Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso has announced a $25 million gift from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation to establish a dental school.
To be named the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine, the first dental school to open in Texas in nearly fifty years will be only the fourth dental school in the state, and the first located on the U.S.-Mexico border in West Texas. El Paso County has been classified as a dental Health Professional Shortage Area by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and, according to a Texas Department of State Health Services study, has only one dentist for every five thousand residents, about half the state average.
"This new school at TTUHSC El Paso will have a significant impact on oral health care in the Paso del Norte region and West Texas," said Texas Tech University president Richard Lange. "Our region is severely underserved when it comes to dentistry, and by establishing a school here in the heart of the Borderplex, we expect to retain dentists in our area to help fill this gap."
"We are confident that this dental school will have a significant impact on the Borderplex, the City of El Paso, and the surrounding region," said foundation board chair Woody Hunt. "Our immediate goal is to attract bright medical talent and young men and women who are eager to stay in El Paso to practice dentistry. In the longer term, the school will help alleviate oral health problems in our region, as well as serve as a significant enhancement to our overall quality of life in the Borderplex."