Newswise — EL PASO, Texas — The opening of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic could not have been done without the help of our community.
That teamwork is symbolized by an 8-foot sculpture – crafted by renowned El Paso artist Julio Sanchez De Alba – which now welcomes visitors to the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso officials revealed the work of art on Feb. 24 with the Texas Tech University System’s Board of Regents and members of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Board of Directors in attendance. The unveiling took place prior to the regents’ meeting on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.
Known locally and worldwide for his art, Sanchez De Alba brought together three red, green and blue human figures holding hands to create his sculpture. The design is a nod to the logo of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, a major supporter of the clinic and the newly opened Hunt School of Dental Medicine.
“For me, this design represents a diverse group of people working together. That’s what the clinic is doing for El Paso by training future dentists to help our community,” Sanchez De Alba said. “I love that concept, and it makes this sculpture more meaningful to me. I’m proud to bring it to life on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.”
With a steel frame and fiberglass exterior, Sanchez De Alba’s creation is built to survive El Paso’s weather and will welcome visitors for decades to come. The sculpture is a fitting representation of how TTUHSC El Paso, the Borderland community and partners like the Paso del Norte Health Foundation opened the first dental school in Texas in 50 years, as well as its state-of-the-art clinic.
“We are so proud to stand alongside our partners at TTUHSC El Paso for this special unveiling of a sculpture inspired by the Health Foundation’s logo and dedicated to the Power of Partnerships,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “None of our work happens without the partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals committed to the health and quality of life in our region. The sculpture is a life-size depiction of the Health Foundation’s logo – which represents our unique border culture that unifies people in three states and two countries to improve health. It is special to us for many reasons – and even more so now as it stands here on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.”
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation has been a strong advocate for the dental school and clinic since the idea was first introduced. The foundation contributed $6 million in 2016 to help with the recruiting and hiring of world-class faculty members, the school’s accreditation process and development of the most innovative dental school curriculum in the country. It gave another $5 million in 2021 to assist with the initial operations of both the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic. That financial commitment has helped TTUHSC El Paso build a clinic and dental school with the latest technology where highly sought after faculty with renowned expertise teach the next generation of dentists.
“The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is proud to be a partner in the health of our region with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation,” said Hunt School of Dental Medicine Dean Richard C. Black, D.D.S., M.S. “Without their early and continued support, it would not have been possible to open the doors of our clinic or the first Texas dental school in over 50 years.”
About the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic
The Hunt School of Dental Medicine opened in 2021 and offers the most innovative curriculum in the country, just as the Foster School of Medicine did 10 years ago. As part of its efforts to improve the accessibility of oral health care in the community, the school offers reduced-cost dental care in its 38,000 square-foot public dental clinic, the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic. The facility comes equipped with 145 treatment chairs where students work with faculty providers to deliver high-quality oral health care to Borderland residents. The clinic expects over 60,000 patient encounters annually once the first four classes of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine have begun their training.
A first for any dental school in the nation, Hunt School of Dental Medicine students begin clinical training and patient interaction during their first semester. As part of curriculum requirements, dental students learn medical Spanish, allowing them to bridge language and cultural barriers to deliver the highest quality of oral health care.
About the Paso del Norte Health Foundation
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) leads, leverages, and invests in initiatives, programs and policies to promote health and prevent disease in the Paso del Norte region. The Health Foundation was established in 1995 from the sale of Providence Memorial Hospital to Tenet Healthcare Corporation. The Health Foundation seeks to ensure that the people living in far west Texas, southern New Mexico and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico have the knowledge, resources and skills to lead healthy lives.