Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,
El Paso - Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine
El Paso, Texas
Poor dental care has been linked to numerous chronic disorders that can be prevented with education and early detection. According to a 2016 study by the Texas Department of State Health Services, there was one dentist for every 4,700 residents in El Paso County, Texas compared to the state average of one dentist for every 2,778 residents.
The Health Foundation’s board of directors announced a $6 million grant to support the new Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center – El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine (WLHSODM). The Health Foundation’s commitment to the new dental school will increase the awareness and importance of oral health, support a local supply of future dentists and hygienists, support community dental clinics, provide faculty appointments for local dentists and contribute to the overall economic growth in the region.
The Health Foundation’s commitment will support the development of a unique, community-centered curriculum for the WLHSODM —- and leverage State funding and a generous $25 million leadership gift from Woody and Gayle Hunt and the Hunt Family Foundation.
Unlike traditional learning, the WLHSODM curriculum will focus on service education, a form of teaching that encourages meaningful community service. This approach will result in one-of-a-kind, hands-on experiences that allow students to apply their newfound knowledge and skills to life beyond the classroom, while simultaneously helping the community.
The first cohort of 20 future dentists will be admitted in 2020. By 2023, the school is expected to admit its first class of dental hygienists. At full capacity, the WLHSODM will graduate 75 dentists and 60 dental hygienists per year.
"We are incredibly grateful to the Paso del Norte Health Foundation for supporting us in this endeavor,” says TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. “Our shared mission of improving the health and quality of life for residents in this bi-national region will only strengthen our cause: to bring a dental school to El Paso that will change the face of health care in west Texas."
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