EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The Doña Ana Community College (DACC) Dental Hygiene Program is expanding its preventive services to reach a greater number of patients who have limited access to dental hygiene services.
The Dental Hygiene Program opened a new satellite clinic at the DACC Gadsden campus on Oct. 7. The clinic provides dental hygiene services to DACC students, as well as to pregnant women and children from the neighboring communities of Anthony, Chaparral and Sunland Park.
Students of the DACC Dental Hygiene Program will be providing most of the services at Gadsden under faculty supervision.
“Our students are very well prepared to provide an array of dental hygiene services to communities in need. One of our focus areas is to give our students ample experiences in dental public health and to encourage them to work with at-risk communities once they graduate and become licensed professionals,” said Elmer Gonzalez, Director of the Dental Hygiene Program. “These experiences also provide students with enhanced clinical skills and a better view of oral health disparities in New Mexico as they help patients obtain and maintain optimum oral health.”
Doña Ana County has New Mexico’s seventh-highest rate of people reporting they cannot get medical care due to cost (New Mexico Indicator-Based Information System, 2018).
In Sunland Park, 24.2% of residents lack health insurance — more than twice the percentage of New Mexicans overall (U.S. Census, 2019). Sunland Park’s poverty rate (38%) is almost twice New Mexico’s rate (19.7%).
Every student in the Gadsden Independent School District (which serves Sunland Park and other southern Doña Ana County communities) is considered to be in economically disadvantaged circumstances (New Mexico Public Education Department, 2018).