Gifts will fund dental suites, scholarships, equipment and patient care
Kemp Smith LLP, and Gene and Sherri Wolf have partnered with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to help establish two pediatric suites in the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic. The Kemp Smith law firm and the Wolfs each gifted $25,000 to the clinic, scheduled to open in the summer of 2021.
The gifts will be used to equip dental suites, which will be named after Kemp Smith and the Wolfs. The funds will also support scholarships, specialized equipment and patient care.
“As an El Paso native who’s raised our children in the Sun City, my family is honored to invest in initiatives that provide improved health care for the entire community,” said Gene Wolf, partner at Kemp Smith LLP and member of the TTUHSC El Paso President’s Development Council. “Giving back in this way not only ensures healthy futures for the children in our region, but creates learning experiences for students that otherwise would have to leave our community to attend dental school.”
The clinic will give Hunt School of Dental Medicine students experience caring for patients under the close supervision of faculty, while providing a much-needed service for the community. The clinic’s mission is to improve the accessibility of oral health care and will offer reduced-cost dental care to the public.
“Kemp Smith planted its roots in El Paso over a century ago, so we understand and believe in the power of encouraging growth in our community,” said C.B. Burns, partner at Kemp Smith LLP. “By partnering with TTUHSC El Paso and the Hunt School of Dental Medicine, we’re providing important educational opportunities for students who have a passion for health care and serving families across the Borderland.”
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, not only for the public, but for faculty, staff, students and their families.
“Children need to be seen as early as possible, so they learn the benefits of visiting the dentist and developing good oral health care habits that will last a lifetime,” said Richard C. Black, D.D.S., M.S. , dean of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine. “The dental suites are designed to give students hands-on experience in developing their dentistry expertise but also communicating in a team environment and educating families about preventative care.”
The generous gift comes just a few days before the American Dental Association’s (ADA) celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month in February. The month-long national health observance reinforces the importance of oral health in children and provides parents with tips to keep their child’s smile on track.
Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life, according to the ADA. By participating in the annual celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, members of the dental team, parents, teachers and others can help keep children’s smiles beautiful now and for years to come.
Lack of dental care is a public health concern that affects all residents of Texas. In children and adolescents in particular, the lack of dental upkeep impacts daily productivity and is linked to malnutrition, school absences and lower academic performance. When initial signs of oral health issues are not addressed in adolescents, other health-related conditions and complications can progress throughout adulthood.
The Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic is the clinical arm of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine, which will welcome its first class of students in July 2021. The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is the first dental school to open in Texas in over 50 years and the only in West Texas and the Paso del Norte region. In 2017, only 50% of El Paso residents visited a dentist. In El Paso County, there’s only one dentist for every 4,545 residents, compared to the national average of one dentist for every 1,639. TTUHSC El Paso’s mission is dedicated to addressing these disparities by educating the future of health care and providing world-class patient care.
Check out our photo gallery from the event: