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Dental clinic for homeless named for Dr. Taline Infante

Posted on Monday, June 24, 2013 · Volume: XLVI · Issue: 13


Taline “Talley” Dadian Infante, Ed.D., RDH, took on the SAMMinistries dental clinic as a personal project. She received a $200,000 grant from Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas to equip and expand the dental clinic. Click on images to make them bigger
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Taline “Talley” Dadian Infante, Ed.D., RDH, took on the SAMMinistries dental clinic as a personal project. She received a $200,000 grant from Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas to equip and expand the dental clinic. Click on images to make them biggerclear graphic

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Contact: Sheila Hotchkin, 210-567-3026

SAN ANTONIO (June 12, 2013) — A dental clinic serving homeless families with children at SAMMinistries’ Transitional Living and Learning Center has been named in honor of one of its founders, whose determined efforts ensured the clinic was funded and filled with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Taline Dadian Infante Dental Clinic was dedicated June 13 in honor of Taline “Talley” Dadian Infante, Ed.D., RDH, who led the Division of Dental Hygiene until she died in April at age 56 of a brain tumor.

Among those attending were leaders from SAMMinistries and the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, including the Dental School and its Division of Dental Hygiene, as well as friends, family members and SAMMinistries residents, who benefitted from the care provided in the clinic.

Part of student-run free clinics
“It’s such a great tragedy to lose her at such a young age – such a vibrant, dynamic person,” said Richard Usatine, M.D., the UT Health Science Center professor who developed a number of student-run free clinics in San Antonio, including the one that encompasses the dental clinic. “We all loved Talley. This clinic was her baby. It meant a lot to her.”
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The student-run free medical clinic opened at SAMMinistries in 2005, and the need for dental care quickly became apparent.

Great need for dental care among the poor
“That’s always one of the biggest needs,” said Dr. Usatine, assistant director of humanities education at the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the UT Health Science Center. “People living in poverty often don’t have health insurance, but they certainly don’t have dental insurance. The dental aspect of their overall health gets neglected.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dental clinic are (left to right) William Dodge, D.D.S., Dental School dean; Navarra R. Williams, M.B.A., president and CEO of SAMMinistries; Nita Wallace, Ph.D., recently retired interim dean of the School of Health Professions; Anthony Infante, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Talley Infante’s husband; and President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP.
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At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dental clinic are (left to right) William Dodge, D.D.S., Dental School dean; Navarra R. Williams, M.B.A., president and CEO of SAMMinistries; Nita Wallace, Ph.D., recently retired interim dean of the School of Health Professions; Anthony Infante, M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Talley Infante’s husband; and President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP. clear graphic

 

Anthony J. Infante, M.D., Ph.D., a pediatric allergist and immunologist at the Health Science Center, mentored students at the medical clinic, and before long his wife joined him to advise on dental hygiene.

“We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had a real dental clinic here?’” Dr. Usatine recalled. By fall 2007, they opened one.

Clinic begins with donation
At first, the one-room clinic had chairs donated by a dentist who was renovating his own office. But Dr. Talley Infante wanted more. “This is where Talley really took off,” Dr. Usatine said.

She wrote a grant to Methodist Healthcare Ministries and received $200,000 to equip the dental clinic. By its second year, the clinic expanded to a second room and had brand-new dental chairs, an X-ray machine, and autoclave to sterilize equipment and more. She also added the clinic into the curriculum for her dental hygiene students, so many of them had rotations there.

The dental clinic offers full cleanings for children and adults at SAMMinistries Transitional Living and Learning Center, and it has been a popular addition to the student-run free clinics.

Example of community coming together to serve
“Talley was and will always be an extraordinary example of how the community can partner — even lead — our effort to serve families who are in crisis,” said Navarra R. Williams, M.B.A., president and CEO of SAMMinistries. “When one worries about a place for their family to live, it is easy to cast off the care they need to give themselves. We are grateful for the big heart, effort and compassion of a woman like Talley. She will forever be a treasure to SAMMinistries and those we serve.”

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Dr. Talley Infante immigrated to the United States as a child and grew up in Flushing, N.Y., and Miami. She graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans with a certificate in dental hygiene and then spent more than a decade in private practice in the United States, Switzerland, France and South Africa. She returned and earned a master’s degree from Old Dominion University in Virginia.

She joined the faculty of the UT Health Science Center in 1994 and earned her doctorate from Capella University in 2012.

Interprofessional care and education
A champion of interprofessional education, Dr. Talley Infante — joined by her husband and Health Science Center faculty members Lark Ford, M.S.N., RN, and Norma Partida, D.D.S., M.P.H. — created the RESPECT project. (RESPECT is short for Realizing Enhanced Student Interprofessional Education through Clinical Teamwork.) The project creates four-person teams consisting of a medical, dental, dental hygiene and nursing student. The teams work together to design tailored health-promotion plans for families at SAMMinistries’ Transitional Living and Learning Center.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 28,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.

 
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