About Us

“Dental decay is the most common chronic disease on the planet, affecting more than 90% of the world’s population. It is the most prevalent childhood disease, affecting more than 70% of school children worldwide. In some countries, such as the Philippines, dental pain is the most frequent reason for absenteeism from school. These striking facts are rarely noted, yet they happen right before everybody’s eyes.” – Dr Habib Benzian, DDS, PhD, co-author & project leader for The Oral Health Atlas

Our Story

In 2009, while traveling through some of the most impoverished regions of SE Asia, PHS co-founders Michelle Patterson & Hollie Mae Schultz, couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming number of children who suffered from preventable dental disease. They met a little girl in a Cambodian Orphanage who was too ashamed to smile because she had holes in her front teeth. They were saddened to learn that many children either shared toothbrushes, didn’t have one or knew what a toothbrush was. Michelle and Hollie Mae felt something needed to be done. They discussed the idea of starting an organization that would provide basic dental tools and knowledge to underprivileged children globally.

The birth of PHS began with a trial mission in the slums of Saigon, Vietnam at Agape Children’s Home (relocated and renamed Eden Family Home). Michelle and Hollie Mae provided the organization with a lesson on oral health and stressed the importance of home care compliance. In addition, they personally donated floss, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Even with limited resources they realized the enormous and positive impact that was made. Thanks to support from family, friends, volunteers and donors PHS became a 501(c)(3) in 2010. Currently, PHS has programs in SE Asia and Minnesota.

KidsKids Kids


Our Mission

Our mission is to create sustainable oral health programs for underprivileged children worldwide. These programs will focus on preventative care by providing oral health education and dental supplies.

Board Of Directors



Hollie Mae SchultzHollie Mae Schultz / Co-Founder & Executive Director

Hollie Mae has a Bachelor of Independent Studies Degree in Public Health and Sociology from the University of Minnesota. She has worked for 10 years doing direct services as a Youth Advocate and Counselor for at-risk and homeless youth through non-profit organizations, such as Project Foundation and The Bridge in Minneapolis, MN. “Working with at-risk youth for many years showed me how a community can be the greatest influence on a child. When the community is lacking in the proper knowledge and tools, then children don’t go without, they go without knowing any different. The idea of giving a child the education and tools for good health is a basic need that every person deserves. Project Healthy Smile has the ability to provide this basic need and make a mission of improving the quality of life for children in vulnerable situations. Teaching the value of good health and how to sustain good health is our priority.”


Michelle PattersonMichelle Patterson R.D.H. / Co-Founder & Executive Director

Michelle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. After working in the field for several years she came across an opportunity to teach and do volunteer work in Vietnam. She used her free time to visit children and help feed infants at several orphanages in Ho Chi Minh City. While traveling through SE Asia she visited and donated to orphanages and children’s organizations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. “Teaching, traveling and volunteering on the other side of the globe was an incredible and eye opening experience. As a hygienist, it was hard not to notice an overall lack in oral health.  I was saddened the most by the number of children I saw with oral infection and disease. Educating these children on oral health and giving them the tools to stay compliant increases the chance they will pass down healthy habits for generations to come. I am proud to be a part of Project Healthy Smile’s mission to save smiles worldwide.”


Vanessa BerruetaVanessa Berrueta / MN Program Director

Vanessa Berrueta Zambrano developed her passion for service during her college years. A graduate of dentistry at the University of Zulia in Venezuela, she dedicated the last year of her career to serving as a volunteer in one of the most underprivileged areas of Venezuela, San Felipe. She also volunteered as a scientific explorer in the research project “Prevalence of Dental Decay in Venezuelan Ethnic Groups”. This project helped establish a real vision of the needs in different rural villages throughout the country. “Working with underprivileged communities gives you the actual opportunity to help those who really need it. It is always shocking to see the amount of families that share a toothbrush or the number of children suffering from tooth decay and lack access to oral health. For that reason, it is satisfying to be able to help, inform and make a real change in this important aspect of the human being it is the smile.” Now living in the United States, Vanessa is part of the organization as MN Program Director. “I am very happy to be part of this organization and share their noble mission. This is also my passion and personal mission: Saving smiles!”


Jessa AltJessa Alt / Board Member

Jessa Alt has a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Minnesota and holds Public Health Nurse Certification. Jessa spent the last decade of work working as a Registered Nurse and working in clinical leadership focusing on public health, mental health, healthcare design/ delivery, and health tech in the US and Scandinavia. She began her nursing career working with underserved and at risk, homeless youth. Later, her work included leading complex care management programs for high risk, high need patients. She currently leads telemedicine and clinical strategy and is passionate about improving healthcare access and redesigning healthcare. “I believe healthcare starts at home and in our communities. In order to maintain health, people need to have access to the tools, care and support, preventative services, and treatments needed to maintain health. This applies to physical, mental, dental and social health. It’s very exciting to know we can easily impact oral health outcomes by providing education and access to dental hygiene supplies. Early intervention is key, as we know poor oral care is associated with many chronic conditions later in life. I’m so excited to be part of this mission at Project Healthy Smile!”


Jessa AltJada Rondeau / Board Member

Jada Rondeau will be graduating from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication in the spring of 2021. After graduation, Jada plans on moving back home to Savage, Minnesota to attend dental hygiene school to become a licensed dental hygienist. She currently has been helping PHS promote their brand and mission online and through social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. “I am very grateful to be a part of the PHS family. Their drive and passion towards this organization is very inspiring and heartwarming. Seeing the amount of underprivileged children who don’t have access to proper oral health care puts in to perspective of how blessed we are to live in a country with many resources available to us, yet it motivates me to bring as much awareness to this issue as possible in order to save all the smiles we can. I am excited to begin this journey with PHS and am looking forward to promoting their overall mission of saving smiles worldwide!”