El Paso, Texas dental school names ADA trustee as dean
June 13, 2018
El Paso, Texas
— Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso announced June 12 it named Dr. Richard C. Black as dean of the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine, which is set to open in 2021.
Dr. Black, ADA 15th District trustee, has served as interim dean since 2017.
The Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine will be the first dental school to open in the state in nearly 50 years and the first to be located in West Texas and on the U.S.-Mexico border. The school is expected to admit about 25 students in its first year.
An alumnus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and an El Paso native, Dr. Black has been a leader in his community and organized dentistry, according to the news release.
Dr. Black has served as president of the El Paso Dental Society and Texas Dental Association. He also served on the ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs and received a presidential citation from the ADA president in 2010.
The anticipated opening of the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine hopes to address a shortage of dentists in the region. Currently, Texas' three dental schools are located in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas — all more than 500 miles away from El Paso. Together, the three schools graduate about 300 students a year, according to the news release. However, between 2007 and 2011, only 13 graduates or 1.25 percent took up practice in El Paso.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has classified El Paso County as a dental Health Professional Shortage Area. The county currently has about one dentist for every 5,000 residents, compared to the state average of one for every 2,760, according to a Texas Department of State Health Services study.