Mattern to preside over Arcolians

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While growing up, pediatric dentist Dr. Jessica Mattern watched her father, a general dentist, open several dental practices and enjoy the autonomy and flexibility of running his own businesses.

She initially was set on a career working with children with special needs, but eventually veered toward her father’s profession after going with him on dental medical missions to Mexico through Latin World Ministries.

“There were doctors, surgeons, dentists, and the people who were the most enthusiastic were the dentists — they loved every aspect of what they did,” she recalls.

Mattern was installed as president of the Chicago-based Arcolian Dental Arts Society in April after serving on its board for five years. She accepted the gavel from Immediate Past President Dr. Mary Harris. Joining Dr. Mattern as officers are Dr. Lauren Allegretti, president elect; Dr. Charles Martello, vice president; Dr. Megan Ratliff, treasurer; Dr. Robin Gallardi, secretary; Dr. Dominique Bertucci, dinner chair.

Mattern joined the organization seven years ago at the encouragement of a colleague who’d been a longtime member, and immediately felt at home, she says.

“I really enjoyed it — the camaraderie, being around people that share our interests and love of dentistry, but also our love of our Italian heritage,” she says. “(It’s great to be) with people that you enjoy talking to about our business, and also share our love of good food and wine.”

Established in 1935, the Chicago-based nonprofit is a social and educational organization for aspiring, practicing and retired dentists and dental specialists. Its mission consists of increasing participation in dental schools, recording the past and current role of Italian culture in dentistry, providing high-quality continuing education, and supporting charitable endeavors. Members must be of Italian descent, and dental students can join free of charge.

Last year, ADAS member dentist Jeffrey Gentile published the book, “A History of the Arcolian Dental Arts Society: Italian American Dentists of Chicagoland.”

The organization has about 130 active members and hosts monthly meetings, usually at Italian restaurants throughout the Chicago suburbs. Typically, the evening starts with a board meeting, followed by dinner featuring a guest speaker on a variety of clinical, business and academic topics related to dentistry. Members who hold teaching positions often invite their students and residents as guests, Mattern says.

“That is definitely a big component of our group,” she says. “It’s not only social but educational. We spend a lot of time talking amongst ourselves regarding how to better our practices.”

The organization hosts an annual black tie Christmas party, during which it recognizes an Arcolian of the Year and disburses donations, including to one deserving family each year.

The ADAS also hosts an annual golf outing, the next one taking place Aug. 2 at Bloomingdale Country Club in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

An annual raffle in January sparks donations to various charitable organizations, dental-focused advancement groups and Italian cultural organizations.

Joining Mattern as 2024-25 officers are Dr. Lauren Allegretti, president elect; Dr. Charles Martello, vice president; Dr. Megan Ratliff, treasurer; Dr. Robin Gallardi, secretary; and Dr. Dominique Bertucci, dinner chair. She accepted the gavel from outgoing president Dr. Mary Harris.

Mattern has been a practicing dentist for eight years, after graduating from Creighton University School of Dentistry in Nebraska and doing a residency at Montefiore Medical School in New York. She opened her own practice in LaGrange, Illinois, about three years ago.

Pediatric dentistry is the perfect fit for her, Mattern says.

Her patients mostly range from babies with their first tooth to 18-year-olds, but she also has numerous special needs patients that continue seeing her in adulthood. “For a lot of special needs patients, it’s really difficult to find people (dentists) that are comfortable seeing them and can handle their dental care. For a lot of them, it’s important to have consistency and familiarity when they go to the dentist.”

Life has been really busy lately for Mattern, between running her own practice and caring for her 11-month-old son. She and her husband, Dr. Florian Stroie, a urologist specializing in men’s health, live in Chicago and are planning to move to LaGrange this summer.

No matter how busy, her time with the Arcolian Dental Arts Society is well worth it, she says.

“I am very lucky to be a part of a great group of people who are interested in not only having a good time, but are interested in giving back to the community. It’s such a great group of people to be involved with.”

For more information, email or click here.

About Elena Ferrarin

Elena Ferrarin is a native of Rome who has worked as a journalist in the United States since 2002. She has been a correspondent for Fra Noi for more than a decade. She previously worked as a reporter for The Daily Herald in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, The Regional News in Palos Heights and as a reporter/assistant editor for Reflejos, a Spanish-English newspaper in Arlington Heights. She has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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