Annabel joined our team full-time in 2015, but she first worked with us in 2009 as a part-time hygienist. After twisting her arm, we finally convinced her to make a permanent move to become part of our family. She is an impeccable hygienist. Annabel earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Hygiene from UNM, where she just happened to be in training with two of our other hygienists, Doria and Jaime! Annabel loves people and especially enjoys caring for our wonderful patients at Uptown Dental Associates. In addition to caring for our patients, Annabel and her husband, Manny, also take care of their adorable, curley-haired grandson, Seth. When not at work, Annabel enjoys cooking, traveling and playing golf, as well as spending time with her husband, Manny, her three children, and her beautiful grandchildren!
Originally from Long Island, New York, Doria moved to NM in 1998 to attend the UNM Dental Hygiene Program. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, graduating with honors in 2003. Doria joined Uptown Dental Associates in 2004 and holds the title of longest-term employee in the practice, as well as being our lead hygienist. She’s awesome. She has an incredible ability to clean teeth quickly (yet thoroughly!) and is one of our 4 hygienists who perform accelerated hygiene, meaning that she works with an assistant to help make your appointment as efficient as possible. In her free time, Doria is an incredibly devoted mother to her mini-me, Tara.
We were delighted to have Jaime join our team after Dr. Kocher retired in the summer of 2015. She was a part of his team there for 12 years. Jaime has an impeccable eye! She is well-known for alerting patients to potential problems even before the doctors have a chance to come in. Between her exceptional clinical skills and her ability to strike up a conversation with literally anyone, anywhere, she has developed a very loyal patient base. Jaime earned her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from UNM in 2003. Jaime also works accelerated hygiene, which means she works with an assistant to make your hygiene appointment more efficient. When not at the office, Jaime enjoys going to the gym, watching baseball games, and traveling with her husband, Jeramy, and their two daughters, Reese and Riley. They’re also huge Disney fans.
A native of Albuquerque, NM, Kelly graduated from La Cueva High School where she played soccer and later coached. She joined the team at Uptown Dental Associates in 2011 after having earned her degree as a hygienist through the University of New Mexico Dental Hygiene Program. As a dental hygienist, Kelly is also licensed to provide local anesthesia and is one of our accelerated hygienists, meaning that on some days she works with an assistant, allowing her to see more patients than your average hygienist. As a hygienist, she has gained a reputation for exceptional care and a gentle touch. Since joining us, we have seen Kelly get married (to a great guy named Rob) and become a mother to two beautiful children, Avery and Brody. If her hands aren’t in your mouth, you will most likely find her swimming with her family, walking her dog, Luca, or playing at the park with her adorable children. Her family is her greatest joy and accomplishment.
Lisa joined us in the summer of 2015 after having spent over 30 years working with Dr. Ken Kocher, who retired that summer. When asked how long she’s been in dentistry, she humorously replies, “So long that some of my diploma signatures are fading!” Lisa is a native of Albuquerque, having graduated from Highland High School, and later attending UNM on a full track and academic scholarship. There she earned that degree as a hygienist (the one with the fading signatures). Her engaging personality and gentle touch have made her patients loyal fans for life. She is an incredible asset to our office and we are completely thrilled to have her join our team. She and her husband of over 35 years, Fred, have three children. They enjoy being outdoors as much as possible, whether it’s hiking, camping, going to the lake, gardening, or walking their dog, Boone. Lisa also provides accelerated hygiene care to her patients, allowing even more patients to enjoy her contagious upbeat personality and expertise as a hygienist.
Although she hails from Wisconsin originally, Stacy has been a resident of the Land of Enchantment for many, many years. She earned her degree from UNM in Dental Hygiene in 1992. Her keen eyes and great patient relations are a wonderful help in early dental diagnosis. Stacy joined Uptown Dental Associates after the sudden passing of Dr. Bob Bussey in 2012. She had served as his hygienist for over 12 years, and has proven to be a great asset and welcome addition to our office, where she has now been a part of the team for over 5 years. She is the proud mother of a beautiful daughter, Kelsey. In December of 2014, Stacy married a stellar guy named Mitch, with whom she loves spending virtually all of her time not spent at the office. Together they enjoy renovating their home and other rental properties.
Jessica hails from Southern California, but has been here in NM for over 20 years. Her calm and friendly voice is the one you’ll hear most often when you call our office and is usually the first face you’ll see when you come for a visit! Jessica joined our team in 2017 as our front office receptionist. When she isn’t at the office, Jessica is a busy mom to two great boys, Louie and Kaeden, with whom she loves spending time and enjoying all things outdoorsy. When she and the kids aren’t fishing at the lake, camping, hiking, or walking their dog, Aqua, in the Bosque, she can be found in the kitchen! She enjoys cooking, grilling, and smoking her own meats. And when the boys are down and she needs a creative outlet, she even makes her own candles!
Jenny has had several roles at Uptown Dental Associates, including Insurance Coordinator, Front Office Receptionist, and Account Manager, but most recently made a move to the BIG office, where she serves as Office Manager. As such, hers is the most challenging job on the team – that of ensuring that everything runs like clockwork, that patients are well-cared for and happy, and that all team members perform at the peak of their game and remain happily focused on our mission as a practice: to provide extraordinary care to our patients. Those patients who have come to know Jenny over time are familiar with her witty sense of humor and keen mastery of sarcasm. Jenny is one of our main team jokesters. Her infectious good attitude and ability to see the bright side of every situation is a critical part of our practice. She also happens to be Dr. Shepherd’s youngest sister! When not juggling her 10,001 responsibilities as Office Manager, Jenny spends her time raising 6 awesome children with her husband of over 20 years, Troy.
Sabrina joined our team in 2016 after acquiring over 20 years in customer service here in Albuquerque. She has a dynamite personality and you may find that you know her better by the end of your appointment than you know your own neighbors! As our Front Office Lead, she knows pretty much every aspect of the front office and assists Jenny in training and developing new employees and trouble-shooting problems in the office. Sabrina spends most of her day assisting patients at the end of their appointments, scheduling their future appointments and helping them with their accounts. Sabrina and her husband have three daughters and spend much of their time on the bleachers, cheering on the girls in their various sports endeavors. When she isn’t at work or taking care of her family, Sabrina loves cooking and entertaining, as well as working in her garden. This bling-loving farm girl has proven to be the perfect addition to our team. We are delighted to work with her each day, to enjoy her enthusiasm, life and work experience, and her dimples!
Hannah joined us in January of 2017 and has quickly proven to be an incredibly efficient team player. Originally from Wilmington, NC, Hannah grew up on the beach, with the sun and water a daily part of her life. She went to college there as well, earning a degree in Entrepreneurship, and has over 8 years of experience in different aspects of the retail world. Hannah recently gave up the oceans of North Carolina for the desert of New Mexico when her husband, Kyle, was stationed here as active duty Air Force. Though she began as a receptionist, Hannah now works as one of our Walk Out Clerks, closing out patients’ accounts after procedures and helping them to schedule future appointments as needed. She also spends a good chunk of her time sorting through the hoops of your dental insurance! And for that, we are all most grateful. When she isn’t at work, she loves to soak up the sun, read a good book, or spend time with her husband and their dog, Champ.
Vanessa joined our team in 2017 and has proven to be an invaluable asset to our office. Her extensive knowledge of dentistry (from her many years working as both a chairside dental assistant and a dental assisting instructor), combined with her deep understanding of the dental insurance world, makes her a well-rounded and excellent treatment coordinator. When you come to our office and need dental work done, Vanessa is the one you can count on to organize and present your plan, as well as answer many of your questions about what to expect and how the details of your work will unfold. When she isn’t at the office, Vanessa loves spending time with her husband, Joey, and her four children: Elaydia, Elijah, Josiah, and Jacob. And to top it all off, she’s a mean cake decorator!
Jasmine hails from the booming metropolis of Belen, NM, where she attended and graduated from Belen High School in 2016. Jasmine became a certified dental assistant after graduating from Pima Medical Institute here in Albuquerque and joined our team shortly afterwards. Having begun as our hygiene assistant, Jasmine quickly learned how to juggle many responsibilities and patients simultaneously, working with all four of our office’s accelerated hygienists. Having proven to be a quick learner, Jasmine was promoted to being one of Dr. Shepherd’s personal dental assistants in 2018, where she spends most of her time (although you can still see her on occasion helping our hygienists when Dr. Shepherd is out of the office). When she isn’t at work, Jasmine is a full-time mother to a darling little girl named Kelsey. She enjoys going to the gym and being outdoors.
Victoria joined us at the start of 2015 and we couldn’t be more delighted that we found her. Over the last few years she has blossomed into an excellent dental assistant. She spends her time assisting both Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Rasmussen on any and all procedures they provide. She is an incredibly positive and upbeat person and is always willing to help out in any way needed – and she does it with a smile! In 2017, we all got to join in the celebration of Victoria’s marriage to her husband, Anthony. Together they have an adorable daughter named Katelyn, whose little voice can frequently be heard echoing through the halls of our office. When not at work Victoria enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and their dogs. She is grateful to work in a dental office, seeing how she has an insatiable sweet tooth. She also shares a birthday with Dr. Shepherd, separated by exactly 20 years!
Sofia is our most recent addition to the dental assisting team at Uptown Dental, joining us in the summer of 2017. She has been assisting since 2014 and is an excellent caregiver. Her ability to learn quickly, retain information, and work efficiently has made her a valuable member of our team. Although Sofia may seem shy at first, she’s actually quite goofy! It takes a bit to pull her out of her shell, but once she’s out, she’s a totally different person. And despite her small size, this girl can eat. She loves food and considers it one of her favorite hobbies and passions in life. She spends most of her time in the office assisting Dr. Rasmussen. When she isn’t at the office, you can usually find her with her family of her boyfriend. Or eating.
Samantha graduated from Dental Assisting school in 2015 and joined our office in 2016, where her dynamic and frequently sarcastic personality fit seamlessly into our team. If you haven’t had a chance to get to know Samantha, you’ll love her when you do. She has an uncanny ability to put our patients at ease and get them talking about their lives. Samantha started in our office as the ever-important Hygiene Assistant, but after nagging him for a couple of years, she became one of Dr. Shepherd’s personal dental assistants, and has quickly proven to be an excellent addition to that part of the team. In the course of any given day, she may see a dozen patients, assisting with everything from crowns and bridges to implants and gum tissue surgeries, caring for sedated patients, taking x-rays, doing exams and even making impressions for dentures! The best part? She always does it with a smile and a good sense of humor. When she isn’t multi-tasking at work, she’s multi-tasking at home, running in circles with her little boy, Daniel Jr. Samantha and Daniel Sr. have been married since 2014. Together they love spending time outdoors and with their family.
Born and raised right here in Albuquerque, Amanda joined us in 2018 and we’re thrilled we found her. She is a graduate of West Mesa High School and attended Carrington College, from which she graduated in 2014. She has been a dental assistant for 4 years. Amanda has the challenge of running our sterilization department. With 14 chairs of dentistry running at any given moment, that’s a lot of instruments to clean and maintain! In addition to the sterilization department, Amanda helps us to keep running on time by frequently jumping in to act as an extra assistant if things ever start to run behind. As such, she assists EVERYONE – both doctors and all of the hygienists. She’s a great team player. In her free time, Amanda enjoys going to the movies, going fishing, and doing arts and crafts.
One of the newest additions to our team, Carly joined us in early 2018 after relocating to Albuquerque from Atlanta, Georgia! This Georgia peach earned her degree as a dental assistant in 2016. She has the challenging job of assisting all four of our accelerated hygienists. As such, she spends the bulk of her day seating patients, taking x-rays, doing exams, polishing teeth, and taking impressions. Over and over and over. Our hygienists know how to keep this girl on her toes, but she takes it all in stride, gracefully caring for each patient as if they were the only one in the office. When she isn’t at the office, she spends her free time with her husband and daughter, who enjoy visiting the park and exploring new places. We’re happy to welcome Carly to the team. And also happy to welcome her baking! She makes a mean peach cobbler.
We have a wonderful staff, really. From our front office that first greets you to the hygienists that you see, to the dental assistants that work at my side, to the ladies up front that walk you out when you're done with your appointment. When we hire people in our office, we are ultimately looking not for their dental knowledge, as much their interpersonal abilities. So we want people who are friendly. Who get people and who understand that people that are coming to our office have real lives and have something going on outside of their dental care, and I think it's reflected in our practice.
There's a really friendly and welcoming vibe in the office and we really make a big effort to get to know our patients on a personal level. And then from there we train people to do the dental aspect of things. So there are a number of people who work in the office who had absolutely no prior experience in dentistry, but would come in and within six months, they've learned everything that they need to learn on the dental side, and they bring with them all of the experience of having a great personality and a great customer service attitude.