Oral Health Champion Awards

Oral Health Champion Awardees are selected by the Board, upon recommendation of the Conference Committee, based on significant state-level work on oral health policy and contributing to improving Missouri's oral health or contributing to making oral health and oral health policy a priority for policy-makers and the Missouri public.

Amber Elliott is currently the Occupational Health Nurse for Parkland Health Center in Farmington, MO.  She received her Associates Degree in Nursing in 2008 from Mineral Area College to become a Registered Nurse.  She went on to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 2011 from Central Methodist University.  Amber recently resigned as Director of the St. Francois County Health Center Director.    Amber started working in public health five years ago in hopes to make her own community a healthier, safer place to live.  She currently resides in Farmington, MO with her husband and two children.  

Gwen Sullentrup holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College and is currently working on her master’s degree in business administration and public health at Colorado Technical University.  She has worked for the state of Missouri for over 10 years in various areas including post-secondary education, children’s services, and public health.  She currently works for the Department of Health and Senior Services – Office of Dental Health as the Community Water Fluoridation and Dental Sealant Coordinator.  Her current role provides education and technical assistance about the benefits of water fluoridation and dental sealants to our public water system workers, dental providers and staff, and the general public.  Gwen is extremely active in her community and has been a volunteer for numerous school, church and community activities.  She is a proud mother of three children, Andrew who attends Columbia College, Ashley who attends Columbia College and will graduate in May, and Oliver who attends Linn Elementary School.

Sherry Cauley, RDH- mother of four, ‘graham cracker’ (grandma) to seven, and the Founder & CEO of Upward Smiles. Sherry grew up in rural Ohio, and inevitably settled in Bonne Terre, Missouri with her family about 30 years ago.  Sherry earned her degree in Dental Hygiene and has been a dedicated Hygienist to the community for 29 years.  She began her dental career in private practice, which was very fulfilling- but she always had a deep passion for the underprivileged children & adults who were experiencing dental pain with no access to care.

In 2006, she left the private sector and accepted a position to create a Children’s Dental Clinic at the St. Francois County Health Department.  In 2011 the St. Francois County Health department allowed Sherry to spinoff the Children’s Dental Clinic into a separate non-profit dental practice, in order to facilitate much more care to the children in the community who desperately needed it.  That is where Upward Smiles was born. Since opening, Upward Smiles has grown to now have 3 clinics, 6 full-time dentists, 4 full-time dental hygienists, and nearly 15 support staff.  They have provided care to over 20,000 children in the region- with or without Medicaid coverage, at no charge; and they continue to grow the reach of services to new patients and broader areas. Fillings, extractions, permanent root canals, deep sedation dentistry, emergency dentistry, school-based restorative and preventative dentistry, and much, much more.

Julie Boeckman, Office of Dental Health Program Manager, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Central Missouri State University in 1996 with a degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology.  She started her public health career in 2001 at the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services. She started in the environmental program then was Missouri’s Vaccines for Children Program Coordinator for five years before joining the Office of Dental Health as Program Manager December 2017.  Julie and her husband Randy live in Wardsville with their two children, Evan who is a junior at Northwest MO State studying Ag Business and Abbie, who is a senior at Blair Oaks High School.  Julie likes to read, walk trails with Randy, help Evan with his future business venture and watch Abbie cheerlead at the high school athletic events.