A pair of donations will enable the Hunt School of Dental Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso to fund a pair of dental suites at the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic.
Ethos Financial, a financial planning firm based in El Paso, has provided $25,000 to equip a dental operatory suite that will enable students to learn proper techniques, treatments, and sensitivities for the oral healthcare of special needs patients.
Also, Paul Ro, DDS, and his wife Marina Monsisvais have provided a generous financial gift to the Dental Dean’s Excellence Fund that will be used to equip a dental suite in the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic as well.
The special needs suite will be one of only two in the region, both located at the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic thanks to the generosity of private donations. It will be named for Ethos Financial, whose gift also will support student scholarships, specialized equipment, and patient care.
The suite funded by Ro and Monsisvais will be named Rosisvais, a combination of their last names and a name they’re known by with friends and family. Their donation also will support scholarships, specialized equipment, and patient care.
“Every individual deserves access to quality care,” said Inaam H. Ziyadeh, president of Ethos Financial.
“I believe the most vulnerable in our community are often the most overlooked, and when I learned of the opportunity to help facilitate a place for care, I jumped. It’s so important to help improve critical resources for those who otherwise struggle to access the services that the new clinic will provide,” Ziyadeh said.
Patients with special needs include those who due to physical, medical, developmental, or cognitive conditions such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, down syndrome, and spinal cord injuries require special consideration when receiving dental treatment.
“Caring for a patient with special needs takes compassion and understanding,” said Richard Black, DDS, MS, dean of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine.
“This gift is a constant reminder that our business community believes in our mission to grow our own, the next generation of dentists who have a strong commitment and appreciation for our culturally diverse region and the unique needs of patients they serve,” Black said.
Scheduled to open in summer 2021, the clinic will give the Hunt School of Dental Medicine students real-world experience under close faculty supervision, the school said, while providing much needed care for the community. Its mission is to improve access to oral healthcare in the community, and it will offer reduced-cost dental care to the public.
“El Paso is a city that has many underserved areas. I believe that the new dental school will give care for our entire region regardless of a patient’s financial means or special needs,” Ziyadeh said.
“TTUHSC El Paso has already provided our community with so many wonderful healthcare professionals, from the medical school to the nursing school. The addition of the dental school only shows that there’s so much more growth to come. The opportunities it will bring to our community our endless,” Ziyadeh said.
“After graduation, I wanted to work in an underserved area,” said Ro, who helped interview and screen students for the dental school’s inaugural class and was on the curriculum and accreditation committee. He graduated from the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in 1999 and moved to El Paso that year.
“The El Paso region fit the bill, and many dental clinics in the area qualified for a student loan repayment program. It was a real win-win. Once I got here, I fell in love with the Borderland and made it my home,” Ro said.
Ro and Monsisvais, who is founder and CEO of Barracuda Public Relations, have long been some of El Paso’s biggest advocates, the school said.
“Marina and I are for anything that brings growth and improvement to our city, and the Hunt School of Dental Medicine is an exciting addition to El Paso,” said Ro. “The students will also be future colleagues, so it will be great to introduce them to our dental community.”
Monsisvais thinks the dental school is a great gift to the community.
“We believe that the growth and prosperity of our city depends on creating professionals and providing them a place to live and work. El Paso is primed for this,” said Monsisvais.
“We have a great need for dental professionals in our community, and we believe the dental school is a crucial driver in educating dentists who will fall in love with our community and its people and choose to practice here,” she said.
“If they decide not to stay here, it’s still a win-win, as we’ll create advocates for our community who can share that we’re a great city with an excellent health sciences center,” she said.
“It’s important for students to get as much clinical experience as possible while in school. Hunt School of Dental Medicine students will see patients starting their first semester,” Ro said.
“When I was in dental school, we didn’t start seeing patients until the second year, and experience was minimal, which is generally the norm for dental schools. Students here will have plenty of clinical experience above the norm before they graduate,” Ro said.
“It’s rewarding to play a small role in establishing a dental school in our city,” said Monsisvais. “I live vicariously through Paul, as he’s had the tremendous opportunity to interview some of our prospective students. I can’t wait to meet them and show them all the great food, great music, and places El Paso has to offer.”
When complete, the 38,000-square-foot clinic will be equipped with 130 treatment chairs and is expected to be the top dental care destination for the public as well as faculty, staff, students, and their families, the school said.