The synergy that our leadership team has developed through our Academy of Chairside Assisting is unprecedented, and we recognize how dental assistants support dentists and their patients in achieving successful treatments, experiencing efficiency and comfort, and maintaining excellence in oral care.
As dental assistants, our work sets the foundation for many treatments, and we are closely involved with patient care. We consistently apply our skills and talents to properly and expertly prepare patients and dentists for procedures and to ready the dental equipment and materials that enhance the treatments we collectively help to provide.
Forbes magazine recently identified dental assisting as the No. 1 best job for people under 25 years old, it is more important than ever for dental assistants to continuously elevate their skills and seek professional certification.
Moving forward, the ACA will remain dedicated to creating synergy among dental assisting professionals. We will strive to accomplish this by showcasing professional excellence and sharing information about products, techniques, and continuing education opportunities that enable dental assistants to enhance their skills and enjoy a fulfilling career.
Shannon Pace Brinker, President
Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA is a national and international speaker, published author and practicing dental assistant for over 25 years. She has published over 300 articles and taught thousands of dental assistants across the US and Canada.
Shannon has taught at the Nash Institute, Dawson Academy and Spear Education, instructing through both lectures and hands on programs. Shannon has a current column in Dental Product Reports for team evaluation of dental products and materials.
Shannon is an active member of the AACD and was the first auxiliary to sit on the AACD Board of Directors and was awarded the Rising Star Award.
Shannon was has also been recognized as one of Dentistry Today’s Top 100 Clinicians for the last 12 years, Dental Products Report 25 most influential women in dentistry, the Lucy Hobbs Award, Sunstar Butler Achievement Award and Dr. Bicuspid’s Dental Assistant Educator of the Year.
Erik M. Brinker, Director of Operations
Erik Mark Brinker, Commander for the US Navy for over twenty two years, served as an Executive Officer for 120 personnel combat unit at SEAL Team Eighteen. Erik currently is serving as a Logistics Planner for Joint Forces Command. He served one tour in Iraq 2006-2007 and received a Defense Meritorious Medal, the highest combat medal in personal record, and now is in active reserves.
Erik has spent fifteen years in the pharmaceutical industry which lead him to start Contemporary Product Solutions, a digital magazine. In 2013, with the success of the magazine, Erik and Shannon added clinical team training to help with better clinical application and technique.
Now with more than 81 trainers considered experts in the field of dentistry (Dental Assistants, Hygienist, and Patient Coordinators) and teaching over 300 courses in the US and Canada, CPS now is looked upon as the elite group for team training.
Jean Ocasio, CDA Vice President
Jean Ocasio, CDA, BsBA, MHA has been working in the dental field since 1999. While serving in the United States Navy, Jean became a certified dental assistant where he was assigned to the Diloranzo Triservice Dental Clinic at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. His desire to continue his education while working in dentistry led him to receive his BA in Business Administration and successfully complete his Master Degree in Heath Care Administration.
He is the office manager for Advanced Esthetic Dentistry. He has lectured for The Greater New York, Yankee, Chicago Midwinter, Hinman, Texas Dental and the AACD.
Natalia Vinasco, Business Development for AssistU Store
Natalia was born and raised in Colombia, South America. She graduated dental school in 2003 at Colegio Odontologico Colombiano. Natalia moved to the States in 2007, and worked as a dental assistant for a year before she joined the US Navy from 2009 to 2014. After the Navy, she wanted to get back into the dental field. She was accepted into the Prairie State College Dental Hygiene program and graduated in 2017.
Currently, Natalia works for a FQHC where she enjoys working with the underserved community in the south side of Chicago. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her husband and two boys and she also enjoys crafting.