President: Dr Ellen Clark, Specialist – Dental Public Health

Ellen Clark began her career as the first Dental House Officer at Whangarei Base Hospital following graduation with her BDS in 2008. She has worked for the Northland District Health Board (NDHB), now Te Whatu Ora for the last 13 years as a Community Dentist and was the Clinical Director from 2015-2021. She gained my public health specialist degree from Otago University in 2017. She purchased a private practice in Mangawhai Heads early in 2019, which she still owns and operates. Her research encompasses a wide range of oral conditions, most notably in the fields of dental caries. Her particular interest is in improving oral health outcomes and reducing health inequalities. She has attended multiple cultural literacy courses over the past 13 years and has been studying Te Reo Māori at night school since 2021. She has been a member of the NZDA board (now advisory council) from 2018 and was elected to the NZDA executive (now board) in 2020. She works part time for mobile surgical services.


VP / President Elect: Dr Donna Kennedy, Specialist – Dental Public Health   

Donna is a Dental Public Health Specialist and the head of the Hospital Oral Health Service, Te Whatu Ora, Nelson Marlborough. She provides dental care for medically compromised individuals requiring specialised care, particularly those with oral & oro-pharyngeal cancer. Donna’s research into the role of dental clinicians in the diagnosis of oral cancer in NZ, has been used to improve clinicians’ knowledge and aid early diagnosis. She is currently conducting research for the Ministry of Health into the knowledge of medical practitioners about the signs and symptoms of oral and oro-pharyngeal cancer. She is a member of the New Zealand Oral Health Advisory Group, providing support and advice on the provision of dental care to adolescents. Donna has a particular interest in improving access to and outcomes from oral health services within Aotearoa.

Immediate Past President: Dr Anna Dawson, Senior Hospital Dentist

Secretary / Treasurer: Dr Phillipa Greer – Specialist Oral Medicine


South Island Reps:

Dr Sarah Bradley, Senior Hospital Dentist

Sarah graduated from the University of Otago with a BDS in 1989. She works as a senior dentist at Christchurch Hospital, caring for patients who are medically compromised and people with disabilities. She has a particular interest in looking after patients with cancer of the head and neck and patients diagnosed with rheumatic fever. Sarah is a new member to the executive committee in 2023.



Dr Leonard Chia, Specialist — Special Care Dentistry

Leonard is a special care dental specialist at Te Whatu Ora Waitaha and have always worked in a team-based hospital environment. He gained his specialist qualification in 2017 from the University of Otago. He provides care for both children and adults, particularly those who have special needs, while supporting his colleagues in areas such as intravenous sedation. He has particular interest in digital health and currently in pursuing further qualifications in this area. Leonard is a new member to the executive committee. 



North Island Reps:

Dr Penny Malden, Specialist – Dental Public Health

Dr Penny Malden joined the executive committee in 2018. She graduated BDS from Otago University in 1995 and works as a Senior Dentist at Capital and Coast District Health Board where she has had many years’ experience in hospital dentistry. Penny is a specialist in Public Health Dentistry, completing her MComDent in 2006. She has had previous experience working with the Ministry of Health’s Oral Health team and at Regional Public Health based at Hutt Valley DHB.



Dr Andrea Kelsen, Specialist – Special Needs Dentistry

Andrea graduated from university of Otago 1999 with a BDS and went to work at Capital Coast Hospital Dental Service for two years until she left to go on a working OE in the United Kingdom for four years.  She returned to New Zealand in 2006 after being offered her ideal job at Taranaki Base Hospital in New Plymouth where she has worked as a clinician for the past 17 years.

She undertook a Doctorate in Clinical Dentistry (Special Needs) which was completed in 2010.  Since completing her postgraduate studies, she has also undertaken a Diploma in Health Coaching and Nutrition.  She is a keen clinician and feels her skills lie  in making dentistry as pleasant and accessible for all her patients.  In her spare time she is a keen but very bad runner, enjoys gardening and accessing the outdoors.

Dr Hadleigh Clark, Specialist– OraMedicine

Hadleigh undertook physiology and dental training in Dunedin at the University of Otago. Following dental house officer and private practice jobs in Auckland, he qualified and registered in medicine, working initially at Auckland City Hospital as a medical house officer. He then worked at Westmead Hospital / Westmead Centre for Oral Health, Sydney as an oral medicine registrar, completing his doctor of clinical dentistry in 2015.

Hadleigh is a consultant at Te Toka Tumai Auckland, Te Whatu Ora and has particular interests in immunologically-mediated oral mucosal disease, salivary disease and chronic neuropathic facial pains. He speaks regularly to both dental and medical groups, being keen on interdisciplinary education and collaboration. Amongst his other affiliations, Hadleigh is an examiner for the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.