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Dental clinic for homeless named for woman who made it happen

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013


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Dr. Taline Dadian Infante, a driving force behind the clinic,
died in April


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 will be named Thursday in honor of one of its founders, whose determined efforts ensured the clinic was funded and filled with state-of-the-art equipment.

Taline “Talley” Dadian Infante, Ed.D., RDH, led the Division of Dental Hygiene at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio until she died at age 56 of a brain tumor in April.

“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.”

The dedication of the Taline Dadian Infante Dental Clinic will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 13, at the SAMMinistries Transitional Living and Learning Center, 5922 Blanco Road, San Antonio.

The student-run free medical clinic opened at SAMMinistries in 2005, and the need for dental care quickly became apparent.

“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.”

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.
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 rotated through it.

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 clinic.

“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 Loyola University in New Orleans with a certificate in dental hygiene and then spent over a decade in private practice in the United States, Switzerland, France and South Africa. She returned and earned a master’s 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.

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. 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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For current news from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, please visit our news release website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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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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