UW School of Dentistry

Meet our Staff


Tar Chee Aw, DDS, MS; Dentist, Clinic Director

Dr. AwDr. Aw is an Associate Professor in the Division of Operative Dentistry in the Department of Restorative Dentistry, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Oral Health Sciences. Dr. Aw has more than 25 years experience treating patients with special needs. He received a BSc degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Bristol, a DDS degree and an AEGD certificate in General Dentistry, both from Northwestern University, a GPR certificate in Hospital Dentistry from Cornell University, and a MS degree in Restorative Dentistry from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Aw was an attending dentist at Harborview Medical Center’s outpatient dental clinic for 5 years before becoming an attending dentist at the Dental Fears Clinic in 2002. He was appointed as the Director of the DRFC in 2005.

Dr. Aw’s research focus is primarily in the laboratory evaluation and clinical trials of new restorative materials and techniques. His areas of interest include Esthetics, Implants, Biomaterials, and High-technology. He has authored numerous scientific research and clinical articles in various peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Aw’s has a wife and two school age daughters. When he is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family.

Peter Milgrom, DDS; Dentist, Director Emeritus and Co-Founder

Dr. MilgromDr. Peter Milgrom is Professor of Oral Health Sciences and Pediatric Dentistry in the School of Dentistry and also Adjunct Professor of Health Services in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Milgrom has more than 40 years experience treating patients with special health care needs. He received his DDS from the University of California, San Francisco in 1972. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Bergen in recognition of his founding of the Dental Fears Clinic and recently won the Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research from the American Dental Association. Dr. Milgrom is author of Treating Fearful Dental Patients and over 400 scientific articles.

Dr. Milgrom’s wife is a retired Medical Librarian and his son is a lawyer working for a local multinational software firm. His daughter is a multilingual social worker serving immigrant communities in Washington DC. When not working, Dr. Milgrom loves gardening and travel.

Alireza Sadr, DDS, PhD; Dentist

Sadr-AlirezaDr. Alireza Sadr is an acting Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry in the University of Washington School of Dentistry and also Adjunct Associate Professor of Cariology and Operative Dentistry at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan. Dr. Sadr has been a dentist since 2003. He received his PhD and advanced training in restorative dentistry from Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 2008. He has been actively involved in research on non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments in dentistry. He is especially interested in a new laser technology to take tooth images without using X-ray. In the past decade, he has authored over 120 scientific articles and been invited more than 30 times to lecture at various dental meetings and academic institutions across the world.

Dr. Sadr joined DFRC in 2015. He is fluent in English, Japanese and Persian, and enjoys working with the diverse patient population at this clinic. He is married with two young children who are gradually adapting to their new lives in Seattle.


Philip Weinstein, PhD; Chief Clinic Psychologist and Co-Founder

Dr. WeinsteinDr. Philip Weinstein is a Professor of Oral Health Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Pediatric Dentistry and Psychology at the University of Washington. Dr. Weinstein, a licensed clinical psychologist, has 35 years experience treating patients with special health care needs. He received his undergraduate training at Queens College in New York and his graduate training in psychology at the University of Kentucky, receiving his PhD in 1971.

Dr. Weinstein’s research has studied dental fear and pain and he is very interested in the prevention and control of tooth decay in children. Dr. Weinstein wrote Motivate Your Dental Patients and has published more than 150 scientific articles.

Dr. Weinstein has a wife and three adult children. When he is not working he enjoys fishing and outdoor activities in Sequim, Washington.

Lisa Heaton, PhD; Clinic Psychologist

Dr. HeatonDr. Heaton is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Oral Health Sciences and a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of Washington. Dr. Heaton has more than 10 years experience treating patients with special health care needs. She earned a BA in psychology (1996) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and her Master’s of Science (2002) and PhD in Clinical Psychology (2005) from the University of Kentucky, both focused on dental fear and anxiety. She completed a pre-doctoral internship in clinical health psychology at the University of Florida before completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington.

Dr. Heaton teaches students in the School of Dentistry about dentist-patient communication and caring for patients who are fearful of dental treatment.

Dr. Heaton is married and spends her free time enjoying the theater, local restaurants and sports teams.

Dental Hygienists

Marilynn Rothen, RDH, MS; Dental Hygienist

Marilynn RothenMarilynn graduated with a degree in dental hygiene from the University of Washington and holds a Masters degree in Oral Biology. She has practiced in the Dental Fears Clinic for over 25 years. Marilynn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Health Sciences. When she is not seeing patients in the Clinic, she manages the Regional Clinical Dental Research Center, affiliated with the UW Institute for Translational Health Sciences. Marilynn is past president of the Washington State Dental Hygiene Association.

Marilynn is married and enjoys tennis and skiing.

Kristin Ericson, RDH; Dental Hygienist

Kris EricsonKristin Ericson is a practicing Dental Hygienist who has practiced in the Dental Fears Research Clinic since 2008. She received her degree of Dental Hygiene from Yakima Community College in 1992. Kris especially enjoys providing care for pre-transplant, immune compromised, trauma patients and others with special health care needs. Kris is married and enjoys living in Ballard, her cat Stella, and the occasional scuba diving trip to the Islands.

Dental Assistants

Valerie King-Scott, CDA; Dental Assistant

Valerie King-Scott Valerie King-Scott has been a certified dental assistant for the last 20 years, and trained at South Seattle College. She has enjoyed working at the School of Dentistry in the Departments of Oral Medicine (Dental Urgent Care), Oral Surgery, Orthodontics and now Dental Fears. Valerie is married and is very active with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Kris Petchang, RDA; Dental Assistant

Kris Petchang joined the Dental Fears Clinic in 2015, and has been a Dental Assistant for 23 years. She studied Dental Assisting at the Seattle Vocational Institute. Kris says her favorite part of working in the Dental Fears Clinic is “meeting and chatting with our awesome patients – I always learn something new from our patients!” When Kris is not at work, she enjoys learning fun, new things on websites like YouTube and Pinterest.

Administrative and Billing Staff

Susan Hovis, BA; Patient Services Specialist

Sue HovisSue Hovis has been the Dental Fears Clinic Patient Services Specialist at the Dental Fears Clinic front desk for 10 years. Prior to coming to the clinic, she received her Bachelor of Arts and graduate credit hours in teaching from Arizona State University. Sue taught elementary school for 35 years, and also trained teachers in both the U.S. and Canada. Sue most enjoys working with patients in the Dental Fears Clinic. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting and watching old movies.