About DANB

Our Mission and History

We are the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB). Our mission is to promote the public good by providing credentialing services to the dental community. We accomplish and measure the success of this mission through the creation of valid dental assisting exams; recertification requirement integrity; and valuable, visible and accessible DANB exams, certificates and certifications.

We have a long and interesting history that traces back to 1948, when the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) identified the need for dental assistant certification and founded the Certifying Board of the American Dental Assistants Association. In 1978, the Certifying Board became a separately incorporated organization and, in 1980, changed its name to the Dental Assisting National Board.

Today, DANB is recognized by the American Dental Association as the national certification board for dental assistants. More than 34,000 dental assistants hold DANB certification, and each year, DANB issues nearly 50,000 certificates to those who pass its national and state exams.

DANB founded the Dental Advancement through Learning and Education (DALE) Foundation in 2010 as its official education and research affiliate. The DALE Foundation offers interactive online educational courses and resources to advance the dental team and help dental professionals prepare for DANB exams.

Learn more about the DALE Foundation.

Our Accreditation and Impartiality

DANB’s CDA and COA certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). This demonstrates DANB’s compliance with the standards of excellence for professional certification programs. The NCCA is a commission of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence and provides accreditation for credentialing programs. DANB is also a member of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

DANB understands the importance of impartiality and potential conflicts of interests in carrying out its certification activities. Being impartial, and being perceived to be impartial, is necessary for DANB to be able to deliver credible certification programs that provide confidence to our candidates and certificants, the dental community, and the public. In order to obtain and maintain confidence, DANB will, at all times, be able to demonstrate that our decisions are based on objective evidence and that our decisions have not been improperly influenced by other interests or by other parties.

Our Guiding Principles

DANB follows these guiding principles in all our relationships and interactions:

Trust. We are committed to quality, ethics and best practices in the development of DANB testing and credentialing-related services, including meeting all national exam development and credentialing standards.

Communication. Providing information to DANB stakeholders is a priority. We seek to provide full attention as active listeners and proactive problem solvers while providing accurate and timely information in an easily accessible format.

Respect. We are committed to valuing each stakeholder with equal consideration of their needs or position, no matter how big or small.

Initiative. We are committed to continuously promoting the dental assisting profession by seeking to develop new solutions, services and resources for the oral healthcare community, as these relate to DANB’s mission.

Teamwork. We are committed to working together with representatives of our communities of interest to develop and exchange ideas that promote the public good and enhance the oral healthcare community as a whole.

Board of Directors

DANB’s Board of Directors includes nine directors. Directors are nominated by the American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Association, American Association of Dental Boards, American Dental Education Association, other DANB stakeholder organizations, and at-large DANB certificants. There is also one director who is a member of the public.

Chair: Janée Tamayo

Janée Tamayo, CDA, CPFDA, B.S., MSgt, USAF was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2021 as the Certificant-at-Large. She is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms.

Ms. Tamayo, of Honolulu, Hawaii, has worked as a dental assistant with the U.S. Air Force for more than 10 years. She has worked as an Air Force dental assistant in Tampa, Florida; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is currently the Dental Flight Chief at the U.S. Air Force’s 43rd Medical Squadron. Her past roles have included Dental Flight Chief at Schriever Dental Clinic, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Records and Reception, Clinical Flight Chief, Executive Assistant to the Commander of the 21st Medical Group, and Dental Technician.

Ms. Tamayo earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in dental assisting from the Community College of the Air Force, and a Bachelor of Science degree in sports and exercise science from American Military University. She is currently working toward a Master of Public Administration from American Military University.

She also has received extensive professional recognition. In August 2020, Ms. Tamayo earned the Humanitarian Service Medal from the 21st Medical Squadron. She also has received the Distinguished Graduate and Academic Achievement Award from the Vosler Non-Commissioned Officer Academy (2019) and the Distinguished Graduate and Commandant’s Leadership Award from Peterson Airman Leadership School (2015).

Additionally, in 2014, Ms. Tamayo was named Dental Airman of the Year by Air Force Dental Service, and in 2013, Airman of the Year by the 21st Space Wing.

Chair-Elect: Kimberly Plate

Kimberly Plate, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, B.S., was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2021 and is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms. DANB’s Board elected Ms. Plate from among qualified nominees provided by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).

Ms. Plate, of Pingree Grove, Illinois, currently works as director of the dental assisting program at Elgin Community College (ECC). Ms. Plate previously worked as an ECC adjunct dental assisting faculty member from 1998 until assuming her director role there in 2004.

Additionally, Ms. Plate serves as an Accreditation Site Visitor/Consultant for the Commission on Dental Accreditation. She has nearly 40 years of dental assisting experience, specifically with working chairside, coordinating office infection prevention and control, and cross-training to fulfill office-management duties.

A longtime DANB certificant and ADAA member, Ms. Plate currently serves as a board member of the Illinois Dental Assistants Association, having previously served as its president-elect and past president. She has provided instrument sterilization oversight at past Illinois State Dental Society Mission of Mercy (MOM) dental events. She currently sits on the advisory committee of both the Visiting Nurse Association and Well Child Center in Elgin, and has volunteered with MOM, Cub Scouts, and school parent-teacher associations.

Ms. Plate holds a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare leadership from National Louis University, plus an Associate of Arts degree as well as a vocational certificate in Clinical Dental Assisting from ECC.

Secretary-Treasurer: Meagan Mitchell

Meagan Mitchell, CDA, B.S., was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2018, and is serving the second of a possible two three-year terms. DANB’s Board elected Ms. Mitchell from a slate of qualified nominees provided by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).

Ms. Mitchell currently works as a surgical dental assistant with Oral Surgery Group in Evansville, Indiana, where she has been employed since 2014.

Ms. Mitchell is a past president of the Evansville Dental Assistants Society and the Indiana Dental Assistants Association. Previously, from 2016-2017, she served as president-elect for these organizations; she also served as the Evansville Dental Assistants Society’s vice president from 2015-2016.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern Indiana (USI). In 2015, Ms. Mitchell graduated from USI with an associate degree with a focus on dental assisting. Also in 2015, she earned DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification.

Ms. Mitchell is qualified in Indiana to perform coronal polishing and expanded functions, and she successfully completed the Dental Anesthesia Assistant National Certification Examination offered through the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Immediate Past Chair: Lois Bell

Lois Bell, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, CDIPC, MADAA, was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2016 and is serving her second three-year term. DANB’s Board elected Ms. Bell from a slate of qualified nominees provided by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).

Ms. Bell retired in August 2021 from dental assisting after being a practicing dental assistant for over 40 years. During her career, she worked in a variety of settings, including both large and small private practices, as well as in clinics for the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Bell earned DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification in 2003, followed by DANB Certified Preventive Functions Dental Assistant (CPFDA) in 2010 and DANB Certified Restorative Functions Dental Assistant (CRFDA) certification in 2013. In December 2021, she earned Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) certification, developed by DANB in collaboration with the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention. Most recently, Ms. Bell worked as a dental assistant at the VA Greenville Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Greenville, South Carolina.

In addition to her chairside dental assisting work, Ms. Bell has been an active member of the ADAA at state and national levels since 1996. She served as ADAA secretary from 2012 to 2013, and is currently serving on the ADAA’s Council on Education and Council on Mastership/Fellowship.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Department of Veterans Affairs Hands and Heart award and the Unsung Hero award, as well as multiple awards from the South Carolina Dental Assistants Association.

Tanya Dorf Brunner

Tanya Dorf Brunner

Tanya Dorf Brunner, M.S., of Topeka, Kansas, was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in September 2023 and is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms. Ms. Dorf Brunner is the executive director of Oral Health Kansas, a consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving oral health in Kansas through advocacy, public awareness, and education.

Ms. Dorf Brunner serves in a variety of volunteer roles focused on health equity and social justice. She is the co-founder and past chair of the American Network of Oral Health Coalitions, a national organization that supports the work of state oral health coalitions. Ms. Dorf Brunner also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kansas Dental Charitable Foundation and works with the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN), leading OPEN’s Regional Oral Health Connection Team and Network Response Team.

Ms. Dorf Brunner earned a Master of Science in management from Baker University and Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Bethany College.

Kerri Friel

Kerri Friel

Kerri H. Friel, CDA, COA, RDH, M.A., of Warwick, Rhode Island, was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in July 2023 and is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms. Ms. Friel is a professor in the Dental Health Department at the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), where she is the director of the Dental Assisting Program and president of the CCRI Faculty Senate.

Throughout her career, Ms. Friel has helped advanced the dental profession through her leadership and volunteerism. She is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association and the Rhode Island Dental Assistants Association, of which she is a past president. She is also a member of the American Dental Education Association and a current board member of the Dental Lifeline Network Rhode Island. She previous served on the Rhode Island Board of Examiners in Dentistry and has held several roles with CDCA-WREB-CITA.

Ms. Friel received a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene and a master’s degree in adult education from the University of Rhode Island.

Frank Maggio

Frank Maggio, D.D.S., was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2021 and is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms. DANB’s Board selected Dr. Maggio from among qualified nominees provided by the American Association of Dental Boards (AADB).

Dr. Maggio is a periodontist with a practice in Elgin, Illinois; he is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois (UIC) Chicago College of Dentistry, Department of Periodontics. Additionally, Dr. Maggio currently serves on the UIC Dental Alumni Board of Directors, formerly serving as its Past President, and is a dental assisting faculty member at Elgin Community College.

Dr. Maggio has been a member of the ADA since 1971, and has served on numerous ADA committees, councils and task forces. He was an ADA Foundation Board member and was Chairman of the ADA Council on Dental Education and Licensure, along with being an ADA Trustee. He also has been President of the Illinois State Dental Society, Fox River Valley Dental Society and McHenry County Dental Society.

Beyond this, Dr. Maggio’s professional affiliations include involvement in the Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Dental Honor Society. He also is a Fellow in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, and Odontographic Society of Chicago; and he recently served as Immediate Past President of the Board of Trustees for the DALE Foundation, the official DANB affiliate.

Additionally, Dr. Maggio is an active member of the AADB, American Dental Education Association and American Academy of Periodontology. Among other activities, he is Chairman of the Dental Lifeline Network and a former Board member of the Illinois Board of Professional Regulation.

Dr. Maggio graduated from Loyola University School of Dentistry with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree; after completing military service in the U.S. Army, he earned his Certificate in Periodontics from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry.

Barbara Mousel

Barbara Mousel

Barbara Mousel, D.D.S., CDA, RDH, of Chicago, was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2022 and is serving her first three-year term. DANB’s Board selected Dr. Mousel from a slate of qualified nominees provided by the American Dental Association (ADA). Dr. Mousel has owned a private practice in general dentistry since 1984. Dr. Mousel also worked as an educator at the Sanford-Brown College Dental Hygiene program from 2013-2014 and previously has held the roles of dental hygienist and dental assistant.

Dr. Mousel earned Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry, and holds Fellowship in the International College of Dentists, Academy of Dentistry International, American College of Dentists, and Pierre Fauchard Academy. She is a member of the ADA and currently serves on the Council on Dental Education and Licensure and the Dental Education Committee. Dr. Mousel is a past president of the Illinois State Dental Society, American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD), Central Regional Dental Testing Service, and Chicago Dental Society Foundation, among other professional affiliations. In her career, Dr. Mousel has received numerous awards, including the 2000 Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award from the AAWD.

Dr. Mousel earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1984 from Loyola University School of Dentistry and a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene in 1979 from Loyola University of Chicago. She graduated in 1975 from City Colleges of Chicago with an associate of arts degree, with highest honors, and has held DANB’s Certified Dental Assistant certification since 1975.

Kishan Patel

Kishan Patel

Kishan Patel, CDA, COA, CPFDA, CRFDA, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in September 2023 and is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms. Mr. Patel is an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant and currently working with a private practice in Spartanburg, South Carolina; he is also a licensed phlebotomist in the state of South Carolina. Additionally, Mr. Patel holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Ahmedabad Dental College and Hospital in Ahmedabad, India.

Mr. Patel has published two academic books and several research and review articles in various international dental journals including the European Journal of Molecular & Clinical Medicine and SVOA Dentistry. He has a strong desire to serve the community with his active volunteer work. In May 2023, Mr. Patel served as a subject matter expert for DANB’s Job Task Analysis to help advance the dental assisting profession. He previously served as a volunteer social worker and volunteer dentist in his home country.

In his free time, Mr. Patel enjoys surfing, golfing, skydiving, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and trying different types of cultural foods.

Lindsey Yates

Lindsey Yates

Lindsey Yates, D.D.S., of Denver, was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in July 2023 and is serving the first of a possible two three-year terms. Dr. Yates is an assistant director at the Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus; an associate professor for the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Colorado, School of Dental Medicine; and an associate dentist for the University of Colorado Dental Faculty Practice.

She is active in several professional organizations, including the American Dental Education Association, the American Dental Association, the Colorado Dental Association, and the Metropolitan Denver Dental Society. She is currently a board member of the American College of Dentists Colorado/Wyoming Section and a member of the Dentistry and Dental Hygiene Compact Technical Assistance Group.

Dr. Yates holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine. She is a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the recipient of numerous awards highlighting her commitment to dentistry.

Laura Skarnulis

Ms. Skarnulis is the Chief Executive Officer of DANB and the DALE Foundation, a role she has held since 2021. She spearheaded the development of the organizations’ 2023-2028 strategic plan, which centers on supporting dental assistant workforce development and elevating the profession. The plan and its related initiatives are future-focused and prioritize partnering with others in the dental community to support the delivery of quality oral healthcare.

Ms. Skarnulis came to DANB and the DALE Foundation after serving for more than eight years as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), an organization that establishes the certification and continuing certification standards for its 24 Member Boards, certifying more than 920,000 physicians in one or more of the 40 specialties and 87 subspecialties offered. As ABMS COO, Ms. Skarnulis was responsible for the oversight of the organization’s information technology services and database management system, marketing and communications, and finance and audit, as well as new product development and international programs.

Prior to her tenure at ABMS, Ms. Skarnulis served as Chief Operating and Financial Officer for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. She joined United Way after more than nine years as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Arena Football League and its affiliate af2.

Ms. Skarnulis received a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University and became a Certified Public Accountant. She was named a 2019 Notable Woman in Healthcare by Crain’s Chicago Business and was a finalist for the Financial Executives International’s CFO of the Year award in 2012.