tool that can be used among inter professional trainees. Her focus is to increase access to oral health care for children living in underserved areas and providing them with quality dental services to ensure their overall well-being. She received her Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 2012 from Sri Ramachandra University, India and earned her Master’s in Public Health from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia in 2016.


Punam Patel- B.S,  is a first-year dental student and graduate from UCLA in 2012 with a B.S. degree in Psychobiology. Prior to dental school she worked as a research assistant in a neuroscience lab that focused on studying visual system development, and in a lab that worked on craniofacial development and bone regeneration. Punam is looking forward to working with The Oral Health Alliance on its initiatives to reduce the disparities that exist in oral healthcare among under-privileged children, while raising awareness about the importance of inter-professionalism.




Christina Shih is a dental student at the UCSF School of Dentistry, expected to receiver her D.D.S. degree in 2021. She joined the Oral Health Alliance to conduct outcome assessments in various projects. Christina received her B.A. with honors in Molecular and Cell Biology and B.A. in Public Health from UC Berkeley in 2015.





Kuljit Singh- B.D.S. is an international dental student at the UCSF School of Dentistry, expected to graduate in 2020. He received his B.D.S degree from Baba Farid University in 2015. Prior to his enrollment, Kuljit worked at UCSF as a research and dental assistant as well as a pre-clinical simulation teaching assistant. As a research fellow, he was involved in research focused on dental informatics assessment for implementation of protocols focused on increasing care, quality and patient satisfaction. As a member of the Oral Health Alliance, he looks forward to collaborating across specialties to organize events committed to increasing oral care access among the underserved communities and schools. Drawing on his passion for teaching he is excited to encourage minority undergraduate students to learn about and consider dentistry as a possible career path. After graduation, he aspires to pursue Pediatric dentistry as a specialty.



Janelle Urata is involved in projects conducted by the Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science and Orofacial Sciences, both at the University of California, San Francisco. She is currently the clinical research coordinator of a study of adolescent males in rural California and a project director of a study evaluating the effect of a dental product on reducing plaque accumulation and oral health in children. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development from the University of California, San Diego, completed an associates in dental hygiene at Chabot College and a master’s degree at UCSF. She also serves on the Board of a non-profit organization based in Stockton, California focused on providing dental screenings, oral education and finding dental homes for pre-K children.