The Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine will be the first dental school to open in the state in about 50 years, and it will welcome its inaugural class in July 2021. The El Paso school will be the first to open in West Texas, the fourth in the state, and the first that sits at the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is a welcomed addition to El Paso. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated the area as a dental health professional shortage area. El Paso County has one dentist for every 4,480 residents, while the national average is one dentist for every 1,639 residents, the university noted.
Another major benefit for the area is that the school will house a 38,000-sq-ft dental clinic, equipped with 130 treatment chairs. Dental school students under faculty supervision will provide reduced-cost dental care to the community.
A $25 million gift to the university from businessman Woody L. Hunt and his wife, Gayle, helped make the construction of the dental school possible. Paso del Norte Health Foundation also gave the university a $6 million grant to fund the dental school's curriculum, and, in 2019, the state earmarked $20 million to establish the Hunt School of Dental Medicine.
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