Stephen S. Berger, DDS (Retired)
The founder of the Children’s Dental Health Center, Dr. Stephen Berger, has put down his dental tools after 45 years and is enjoying his well-deserved retirement. He looks forward to enjoying more time for Scuba Diving and photography. In reflecting on his many years of service to his community, Dr. Berger said, “It has been an honor to watch my patients grow up and bring their kids to our office. I have had the opportunity to treat generations of Santa Rosa’s kids. But now it’s time to pass the torch to the next generation of Berger dentists. Now it’s my daughter’s turn.” (Dr. Shana Berger Van Cleave is the third generation in this family legacy.)
Shana Berger Van Cleave, DDS
Dr. Shana (pronounced Shaw-nuh) was born in Los Angeles while her father (Dr. Steve) completed his pediatric residency at UCLA. She attended elementary school in Santa Rosa and later moved to Sacramento and Georgia. She married and had two sons prior to completing her B.S. in Biochemistry, which she earned from University of California, Riverside in 2005. She then attended the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, completing their highly acclaimed accelerated three-year dental program. While there, she was active in the leadership of the dental school’s community outreach program, and initiated a research project that earned second place at the California Dental Association convention in Anaheim in 2008. She completed two years of specialty training in pediatric dentistry at UCLA, where she served as chief resident. Dr. Shana’s path to becoming a dentist was motivated by her own son’s health issues. When he was five years old, he had completely stopped growing. His pediatrician was not concerned at first (since his mom and dad were so short), but Shana requested tests that later determined he had the bone age of a 2 year old and needed medical intervention to help him grow. It was at that time the desire to become a health care provider began driving Dr. Shana to complete the ten years of higher education required to be a pediatric dentist. She is thrilled to have found a career that makes her so happy. Dr. Van Cleave has a special knack for working with very nervous patients and kids with special needs. She enjoys singing to her patients and has served at church as the music director for the children’s singing program for over 15 years.
Monika Meekay, DDS
Dr. Monika Meekay is a board-certified pediatric dentist who completed dental school training at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 2007. She then completed her pediatric dentistry specialty training in Brooklyn, New York at the Lutheran Medical Center. Dr. Meekay focuses on creating a dental home for each child, where emphasis is placed on caries prevention and monitoring and guiding for the proper growth and development. She treats all of her patients with the greatest care and compassion. Dr. Meekay makes certain to provide a positive and rewarding experience for each family. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and California Society of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Meekay has held positions as Assistant Clinical Professor and Clinical Instructor at the UCSF School of Dentistry and the University of the Pacific (UOP) Dugoni School of Dentistry. Dr. Meekay has also served as a guest lecturer for pediatricians and pediatric residents at the UCSF Fresno Children’s Hospital and for the dental students at UCSF. She is married with two beautiful children and loves to travel and eat sushi. She has a delightful personality and we are enjoying having her energy and happy demeanor around our office. Welcome Dr. Monika!
Sweeney RDA Romelle Sweeney has been working for Dr. Steve Berger for 36 years!!! (She knew Dr. Shana when she was in pigtails.) She started as a dental assistant and now manages the front office. She has been married to her husband, Bill for 30 years and they have supported one another through thick and thin in a manner that is truly inspiring. Their son Sean is about to be married, and their Daughter Madelyn also works in the dental field as a registered dental assistant. She enjoys cooking and hiking, loves animals, and enjoys any excuse to travel.
Carol Suman has been working in our front office a total of 18 years. She is originally a Southern California girl but moved to Sonoma County in 1989. She has been married to her husband for 38 years and has three children, one adorable grandchild, a three-legged cat and a sixteen year old fox terrier. She says her favorite part of the job is “the pure honesty” of the kids and spending time with her “work family.” She is a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan and loves traveling, cooking, gardening and playing games.
Terri Verhunce RDA
is our office surgery scheduler and is also a Registered Dental Assistant. She has been working for Dr. Berger since June of 1984. Terri lives in Santa Rosa with her husband Val, and has two daughters Bailey and Maddy. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and cheering on the SF Giants!
Jenny Mesa RDA
Jenny Mesa was a long-time patient in our office before she started working as a dental assistant. She likes to say, “I started coming to Dr. Berger’s office when I was eight and I never left!” She is a Santa Rosa native and graduated from the dental assisting program at SRJC in 2001. Jen loves the challenges and rewards that inherently come with working in pediatrics. She loves to help kids have a positive and fun experience in the dental environment. She has an eleven year old daughter of her own, has a husband (Josh) and loves her “fur baby” (a Shiba-Inu dog named Bauer). She is fascinated by all things fitness and has even competed and placed in a few bodybuilding competitions.
Claudia Vigil RDA
has been working with our staff since 2005. She two sons and one daughter. Claudia is fluent in both Spanish and English. She enjoys spending time with her family and going on bike rides.
Dao Nguyen is a new face in our front office, but you may have seen her working as an assistant in the past. She was an intern as a dental assistant when she was going through the program at SRJC several years ago. She says of working in our pediatric office, “I love working with children because they keep me young!” She has lived in Sonoma County most of her life. She has been married to Markus for 26 years and have two children: Anna and Adam. Their family also includes a pair of dogs: Bootz the Beagle and Niz.