NM Higher Ed Department, TTUHSC Hunt School of Dental Medicine Partners to Provide Opportunities for Dental Students in New Mexico

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The New Mexico Department of Higher Education (NMHED) and the Hunt School of Dental Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center have teamed up to help New Mexico residents seeking a doctorate in dentistry.

Representatives from the TTUHSC, NMHED and the New Mexico Dental Association will make a special announcement on October 19 to discuss how the new Hunt School of Dental Medicine will create opportunities for New Mexico residents who wish to be a part of the next generation of dentists in the Paso Northern region. Among the expected representatives are:

  • TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, MD, MBA
  • Hunt School of Dentistry Dean Richard L. Black, DDS, MS
  • NMHED Director of Institutional Funding and Financial Aid Harrison Rommel, Ph.D.
  • President of the New Mexico Dental Association Kimberly Martin, DMD
  • Executive Director of the New Mexico Dental Association Tom Schripsema, DDS

The inaugural class of 40 students from the Hunt School of Dental Medicine began its first semester this summer. The dental school provides a unique education to students through hands-on, culturally competent training and an introduction to early clinical experiences in a diverse population, TTUHSC officials said.

As part of the program requirements, dental students will learn medical Spanish, which will allow them to overcome language and cultural barriers to provide the highest quality oral health care.

A first for any dental school across the country, students at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine begin clinical education and patient interaction during their first semester. It is also the first and only dental school in the country to require Spanish lessons. Sixty percent of the school’s students consider themselves bilingual or multilingual, which helps to reduce language barriers when caring for patients.

Hunt School of Dentistry

The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is the first dental school on the US-Mexico border and the only one in El Paso and West Texas. It is one of the few Hispanic dental schools in the country, with 32.5% of its inaugural class identifying as Hispanic.

In the past 10 years, only 22 of 2,390 Texas dental school graduates have chosen to practice in West Texas. Since most graduate dentists establish their practices near their dental schools, the Hunt School of Dental Medicine will help alleviate the severe shortage of dentists in the Paso del Norte area.

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