If we can give the right training and the right inspiration, students will graduate and hopefully return to areas around the campus or where they grew up – 35% of the existing student body grew up in West Texas or near the border.
Under Dr. Black’s stewardship, the Hunt School of Dental Medicine is creating a dental health curriculum focused not only on the latest, most technically advanced skills but also on the needs of patients and on the goals of overall public health. Hunt School of Dental Medicine students begin patient interactions in their first semester, working alongside faculty and community dentists at the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic. Coursework also grows business acumen, preparing students to run their own practices. Students must demonstrate medical Spanish language proficiency to graduate – a unique requirement among dental schools that highlights Dr. Black’s patient-first approach to care.
Gifted in sharing a vision for a healthier region and engaging his entire community in working toward this common goal, Dr. Black has forged strong relationships with partners from multiple sectors to support the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic and to create patient funds that supply care to those most in need. He hopes his dedication to bringing quality care to the region will influence other dental schools to focus on educating and employing dentists in communities most in need.
- El Paso County offers only 1 dentist for every 4,840 residents. The national average is 1 dentist for every 1,638 individuals.
- Fewer than half of El Paso’s adults visit a dentist annually.
- In the past decade, only 22 of 2,390 Texas dental school graduates have chosen to practice in West Texas. Most graduating dentists establish their practice near their dental schools, so the Hunt School of Dental Medicine expects to see that number rise when the inaugural class graduates in 2025.
Dental School Stats
- Established in 2019, the Hunt School of Dental Medicine seated its inaugural class in July 2021.
- The Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic (OHC) serves a family population of 8,000 to 10,000 patients with 130 chairs and specialty suites.
- Students gain clinical experience in the OHC, mentored and trained by faculty and community dentists.
- Since the OHC opened 23 months ago, more than 2,000 patients have received treatment during more than 9,000 visits. A third of that care was pro bono.
- By the time the Hunt School of Dental Medicine reaches full enrollment in 2025, the OHC expects 65,000 patient visits each year.
- The OHC serves people who have never been to the dentist or doctor. OHC providers can provide other health screenings and make referrals for medical care.
- The OHC is also able to provide care to veterans who would otherwise need wait to for an appointment at an overburdened VA clinic.
Health Equity Heroes
Meet our 2023 Health Equity Heroes
Bridget Saffold, MSN, MPH, RN
Founder, Focus on Diabetes
Executive Director and CEO, Sacramento District Dental Society and Foundation
Christina T. Rosenthal, DDS, MPH
Founder, Determined to be a Doctor Someday (DDS)
Gail Tessier Brown, JD, MSW
Director, NH Oral Health Coalition
Joel Bervell, MD Candidate
Social Media Medical Educator, Washington State University
Vice President of Integrative Program Development and Clinical Innovation, Commonwealth Care Alliance
Richard C. Black, DDMS, MS
Rick and Ginger Francis Endowed Dean, Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine & Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
Tammy Simmons, MS, CCC-SLP
Co-Founder, Executive Director, ACCESS
The newsletter designed for anyone who wants to improve oral health for themselves, their families, customers or communities.