Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

From left to right: Elizabeth Ray, RDH; Andrea Lopez RDA; Jamie Russell, Front Office/PR; Britta Swearingen, RDH; Melanie Whitehair, DA/BOA; Dr. Pam Dassenko; Dr. Carrie Ramirez; Brittany Soto, RDH; Michele Avrea, RDH; Danielle Miller, DA/BOA; Judy Houser, Office Manager

Judy Houser - Office Manager

After completing my dental assistant training and receiving my Associate of Science degree from Monterey Peninsula College in 1970, I worked as a receptionist and dental assistant for a general dentist in Morro Bay for 27 years until his retirement. I have worked for Dr. Dassenko since September 2001, first assisting in the front office with scheduling and clerical duties and helping in the back. Over the years I have moved up to Office Manager. Being a part of this dynamite office is such a great experience and pleasure. I truly would not want to work anywhere else.  My husband and I have been married since 1970 and have been blessed with a daughter and a son, both of whom are married and living in Templeton, CA. Spending time with our 4 granddaughters on the weekends is our passion. I enjoy gardening, cooking and knitting and recently rock hunting and tumbling and making jewelry.
MISSION STATEMENT
To assist Dr. Dassenko in achieving the office goals and policies. The quality of the Patient's experience is always my priority as well as holding myself and our team to high standards that meet each Patient's individual needs. To ensure that our team is fully trained and contributing to creating the Patient’s value and to protect the practice economics that drive our success.

Jamie Russell – Front Office/PR

After working closely with the elderly for 10 years I felt it was time for a change and decided to peruse my passion for the dental field. I started with obtaining my Dental Assistant Certification through a local program. After interning and employment at local Endodontic and Oral Surgery Offices I am happy to have gained employment with Drs. Dassenko and Ramirez office. I can truly say I have never been happier!
I've lived in Southern California and Missouri but am very happy to have grounded my roots in the Central Coast. In my spare time I enjoy embroidering, seeing movies, caring for my dog and two tortoises (Biscuit, Umi, and Meatball), cooking and thrift shopping. I have been working for Drs. Dassenko and Ramirez since 2014 and look forward to building a professional relationship with each of their patients. I am privileged to be a part of this incredible team of women!
MISSION STATEMENT
To help keep our office keep current with **social media. To schedule our patient’s appointments in a sensible manner aiming to find the most convenient time that works well with their schedule. To relay messages quickly and answer questions posed to the office efficiently. To greet each of our patients with a smile and help ensure they have an enjoyable visit from the moment they walk in until they leave. To assist Dr. Dassenko, Dr. Ramirez, and the whole crew with team work in any way I can.

Danielle Miller - Back Office Assistant

I am fortunate enough to have been born and raised in Cambria where I graduated from Coast Union High School in 2010. I am currently living in San Luis Obispo while I attend Cuesta College so that I can finish the prerequisites required to apply to the Dental Hygiene Program. My goal is to attain my Registered Dental Hygiene degree within the next few years. My position in Dr. Dassenko's office is Back Office Assistant and I feel very blessed to be able to work with such great professionals. I am learning a multitude of valuable information that will help me become a Hygienist and I feel privileged to be given such a great opportunity!

Melanie Whitehair, DA, BOA

It is my great pleasure to be assisting Dr. Ramirez, Dr. Dassenko and the entire dental staff in our patient centered office. I graduated in 1993 from Apollo College in Tucson, AZ and have 20+ years of hands on experience as a Dental Assistant. In 2009 I had the desire to return to school and obtain my CNA degree helping my awareness of the needs of the elderly. I live in Los Osos now and spend most of my free time exploring the beautiful Central Coast. 
MISSION STATEMENT
To provide the absolute best care to all of our patients. To pay close attention to the Doctors and to our patients making the delivery of our care the best experience possible. To be an asset to the Drs. and my co-workers by continuing to study and improve my skills.


Elizabeth Ray - Registered Dental Hygienist

I was raised in the Bay Area. California Polytechnic State University was the college of my choice. I majored in Physical Education, Exercise Physiology and worked as a Phlebotomist to help put me through school. I enjoyed running track at Cal-Poly for 2 years. After graduating in 1985 I worked for Stanford Research Institute as an Assistant Director in corporate fitness. I worked closely with a preventative doctor and enjoyed the medical field so I decided to return to school. I worked as a flight attendant while attending Phoenix College to become a Dental Hygienist. I graduated in 1991.

My hobbies include spending time with my family, church activities, power walking, snow skiing, wake boarding, hiking, gardening, music, the arts and reading.
I met my husband at Cal Poly. I have a stepdaughter and two sons. My stepdaughter is married to a terrific young man that has a degree in graphic art and they have two children. My two boys are 22 months apart and are wonderful young men. One is interested in the arts and animal conservation, the other’s interest lies in the medical field. Both are working toward their degrees.  I am elated to be a part of Dr. Dassenko's exceptionally superior dental team and I look forward to serving you for many years to come!

MISSION STATEMENT
I strive to build a positive relationship with my Patients as a conscientious integral member of the dental team. I provide increasing awareness of the cost effective benefits of prevention, promoting the highest standards of dental care and education to our Patients, integrating the knowledge that dental care is a lifelong process is extremely important to me. 

Michele Avrea - Registered Dental Hygienist 

I am a Registered Dental Hygienist and have been working with Dr. Dassenko's office since July of 2010. I moved to the Central Coast from Southern California and I feel very fortunate to have found employment in such a wonderful office. What a privilege it is to be working with Dr. Dassenko and her fabulous team of professionals. I bring 27 years of dental experience including 14 years as a Registered Dental Assistant, 5 years as a Front office Manager and 8 years now as a Dental Hygienist.

My husband and I, along with our 2 cats, reside in Los Osos where we enjoy spending time outdoors, mountain biking, hiking and kayaking. The Central Coast is truly a one of a kind place and we are so thankful to be able to live in such a beautiful spot.

Stella Fritch - Registered Dental Hygienist

I was raised in Pismo Beach and feel so fortunate to be a part of this community and our knowledgeable and caring team. I started in the dental industry in 2001 as a dental assistant, primarily in periodontal and oral surgery. Eventually I pursued hygiene to focus on the preventive and therapeutic aspects of dentistry. I graduated from Cerritos College in 2009 and became a Registered Dental Hygienist. 
I savor my free time with my loved ones and like to be appreciative of every day.
MISSION STATEMENT  
My mission is to deliver quality periodontal care and education while providing a comfortable experience for our patients. My goal is to be a grateful, supportive, and productive member of our team.

Brittany Soto – Registered Dental Hygienist, Registered Dental Assistant

I am one of the newest members of Dr. Dassenko’s outstanding team! I am a recent graduate from West Coast University in Anaheim, California. I graduated with my Bachelors of Science in Dental Hygiene in November 2014. Upon graduation I received the Dean’s Award and the Golden Scaler Award. After graduating I went back to the pediatric dental office I previously worked at for 4 years as a registered dental assistant. I enjoy working with patients of all ages and educating them on their own personal oral hygiene which leads to their overall systemic health. 
I enjoy spending time with my husband and our 3 dogs and doing anything outdoors. We enjoy hiking, spending time at the ranch, fishing, even gardening. 
MISSION STATEMENT  
I make every effort to provide my patients with the highest quality of care in a comfortable and respectful environment. I strive to educate my patients based on their own personal health and dental history. Prevention and education is the key in maintaining quality of life. 

Britta Swearingen - Registered Dental Hygienist

I am Britta Swearingen and I love being a Dental Hygienist! It is an honor to be “welcomed in” to the inside of a smile. Listening and observing are strengths of mine and have helped me to understand people, their behaviors and their mannerisms. I am in the process of obtaining my teaching credential to teach head and neck anatomy, anesthesia and chair-side ergonomics. Can you tell I love it!?

I feel so fortunate to work with Dr. Dassenko and Dr. Ramirez and such an incredible team where we share in our philosophy of open-mindedness and creating a supportive, compassionate and positive dental office environment. When I am not in school I am making harmonies with my sister, rehearsing lines for a play or mending fences on the farm. I feel so fortunate to be able to live what I love!

Monica Rodriguez - Back Office Assistant

MISSION STATEMENT  
As a back office assistant my mission is to ensure the office runs as smoothly as possible, from coordinating patient flow to tag teaming with my coworkers to make sure each patient is at ease when entering our dental office.

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