by Rosanne Fohn
The Dental School’s involvement with the Salinas Dental Clinic began in 2003 as a partnership with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas Inc. (MHM) and the city of San Antonio, which owns the Salinas Clinic. There, working under faculty supervision, dental students and pediatric dentistry residents provide dental services to children from all areas of San Antonio. "The need for oral health care is critical," said Kevin Donly, D.D.S., M.S., professor and chair of developmental dentistry.
The clinic is a centerpiece of the Dental School’s outreach education program. It gives students and residents the opportunity to provide comprehensive care, and to learn about the needs of underserved communities and different ways to deliver care. "In a typical year, we provide about five or six procedures per patient during 5,000 patient visits," Dr. Donly said. As a sustaining partner, MHM has contributed nearly $1.3 million to the clinic since 2002.
This clinic is just one of several long-term partnerships between the Dental School
Kevin C. Moriarty, MHM president and CEO, said, "We firmly believe in the partnership we’ve created with the UT Health Science Center Dental School. We have succeeded because we share the same mission of caring for the least-served in San Antonio and South Texas."
In all, MHM has provided more than $2.45 million to the Dental School’s outreach education programs in pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics, general dentistry, dental public health and prevention.
Beginning in 1998, MHM also was the driving force in educating the community about the value of fluoride in preventing cavities. As a result, voters approved adding fluoride to the city’s water supply.
In addition to the generous support provided to the Dental School, MHM has been a longtime champion of a multitude of programs throughout the UT Health Science Center including programs in the School of Medicine and School of Nursing.
Bill Dodge, D.D.S., dean ad interim of the Dental School, added, "It would not be an exaggeration to say that together, we have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, not only through direct patient care, but through all the health care professionals who have received top-notch training from programs and clinics supported by Methodist Healthcare Ministries."
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