Division of Dental Services to Train New Dentists

The UNM School of Medicine Division of Dental Services has been awarded a three-year $880,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration to create and expand the dental residency program at UNM.

 "Although there is not a dental school in New Mexico, creation of the residency program is an avenue to bring recent graduates to our state," said Stephen Beetstra, DDS, chief and assistant professor for the UNM Division of Dental Services. "This is extremely important to the health of New Mexicans because there is a strong correlation between oral health and overall health. "

Furthermore, it will impact the state in two ways.  First, it will significantly increase capacity at the UNM clinics. UNM dental clinics care for underserved populations, which means more children, developmentally disabled, and medically compromised patients will receive much needed care.  Secondly, this grant will allow UNM to expand its dental residency over the next three years to rural areas of the state where the dentist shortage is most critical, Beetstra asserts.

The dental residency program is in its first year and although it had more than 20 applicants the program was only able to accommodate five dental school graduates this year. The Health Resources and Service Administration directs programs that improve the Nation's health by expanding access to comprehensive, quality health care for all Americans.

Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322

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