San Antonio application pushes cultural representation in dental care across Texas


SAN ANTONIO – Lots of counties in South Texas desperately require dentists, exclusively dentists who symbolize the people they serve.

The Hispanic Heart for Excellence at UT Health San Antonio is working with federal funding to fill that need and it’s assisting equally learners and individuals.

As a young woman expanding up in Brownsville, Texas, Jessica De la Fuente did not have accessibility to plan dental care.

“A whole lot of the places I went to had been local community health and fitness facilities in Brownsville or my loved ones, we ended up likely to Mexico, crossing the border to get dental assistance,” De La Fuente explained.

When she last but not least was equipped to see a dentist frequently, her dream commenced.

“My most important objective ever given that starting my journey in acquiring to dental faculty and turning out to be a dentist was constantly to return back to my hometown neighborhood and give back again to the spot exactly where I was born and lifted,” De La Fuente explained.

Her qualifications, means and resolve built her a primary candidate for UT Well being San Antonio’s School of Dentistry.


A federal Wellbeing Sources and Solutions Administration grant makes it possible for the college to recruit college students from underserved locations who in the long run will go again and aid serve these communities.

“We recruit them, we mentor them, we guide them so they are prosperous applicants. At the time they are in dental university we want to be capable to offer the resources that they need to have to be effective and to graduate,” said Dr. Juanita Lozano-Pineda, the affiliate dean for External Affairs at the UT Health and fitness San Antonio School of Dentistry, and director of its Hispanic Centre of Excellence.

Lozano-Pineda’s personal encounter when she was younger is anything that pushes her to diversify the earth of dentistry.

“Back in the day, I was discouraged from likely to dental college by a dentist that I shadowed. And I felt that as a to start with-technology faculty attendee, what you need to have is another person to assistance your desire relatively than seeking to quit you,” she mentioned.


She claimed the grant presents issues like tutoring and entry to essential summertime courses.

These programs have led to an boost in underrepresented minority applicants and enrollees, who now comprise far more than 30% of the dental school’s college students.

Moreover, the school’s graduates now account for 33% of training dentists in underserved counties of South Texas.

“Patients, they feel a lot more relaxed when they see a person from their track record who speaks their native language, their culture. I’ve witnessed patients’ faces just mild up with joy when they see, ‘Oh you converse Spanish’. It’s kind of like a sigh of reduction, ‘You’re heading to pay attention to me. You’re likely to realize what I’m declaring,’” De La Fuente reported.

De La Fuente will quickly graduate and return household to perform, bringing with her the energy to inspire long run younger dentists to do the similar.

“Just this previous week I was in Laredo doing my pediatric rotation. A very little female requested there, ‘did you currently get through college?’ I reported, ‘Yeah I’m in dental college!’ She was inquiring me all these thoughts due to the fact it is not usually she sees someone like her in the dental career,” she said.


She hopes any person interested in becoming a dentist will contact UT Health San Antonio’s School of Dentistry for information and facts on the recruiting plans.

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All legal rights reserved.

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