2015 Mentor of the Year: Ohio hygienist receives honor

Feb. 23, 2015
Beth Tronolone, the director of the dental hygiene program at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio, is the 2015 Philips Sonicare/RDH magazine Mentor of the year.

Beth Tronolone, 2015 Philips Sonicare/RDH Mentor of the Year

Beth Tronolone, the director of the dental hygiene program at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio, is the 2015 Philips Sonicare/RDH magazine Mentor of the year.

An active member of the Toledo Dental Hygiene Association and past president of the Ohio Dental Hygienists’ Association, Tronolone also oversees an assisting program and an EFDA program.

An article published in the 2015 issue of RDH, noted:

Beth feels responsible for the students who pass through Owens to become dental professionals. “We make decisions when we’re so young. Sometimes I take students and give them my motherly advice. ‘You’ve got to have passion,’ I tell them, ‘don’t become an ordinary hygienist. Periodontal health is linked to systemic health – to heart disease, diabetes, and pre-term birth. Periodontal debridement and patient education are keys to periodontal health and overall health. It’s so much more than polishing. Make sure people know what you can do.’”

It’s clear that she acts as a mentor, but Beth doesn’t always think of herself in that light. “It was a shock to be named Mentor of the Year. Gail Stoops (senior manager of professional relations) left a message on my answering machine, and all I heard at first was that I’d been nominated. I was blown away just by that. I played the message back twice, and couldn’t get my head around the fact that I’d actually been selected as the winner. I started texting people, asking if they’d nominated me. I didn’t want to actually say I’d won — I needed to play that message back a few more times first.”

A new hygienist who graduated from Owens in 2014 was the successful nominator for this year’s winner.

“Our mentoring relationship is multi-faceted,” says Erika Sell of Toledo. “Before I pursued dental hygiene, I was a political science major. Beth saw the potential I have to become a voice like hers, and she motivated me to become a person of action within our association.”

Both are members of the ODHA government relations committee.

In addition to the Mentor of the Year award, Philips Sonicare and RDH frequently choose mentors of distinction. This year, Marilyn Cortell, RDH, MS, FAADH, of New York City is the Mentor of Distinction.

An associate professor in the dental hygiene division at New York City College of Technology, she lectures nationally and internationally on a variety of oral health topics.

She was nominated for the award based on mentoring experiences with Mary Kellerman, RDH, of Billerica, Mass.

Kellerman believes Cortell was very influential in advocating membership in Massachusetts and New York dental hygiene associations.

“I remember Marilyn conducting our local component officers’ meetings in her home den-room,” she said. “She would not only listen to everyone's opinions while knitting a sweater for her sons but could keep us on track with our moving our ideas and actions forward so we would all feel we had a part in our dental hygiene profession.”

Cortell is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and a consultant member of The Commission on Dental Competency Assessment (formerly known as the NERB).