School of Dentistry
Young Alumna of the Year Award
Tiffany L. Jonasen, D.D.S., Dent ’07
With a passion for providing dental services for people who have struggled with access to care, Tiffany became the dental director for Lake Superior Community Health Center at a relatively young age.
But she missed being in the clinic. “ I stepped down as director to be able to devote more time to seeing patients,” she says. “I absolutely love the change.”
The Minnesota native returned to her home state in 2009 to join Lake Superior after completing dental school as well as a fellowship in rural dentistry at Marquette. The fellowship equips students with the skills to care for underserved patients and those in rural settings.
In addition to helping underserved populations, Tiffany simply enjoys the vocation of dentistry. “I love being able to provide a comfortable environment for those who have dental anxiety,” she says. “I like to give people their smiles back and rid them of pain.”
At the School of Dentistry, Tiffany found instructors passionate about their work and students who offered a supportive community. Her mentor was Peter Schelkun, D.D.S., Arts ’50, Dent ’56, now in his 90s and still an adjunct professor. “He was firm, but kind,” Tiffany recalls. When mentoring dental students whom she has facilitated to complete rotations at Lake Superior, “I think about my experience with Dr. Schelkun and how I can be effective with teaching.”
Tiffany says her plans are to continue working in community health for the foreseeable future and to work to expand key services at Lake Superior, including those for long-term care. Always thinking about how to make things easier and more comfortable for her patients, she is working in partnership with area nursing homes to arrange delivery of on-site dental care. She would also like to create a fellowship program, similar to the one she completed, to bring dental graduates to Lake Superior’s two clinic locations.
The Young Alumna of the Year Award, she says, was a complete surprise, but she’s honored that “someone thinks that I am doing something right in my profession.”
Fun facts: Tiffany would like to have dinner with the singer Alecia Moore, better known as Pink.