Founded by Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA CDD, and a team of certified dental assistants from across the United States, the Academy of Chairside Assisting® (ACA) is the first organization to provide dental assistants with a comprehensive platform that encompasses all aspects of their multi-dimensional profession.
The purpose of the Academy of Chairside Assisting® (ACA) is to maintain a standard of excellence allowing and pursuing opportunities for dental assistants to achieve their full potential in chairside assisting.
In addition to the networking opportunities, support, and encouragement from other professional peers, the ACA® will enable dental assistants to achieve their goals through educational resources and benefits that can enhance their careers. Our members value sharing knowledge, the spirit of professional camaraderie, and engaging with the community are among the many advantages of our community. Membership in the Academy of Chairside Assisting® is awarded to assistants and students who demonstrate a commitment to the highest standards of care and advancement in the field.
The synergy that our leadership team has developed through our Academy of Chairside Assisting is unprecedented, and we recognize how dental assistants support dentists and their patients in achieving successful treatments, experiencing efficiency and comfort, and maintaining excellence in oral care.
Shannon Pace Brinker, President
Shannon Pace Brinker, CDA, is a national and international speaker and published author. She has been a full-time practicing dental assistant for more than 25 years and works for Dr. Robert Korman in Virginia Beach, VA.
She is an active member of the AACD, was the first auxiliary to sit on the AACD Board of Directors, and was awarded the AACD Rising Star Award. Shannon was selected one of Dentistry Today’s Top 100 Clinicians. She was also selected as Dental Products Report’s 25 most influential women in dentistry and Dr. Bicuspid’s dental assisting educator of the year.
She has written more than 300 articles about clinical applications and has a current column in Dental Product Reports for team evaluations of dental products and materials. She has her own publication for dental assistants in partnership with Schein Dental called Side by Side. She has started one of the first online platforms designated for dental assistants called the Academy of Chairside Assisting.
Erik M. Brinker, Director of Operations
Erik Mark Brinker, Commander for the US Navy for over twenty two years, served as an Executive Officer for 120 personnel combat unit at SEAL Team Eighteen. Erik currently is serving as a Logistics Planner for Joint Forces Command. He served one tour in Iraq 2006-2007 and received a Defense Meritorious Medal, the highest combat medal in personal record, and now is in active reserves.
Erik has spent fifteen years in the pharmaceutical industry which lead him to start Contemporary Product Solutions, a digital magazine. In 2013, with the success of the magazine, Erik and Shannon added clinical team training to help with better clinical application and technique.
Jean Ocasio, CDA Vice President
Jean Ocasio, CDA, BsBA, MHA has been working in the dental field since 1999. While serving in the United States Navy, Jean became a certified dental assistant where he was assigned to the Diloranzo Triservice Dental Clinic at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. His desire to continue his education while working in dentistry led him to receive his BA in Business Administration and successfully complete his Masters Degree in Health Care Administration.
He is the office manager for Advanced Esthetic Dentistry. He has lectured for The Greater New York, Yankee, Chicago Midwinter, Hinman, Texas Dental and the AACD.
Natalia Vinasco, Business Development for AssistU Store
Natalia was born and raised in Colombia, South America. She graduated dental school in 2003 at Colegio Odontologico Colombiano. Natalia moved to the States in 2007, and worked as a dental assistant for a year before she joined the US Navy from 2009 to 2014. After the Navy, she wanted to get back into the dental field. She was accepted into the Prairie State College Dental Hygiene program and graduated in 2017.
Currently, Natalia works for a FQHC where she enjoys working with the underserved community in the south side of Chicago. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with her husband and two boys and she also enjoys crafting.