Spokane District
Dental Society Foundation

The Spokane District Dental Society Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote improved oral health and increased opportunities for delivery of dental care to those in need in our community through educational programs, collaboration with existing organizations and community programs and direct delivery of care.



President, Mark Paxton, DDS

Mark received his Doctorate in Dental Surgery in 1980 from the University of Washington. Following his residency, he practiced general dentistry with the United States Air Force. In l989, Dr. Paxton began a four-year Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery residency at Travis Air Force base. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Board Certified with the American Board of Dental Anesthesiology. In l995, he and his family moved to Spokane and opened Spokane Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, which is accredited by the JCAHO and AAAHC.


Dr. Paxton's compassion and care for patients with craniofacial deformities have led him to serve with the national organization Hearts in Motion for the past ten years. He has provided surgical care to numerous children and adults with cleft lip and palate, burn victims, and craniofacial tumors.


Dr. Paxton's community involvement within our region includes currently serving on the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees and the SHMC Pediatric Foundation Board of Trustees. 


In 2001-2004 he was appointed to the Washington State Dental Quality Assurance Commission and in 2001 served as President of the Washington State Society of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons.


He is married to Dr. Diane Paxton, an Orthodontist in Spokane Valley. They have two grown children and one grandchild. As a family they enjoy snow skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, and sailing adventures.



President-Elect, Amir Ganji, DMD


Amir graduated from Temple University School of Dentistry in l997 with a Doctorate of Medicine Dentistry, and then spent the next year working in the Infectious Disease clinic at Temple. From l997 to 2000 he worked as a staff dentist at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Spokane. In 2000 he opened his private practice on the South Hill area of Spokane.


Dr. Ganji has served as the Secretary, Treasurer, and the President of the Spokane District Dental Society. One role he is most proud of is setting up the first dental outreach event for senior citizens through the SDDS. He served as a delegate to the Washington State Dental Association for three years.


His wife Jennifer is also a local dentist. They have two children.



Secretary, David Engen, DDS, MS

David was raised in Spokane and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology from Purdue University and his Masters of Science degree in Physiology and Biophysics from Indiana University prior to earning his Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree at Indiana University. He received specialty training in both Periodontics and Orthodontics and is Board Certified in each making him one of less than 20 dentists world-wide to have achieved such a distinction.


He has served as a clinical instructor in both the Departments of Periodonitcs and Orthodontics at Indiana University. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Association of Orthodontics, Washington State Society of Orthodontics, American Dental Association, and the Washington State Dental Association. David is a co-founder of the Inland Northwest Dental Hygiene Study and has served in various leadership roles within the Spokane District Dental Society.


Dr. Engen and his wife Michelle have three children. He enjoys spending his time water skiing, scuba diving and playing games and sports with his family. He also enjoys traveling with his wife.


Treasurer, Susan Mahan Kohls, DDS

Susan is a Spokane native. She attended Gonzaga Prep high school. In l993 she graduated from the University of Washington School of Dentistry obtaining a Doctorate in Dental Surgery. She practiced in Seattle for five years before returning to Spokane.


For the past ten years, Dr. Kohls has been in private practice on Spokane's South Hill. She feels it is a true blessing to be able to live and work in the place where she grew up. Dr. Kohls also feels strongly about helping those in need and enjoys volunteering her time with the Give Kids A Smile project. She is involved in many local and national study clubs.


Dr Kohls and her husband Rick have three children and enjoy swimming, riding bikes, and spending time together.


Past-President, Sue Weishaar, DDS

Sue grew up and was raised on a wheat farm in Odessa and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Washington University in Dental Hygiene in l985. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University in l990 with a DDS degree, and completed a General Practice residency from the University of Washington in l991. Today she is in private practice in the Spokane Valley.


Dr. Weishaar has served on the Board of Directors for the Washington State Dental Association, the Spokane District Dental Society Board, and currently on the SDDS Foundation Board. She also is on the Advisory Board for the SCC Dental Assisting program and the Advisory Board for the EWU Dental Hygiene program.

“I have aspired all my life to become someone that is in a position to help people obtain optimal dental health”. She has been involved in many community projects including Give Kids a Smile, the ABCD Program, and Adopt a Senior.

Dr. Weishaar and her husband Jim have been married for twenty three years and have four children and six grandchildren. They enjoy horseback packing trips, skiing, and boating trips.




Brooke Cloninger, DDS

Brooke was born and raised in Spokane where she attended Lewis & Clark High School and then received a Bachelor of Science degree from Montana State University. She graduated from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in 2003. She belongs to many dental organizations, is active in numerous study clubs, and currently serves on the SDDS Executive Council.


Giving back to her community is very important to Dr. Cloninger. She has participated in many dental community sponsored events including Give Kids A Smile, Senior Smile Day, and has traveled to Olympia for the Dental Legislation Day.


Dr. Cloninger resides on the South Hill close to where she grew up. She enjoys traveling and spending time at the family Coeur d' Alene Lake home.


Karen Hallinan, DDS


Dr. Karen grew up in Spokane, Washington and has lived here most of her life.  She attended Gonzaga Prep and graduated with a Bio-chemistry degree from Easten Washington University.  Dr. Karen went on to Crieghton School of Dentistry where she earned her degree in Doctor of Dental Surgery.  She remains committed to constant and never ending improvement and is passionate about learning.  She invests countless hours in dental continuing education to better care for her patients.  Dr. Karen in constantly updating her skills and knowledge from some of the most skilled dentists in North America.  Her most influential mentor dentist is her father, who practiced dentistry for over 45 years.

When Dr. Karen is not caring for patients, she stays active in the great outdoors.  In her spare time, she stays active by hiking, fly fishing and camping in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  She is an avid skier and loves downhill, as well as snowshoeing.


Dr. Hallinan is looking forward to meeting you and taking care of all your dental needs.






Tyler Shoemaker, DDS



Nick Velis, DDS




Administrative Director of SDDS Foundation
Contact information: Wendy Wilson, wendy@sddsfoundation.org

All Board Members are voluntary positions without compensation.