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Our Team

Purnima Hernandez, DDS, M.A., BCBA

Purnima Hernandez is a board certified pediatric dentist and behavior analyst who has been serving the communities of New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr Hernandez received her education in Pediatric Dentistry at Columbia University College of Dental medicine. After serving as an Assistant Professor for many years in the department of Pediatric dentistry she decided to pursue a career in the clinical practice of pediatric dentistry. She joined a well-known pediatric dentistry group in New Jersey where she served as a partner for a number of years. In 2005 she established her own office in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. While she delivers care to all children, her special interests are treating children with special healthcare needs.

Dr. Hernandez has a passion for treating children, and every child is her child when it comes to providing care. Dr Hernandez is also a parent of a child with disabilities. She is an advocate not just for her child but other children in the community. She has spoken to audiences on various topics related to disability such as health, advocacy, therapy, and special needs dentistry, and has authored and co-authored articles related to disability issues. She serves as a past Council Member on the Council of Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey and a board member Disability Rights New Jersey.

In an effort to help children tolerate their visits to the dentist, Dr. Hernandez uses behavioral techniques to help children accept dental care. Dr. Hernandez focuses on teaching her patients the skills that will allow them to sit appropriately in an office chair and receive treatment. She believes children can learn to receive routine treatment in a conventional manner through proper supports in the dental office just as they do in the daily living skills. She is currently studying to become a Applied Behavior Analyst to pursue her research interests in the behavior modification of children with disabilities.

Dr Hernandez was awarded the Dr Solomon Rosenstein Visiting Professorship and Fellowship by the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine for her contribution to the field of special needs dentistry. She was also awarded the Francis Black Humanitarian award in health care by Friends Health Connection, an award that recognizes individuals from New Jersey’s health care facilities who are an extraordinary inspiration to others.

Dr Hernandez and her practice were featured in an article in the Journal of American Dental Association , two television news stories (CBS and NJN), as well as the subject of an in-depth article in the New Jersey Star Ledger
Current Appointment
2006 – Present Proprietor
Bergen Pediatric Dentistry, LLC
2002 – Present Hospital Staff
St. Joseph's Medical Center, NJ
2010 – Present Hospital Staff
Holy Name Medical Center

Honors and Awards
2008 Frances Black Humanitarian Award in Healthcare
2006 Dr. Solomon Rosenstein Visiting Professorship and Fellow
1989 - 1990 United Cerebral Palsy Fellowship
1988 Clarks Fellowship, Columbia University, NY
1986 Best student award, Nair Hospital, Mumbai
1986 Dr. Menino De Souza Award, Nair Hospital, Mumbai
Media Appearances
2008 Featured on Primus Notes cover story, Columbia University College of Medicine Publication
2007 Featured on Dental Reports article called "Raising Expectations"
2007 Featured on Star Ledger newspaper article called "Filling a Need"
2007 Featured on NJN TV news story on Special Needs Dentistry
2007 Featured on CBS TV news story on Special Needs Dentistry
2007 Featured on People and Families magazine article called "A Dentist on a Mission"

Publications – Articles and Newsletters

Hernandez, P. Ikkanda Z. Applied behavior analysis: behavior management of children with autism spectrum disorders in dental environments. J Am Dent Assoc. 2011 Mar;142(3):281-7

Hernandez, P. Perspective of a Parent and a Provider for Children with Special Health Care Needs. Pediatric Dentistry 2007; 29: 105-107.

Catalano, C., Hernandez, P., Wolters, P. A child's self-statement – Who am I? Exceptional Parent. April 2002.

Hernandez, P. Early Childhood Dental Care for Children With and Without Special Healthcare Needs. Supertwins Magazine. 2007

Hernandez, P. Common Dental Problem. Supertwins Magazine. 2007

Other Interests:
  • Advocate for children with disabilities
  • Interest in complimentary medicine
  • Cranio facial patients / Naso Alveolar Molding (NAM) trained


Fatina Shtivelman, DDS

Fatina grew up in the New York City area. In 2001, she received her B.A. degree in Biological Sciences from Wagner College, graduating with Magna Cum Laude Honors. Graduating in only three and half years, she spent the next 6 months prior to dental school volunteering and working for many dental offices, knowing her long term goal of becoming a dentist.

In 2009, she earned her D.D.S. degree from SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. She pursued her general practice residency training at Staten Island University Hospital. While being exposed to many different aspects of dentistry, she found her true passion, treating children and patients with special needs. Then, she decided to do a fellowship at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, caring for patients with disabilities and special needs. She received extensive training and successfully treated many cases using IV sedation and in the operating room. She then decided to obtain her pediatric dentistry degree at Stony Brook. She served as chief resident, completing her research to further help gain access to care for the special needs population and mentored dental students during their pediatric dentistry rotations. She is currently Board Eligible and working towards becoming Board Certified in Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Fatina is an active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the New York State Dental Society, and the American Dental Association. She believes in giving back to her community and is involved in Gives Kids a Smile and various local outreach programs. When she isn’t at work, Dr. Fatina enjoys spending time with her husband, Jason. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and skiing.