2024 HDA Board of Trustees


President – Martha J. Mutis, DDS, MPH, FICD - New York, NY

Dr. Mutis has been working in organized dentistry for almost thirty years, since she was a freshman dental student. Since 2018  she has been a member of the Board of Trustees in the Hispanic Dental Association.  She also serves as Regent of Section XX at the International College of Dentists, where she was one of the founding leaders of the International Task Forces in 2013. Her last leadership positions were as founding advisor for the Regional Health Workforce Observatory linked to the Pan American Health Association (PAHO), Strategic Advisor for the Latin American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (ALOP), and Guest Advisor for Government Committees of Fluoridation Experts, among others.
Dr. Mutis obtained her MPH from Nova Southeastern University, her postgraduate certificate in Climate Change and Health from Yale University, and her Postdoctoral Dental Certificate in Dental Public Health at NYU University. She also obtained her Master of Arts in Education and Doctoral Degree in Health Education from Columbia University, where she has been a Research Fellow since 2019 at the Research Group on Disparities in Health (RGDH). Dr. Mutis is the Chair of the Research, Grants, and Professional Development Committee at the HDA, where she has led several national research projects on secondary data analysis, epidemiological surveillance and Hispanic health status, among others.

President-Elect - Luis C. Yepes, DDS - Charleston, SC

Dr. Luis Yepes graduated as a Dentist in 1995 followed by a certification in Endodontics in 1999 from the Pontifical Xaverian University in his home country, Colombia. Dr. Yepes came to US in 2007 to complete a General Practice Residency program at the University of Kentucky for two years. In June 2009, Dr. Yepes started a Fellowship in Endodontics and General Dentistry at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, where he worked as an instructor at the clinic and pre-clinic. Dr. Yepes joined UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry as an Assistant Clinical Professor in 2012. In July 2015 he  was appointed as Program Director of Advanced Education in General Dentistry and in 2018 he became Clinic Director of the Advanced General Dentistry Clinic at UT Health San Antonio SoD where he successfully held both positions from 2018 through 2020. Dr. Yepes have maintained a position as a Commission on Dental Accreditation site visitor for Advanced Education General Dentistry Programs and General Practice Residency programs since 2017. Dr. Yepes have been selected as a recipient of the 2021 Presidential Award in the category of Clinical Excellence. In addition to his academic responsibilities Dr. Yepes has been a member of the American Dental Education Association and serve as co-editor of the Journal of the Hispanic Dental Association.  Dr. Yepes is also involved in multiple teaching activities supporting undergraduate and graduate programs.


Treasurer – Ana Zea, DDS, DPH – Boston, MA

Dr. Zea is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of General Dentistry and Health Policy & Health Services Research at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. In her Role as Director of Community Health Education, Dr. Zea coordinates all curricular Community-Based and Service Learning rotations and externships for DMD students at GSDM. Dr. Zea joined GSDM in 2007, and is Director of the Applied Professional Experience (APEX) and Externship Programs, Co-Director of the Comprehensive Pre-Clinical Dentistry Course and member of the Dean’s Council on Ethics and Professionalism, Promotions and Admission’s Committees at GSDM.
Dr. Zea is inspired by students’ engagement and commitment to reducing oral health disparities through research, promotion and participation in community-based and outreach activities. She has been Faculty Advisor for the school’s chapter of HSDA since 2013, and joins the HDA Board of Trustees in contribution to the organization’s efforts to provide leadership support and opportunities for students to be successful and engaged in carrying out the organization’s mission for the Hispanic Community during and beyond their dental education.
Dr. Zea is native from Colombia, and graduated from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in 1996. She completed a Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) at the Boston University School of Public Health.

Dr. Keohane serves as the President of the Massachusetts Hispanic Dental Association, a Guest Board of the Massachusetts Dental Society, a Fellow of the International College of Dentists, member of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the American Dental Education Association, and of the American Dental Association. She is also part of Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine DMD Admissions Committee, and the Secretary of the Boston District Dental Society Executive committee.

Secretary – Michelle Aguilos Thompson, DDS – Houston, TX


Dr. Michelle Aguilos Thompson is a full-time Assistant Professor and Director of Digital Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Dentistry at Houston (UTSD). She graduated from Howard University College of Dentistry and completed a 2-year General Practice Residency at UTSD Houston. Dr. Thompson served in many dental organization leadership roles locally, regionally, and nationally including the HDA’s Communications Committee for the past three years (Co-chair for two years) and is currently serving in the American Dental Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  She is married to Dr. Jason Thompson, an Endodontist and has a 4 year old son, Jason Jr and 1 year old daughter, Nora. 

Immediate Past President – Christina Meiners, DDS, FICD - San Antonio, TX

Dr. Christina Meiners was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. She was a participant in the Dental Early Acceptance Program  (DEAP) and received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA).After graduation, Dr. Meiners worked part-time as an associate clinical professor at UTHSCSA. She now serves as an adjunct faculty member overseeing dental students during their clinical rotations at Communicare Health Centers, the non-profit community clinic she once rotated through as a student and now provides patient care as a staff dentist. She has participated in the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership and serves on multiple committees at the local, state, and national level of various organizations. Dr. Meiners currently serves as the President-Elect for the Hispanic Dental Association and serves as the Service & Outreach Committee chair.  She actively served on the boards of the Texas Academy of General Dentistry and the San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic and is Past-President of the San Antonio District Dental Society (SADDS), Past President of the San Antonio Academy of General Dentistry (SAAGD), and Past President of the Greater San Antonio Hispanic Dental Association (GSAHDA). She helped found the Building our Leaders in Dentistry (BOLD) program to provide mentorship to underrepresented minority pre-dental students. The award winning BOLD program presents hand-on activities and lectures to inspire a career in dentistry to high school and college students throughout South Texas, and has recently been adopted nationally by the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA).In 2018 Dr. Meiners was one of the first 10 under 10 Awardees of the ADA honoring the top 10 dentists in practice 10 years or less who are making a mark on the profession. Her leadership and dedication to the community has helped her become the recipient of HDA’s National Service Award and receive nominations for the Texas New Dentist of the Year Award. Dr. Meiners is a fellow in the Academy of Dentistry International and the International College of Dentists.

 National Professional Trustees


Ana N. Lopez Fuentes, DMD, MPH, FACD, FICD – San Juan, PR 

Ana N. López Fuentes, D.M.D., M.P.H., FACD, FICD; is a tenured Professor, at the UPR School of Dental Medicine at the Community Dentistry Section. Served as Dean of the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine (UPR SDM) from 2014-2018. Works at UPR SDM since 1988 and has also served as the Curriculum Director, Community Dentistry Section Chief, and Executive Associate Dean of the dental school. At the university level, she has been a member of the Academic Senate, and represented the Medical Sciences Campus at the President’s Board, participating in various committees. She was also the Executive Secretary of the President’s Board.
Dr. López Fuentes implemented and directed the first dental assisting program at the University of Granada, Spain in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico. Graduated from many leadership institutes including the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), Summer Program; ELAM, and the Bell’s Leadership Institute. Currently serves as Faculty Advisor for the ELAM leadership program. Dr. López started the local celebration of Give Kids A Smile Day, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2020. She is the mentor of the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA), and elected to the HDA Board of Trustees. She also serves as mentor of the American Association of Women Dentists student chapter, which celebrates the Smiles for Success activity empowering victims of gender violence and drug abuse among other activities for the association.
Dr. Ana López has been a Women Liaison Officer (WLO) to ADEA since 2006, and as Dean of the dental school was instrumental in the amendments of the local dental law, the implementation of electronic health record at the dental school, and the recent approval of the Periodontics Graduate program, among other landmark achievements.  She was the first Dean of the dental school to be part of ADEA’s Administrative Board of the Council of Deans. Dr. López is Co-Chair of the ADEA’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and member of ADEA’s Annual Session Planning Committee (ASPC). She is Chair-elect of the Women in Leadership special interest group and candidate for the 2020 Chair-elect position to ADEA's Board of Directors.  Recipient of the Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors Citation for significant contributions to dental education and ADEA at the 2018 Annual Session. She was recognized for her outstanding leadership while Dean of the dental school during and after Hurricane Maria; maintaining the school’s accreditation, keeping it open, and giving support to students, faculty, staff and the communities affected by the event.
Dr. López-Fuentes created the UPR SDM Infection Control and Quality Assurance Protocols and currently acts as a consultant in Infection Control and Risk Management. She is also the continuing education speaker in Infection Control for Puerto Rico and abroad.

Merelyn Hong, DDS, – West Roxbury, MA

Dr. Merelyn Hong is a general dentist originally from Caracas, Venezuela. Received her dental degree from Universidad Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho, Barcelona. Venezuela.  She worked as a General Dentist for 12 years at The Dimock Community Health Center Dental Department, serving Massachusetts underserved communities, and treating and educating patients about proper health and dental care. She was appointed Adjunct Clinical Instructor of General Dentistry for Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, and Harvard School of Dental Medicine. As an externship site preceptor, she provided mentorship to dental students during their rotation and assessed their clinical skills, knowledge, and performance.  Dr. Hong dedicated her career to serving communities through mentorship, education, advocacy, and research as an active member and former President of the Massachusetts Hispanic Dental Association (MAHDA) 2018, she is the Executive Director.   Also, she is the Vice-President of the Hispanic International Mission (HIM). She advocated creating events such as The Symposium in Dental Careers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, mentoring Middle, High School, and pre-dental students to pursue a career in the Dental field. In 2023 the Hispanic Dental Association recognized her as the Faculty of the Year. Dr. Hong participated in diverse community outreach events such as “Give Kids A Smile” (GKAS), Remote Area Medical (RAM Clinic), the Puerto Rican Festival, Dominican Health Fairs, and Waltham Health Fairs, among others.  She is a coinvestigator for several scientific publications. Her last research as co-investigator “Evaluating Forensic Dentistry in Dental Education” was published in the Journal of the Massachusetts Dental Society in Spring 2023, by principal investigator Dr. Aidee Nieto Herman. She volunteers for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Office of Oral Health Advisory Committee and participates as part of the Boston District Dental Society (BDDS). Dr. Hong works at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine as an Assistant Professor, Clinical Practice Coordinator for the Department of Comprehensive Care. Dr. Merelyn C. Hong holds high respect within the Hispanic Community. 

Genaro Romo, Jr, DDS – Chicago, IL

Dr. Genaro Romo Jr. was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He is currently the President of the Chicago Chapter of the Hispanic Dental Association.
He's a member of the Chicago Dental Society, Illinois State Dental Society and the ADA. He is the General Chair for the 2021 Midwinter Meeting.
He is a Board of Director member for Delta Dental of Illinois and is also a member of the ADA council on Dental Practice. He served as President of the North Side branch of the Chicago Dental Society (CDS) as well as chair of the CDS Communications Committee. He has served as a trustee for the Illinois State Dental Society.
He currently owns two dental practices in Chicago and loves to spend time with his wife, Sandy, and their four children: Alyssa, Nicholas, Evan, and Isaac. In his spare time he DJs at numerous events. 


Herminio Perez, DMD, MBA, Ed.D - Camden, NJ

 Herminio Perez, DMD, MBA, Ed.D received his DMD degree from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, followed by a General Practice Residency at Bronx Lebanon Hospital. After residency, he continued the Hospital affiliation and became faculty and Site Administrator in the Department of Dentistry. Dr. Perez received his MBA in Healthcare Systems from the Silberman College of Business, Fairleigh Dickinson University, N.J. Dr. Perez received his doctoral degree in education with a concentration in leadership and innovation from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Dr. Perez serves as the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Diversity & Inclusion at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine and Assistant Professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry.
In addition to his academic and administrative responsibilities, He is a member of the Diversity Leadership Council at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences. Furthermore, he co-chair sections of the Antiracist Taskforce and the RBHS University-wide Diversity Strategic Planning Process. In 2021, Dr. Perez was appointed as a Member of the ADA Board of Trustees' Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Perez has several research interests related to improving dental students' experience during their academic years. Dr. Perez has been an active member of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). In addition, he has served as Chair of the Student Affairs/ Financial Aid Section (AFASA) and currently holds the  position as a councilor for the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). Dr. Perez enjoys traveling, reading, music, and photography in his spare time.

Elías Morón, DDS - Pembroke Pines, FL

Dr. Elías Moisés Morón is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Diverse Dental Society. His professional experience includes public health, private practice, health services administration, health law, teaching, and research. His job mainly focuses on helping vulnerable and underserved populations living with the negative consequences of oral health disparities to obtain periodic and regular dental care.Throughout his career, he has worked with people experiencing homelessness, people with a substance use disorder, people living with mental illness, people living with HIV, people arrested and placed in jail, children in foster care, autistic children, children living in poverty, children living in rural areas, and high school students who are pregnant and parenting.Dr. Morón earned his DDS from Universidad Metropolitana in Colombia, Master of Science Degree in Health Services Management from Universidad del Norte in Colombia, Health Auditing Diploma from Universidad del Norte in Colombia, Master of Public Health from Nova Southeastern University, Master of Science Health Law (Magna Cum Laude) from Nova Southeastern University, Postdoctoral Certificate in Advanced Education in Dental Public Health from New York University Langone, and Postdoctoral Certificate in Principles and Practice of Clinical Research from Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He has made significant scholarly contributions, publishing in peer-reviewed journals and presenting at national and international conferences.

Isabel Garcia, DDS - Leonia, NJ

Isabel Garcia, DDS was born in New York, raised in the Dominican Republic where she developed a penchant for medicine.  Although her initial interest lay in the field of Obstetrics/Gynecology, she understood the importance of oral health and realized that the artistic and cosmetic aspect of the field of Dentistry was something that appealed to her.  Upon completing her dental education at the Universidad Central del Este she realized that she wanted to pursue her field in the United States.  When she arrived in New York, she had to go through the rigors of being credentialed yet again in the United States at New York University.  She completed this task while she worked as a Dental Assistant for many of her current mentors.  The proud day in 1994 led to the next step of completing her Residency at Metropolitan Hospital, a member facility of the largest public health care organization in the country. While at Metropolitan, the desire to give back compelled her to be a Social Entrepreneur.  As major facilitator, she worked with the Oral Surgery Department, to organize an annual trip to the Dominican Republic.  This trip initially addressed the needs of many in her homeland afflicted with palatal birth defects.  Overseeing the team that would annually treat as many as 20 cases, Isabel rose to the rank of attending Metropolitan Hospital.  She continued to support the mission even when she transferred to Montefiore Medical Center on the leadership track.  She wanted to expand the services that were provided to Fundacion  Niños  que Rien  by focusing on providing pediatric dentistry that she supported annually.  As the Clinical Site Director for one of Montefiore Medical Center’s newest dental clinics, she oversees all clinical aspects of supporting the dental service provided to the Riverdale /Bronx community while directly impacting the training of as many as 18 General Practice Residents.  She continues to make her annual pilgrimage to Moca where she can visit those whose lives she so greatly impacted, while continuing to expand and grow her reach within her home country.Isabel instills an important value of giving back to all that she trains by making these opportunities available to those that want to invest in themselves and understand the importance of investing in the communities they serve.  This is something that she continues to instill in her 24 year old son Christopher, who applies his mother’s drive to his passion and creativity in designing.     
Yanina Jouzy, DDS - San Dimas, CA

Dr. Yanina Jouzy is a highly accomplished Latina entrepreneur, dentist, and owner and founder of Sunshine Smile Dental for an impressive 14 years located in Los Angeles, San Dimas, California. Born in Lima, Peru, and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Yanina's multicultural background has shaped her unique perspective and fueled her ambition. She completed her education, including dentistry, at La Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, where she honed her skills and developed a profound understanding of oral health. In 2008, Yanina proudly obtained her dental license in the State of California. Dr. Yanina's dedication to her profession extends beyond her clinic walls. She serves as the Secretary of the HDA (Hispanic Dental Association), where she plays a vital role in representing and advocating for the interests of the Latino community in dentistry. Additionally, she serves as a board member of DDS (Diverse Dental Society), contributing her expertise and insights to shape policies and initiatives that enhance dental care across the region. She is also active in participating with organized dentistry CDA (California Dental Association). In 2020, she proudly graduated from ADA (American Dental Association) Diversity and Inclusion. ADA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion informs and empowers them to reflect and effectively serve all our communities and constituents. She graduated from the esteemed Guiding Leaders Program of Glidewell Dental in 2022, a transformative initiative empowering women to become industry leaders. With Glidewell Dental known for its position as a global leader in producing custom restorative services and pioneering dental materials and devices, Yanina is a valuable representative of Glidewell Latino America. At Glidewell, the mission is centered around supporting dental professionals in simplifying treatment procedures, optimizing outcomes, and ultimately enhancing the lives of both customers and their patients. Leveraging her skills and multicultural background, she actively contributes to marketing efforts by creating impactful Spanish-language videos that facilitate expansion and enhance brand recognition. As an influential figure within the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA), Yanina holds a significant leadership position in the Los Angeles chapter. Her role encompasses creating advocacy initiatives, fostering leadership development, conducting outreach programs, and providing invaluable mentorship to aspiring dental professionals. Serving as the voice of the HDA in Los Angeles, she has cultivated strong relationships and forged strategic partnerships with dental companies and educational institutions over the years. Driven by her personal experiences and a deep-rooted sense of purpose, Yanina is on a mission to represent Latinas and inspire the younger generation to pursue meaningful careers in dentistry. She firmly believes in the power of cultivating genuine relationships and strives to create connections that leave a lasting impact on individuals and communities alike. In summary, Yanina Jouzy is an esteemed Latina entrepreneur, dentist, and influential leader in the dental industry. Her journey demonstrates her resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to excellence. Through her professional achievements, dedication to her family, and mission to help others, Yanina leaves an indelible mark on the world, inspiring the younger generation and embodying the strength and spirit of an empowered woman.


National Student Trustees


 Jeancarlos Ferman, D2 - Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Born in Long Island, New York and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jeancarlos Ferman is currently a second year (D25) Doctor of Dental Medicine candidate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, Massachusetts. He earned two Bachelors of Science degrees in Polymer & Color Chemistry and Biological Sciences: Human Biology with a minor in Nutrition from North Carolina State University in 2021. One of his most prideful moments while at NC State was the co-creation of F1RST, a first-generation student organization meant to provide community and resources to first generation and low-income students. Prior to beginning dental school in July 2021, Jeancarlos interned as a sterilization technician at an orthodontics office and volunteered at Wake Smiles, a local non-profit dental clinic in Raleigh, NC. At Tufts Dental, he is involved in a myriad of student organizations including HSDA, Autism Smiles, Global Health Student Association, the American Association of Pediatric Dentists, and Aesthetics Society. He is also a recipient of the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) Scholarship. During his time off from school, Jeancarlos enjoys volunteering at community events such as clean ups, workshops, and tutoring local middle and high schoolers in math and science. Furthermore, he enjoys running, attending concerts, and traveling.

Daniel Juarez, D2 - University of California, Los Angeles

Daniel Juarez is a second-year Doctor of Dental Surgery candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He earned a degree in Biology, a minor in Global Health, and published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences while conducting research in Parkinson’s Disease at UCLA. During his undergraduate journey, Daniel was heavily involved in higher education advocacy through an organization he founded called AVID Alumni Association at UCLA. As a product of a college-readiness program called AVID, Daniel spearheaded on-campus events for hundreds of high school students in an effort to encourage them to pursue a 4-year degree. His commitment and dedication of increasing access into higher education was recognized with the Chancellor’s Service Award. As a pre-dental student, Daniel volunteered in various community health fairs with the UCLA School of Dentistry and served as a co-director for a health fair developed for the Salvation Army Transitional Village in Westwood. His commitment to improving health in underserved communities was awarded with the National Health Service Corps Scholarship. As a dental student, Daniel continued his higher education advocacy by founding an organization dedicated to educating students on financial literacy called Bruins for Financial Success. In addition to this, Daniel is involved with ASDA, HSDA, Basic Dental Principles, Summer Health Professions Education Program, Periodontics Study Club, Apollonian Society, and Multidisciplinary Treatment Planning Selective. During his free time, Daniel enjoys watching basketball, anime, and staying active.