Aarika D. Anderson Elter, DMD
A South Puget Sound native, she was raised in Lakewood, Washington, and graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology from California Lutheran University in 2005, prior to attending A.T. Still University- Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, where she obtained her Doctor of Dental Medicine and a Certificate of Dental Public Health in 2009.
Dr. Anderson recently completed her Pediatric Dental Residency through NYU Langone in Yakima, Washington. During residency, she also completed the LEND Fellowship through the University of Washington, which provided interdisciplinary leadership training in neurodevelopmental and related disabilities to better serve pediatric patients with special healthcare needs and their families. Dr. Anderson also is a Special Smiles Clinical Director for the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program.
Dr. Anderson has a passion for advocacy, improving efficacy of healthcare delivery and access to care. Prior to becoming a specialist, she spent almost a decade providing comprehensive dental care in a community health setting to underserved populations, including large migrant, immigrant and refugee populations. She has also been involved with several safety-net programs, including the school-based dental clinics within the Seattle Public Schools and the Head Start Policy Council.
Dr. Anderson received the WA State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry- AAPD Public Policy Advocacy Conference Resident Award, and separately, the WA State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation Resident Research Grant Award for her research, “Family Centered Care at an Interdisciplinary Center for Children with Special Needs: Perceptions of Spanish & English Speaking Families,” highlighting the importance of eliminating barriers to care to improve health outcomes. Most recently, Dr. Anderson was selected to be the Western Society of Pediatric Dentistry Leadership Intern for 2018-2019. Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Anderson is a member of the AAPD, WSAPD, ADA, WSDA and the Pierce County Dental Society. She is currently in the process of board certification.