Gift will be used to establish scholarship for local students
For Trellis Company, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on connecting people to education-to-employment pathways, it’s sometimes easier to bring the mountain to the student than the other way around. Solving the issue of bringing more dentists to El Paso is merely a case of training more El Pasoans to be dentists.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso recently announced a $10,000 donation from Trellis Company to the Hunt School of Dental Medicine for exactly that purpose. The gift will establish a scholarship to support the education of future dental professionals residing in the Paso del Norte region of West Texas and New Mexico.
"We’re grateful for Trellis Company’s generosity and support of our mission to educate and train the next generation of dental professionals," said Richard C. Black, D.D.S., M.S., dean of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine. "This scholarship will make a significant impact on the lives of local students and the patients they serve, as well as help to further our commitment to build a healthy community by providing high-quality dental care access for our Borderplex region."
Trellis Company’s gift will support local students pursuing a career in dentistry who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to working in underserved communities. Many of these future dental professionals are expected to provide care for residents of El Paso and surrounding areas.
"Trellis believes in investing in the future of our community and supporting education initiatives that make a lasting impact," said Renard U. Johnson, vice-chair of the Board of Directors for the Trellis Company. "Trellis is proud to partner with the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and provide this scholarship to help local students achieve their dreams of becoming dental professionals and serving the region they call home."
For over 40 years, Trellis Company has aided students and graduates by placing them on paths to success. This includes helping underserved students, institutions and communities transform themselves, their cultures and the societies in which they reside. Trellis Company provides research and consulting services to higher education institutions, while their Trellis Foundation provides institutional grants to foster social mobility.
Both Trellis Company and Trellis Foundation have long been involved helping our Borderplex region through generous financial contributions. In 2020, the Trellis Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the Hunt School of Nursing to provide stipends for students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The funds, matched dollar-for-dollar by the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Industry Partnership program and administered through Workforce Solutions Borderplex, came at a critical time during the pandemic when nursing students needed help to alleviate financial hardships.
Johnson, who also serves as president and CEO of Management and Engineering Technologies International Inc., played a lead role in advocating for the Trellis donation to the Hunt School of Dental Medicine.
The Trellis scholarship to the Hunt School of Dental Medicine will address a critical need for the region. Currently, El Paso has one-third fewer dentists per capita than other regions of the U.S. Having a dental school goes a long way toward bridging the gap; studies show that upward of 75% of dental school graduates remain in the area where they attended dental school.
The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is on track to graduate 40 dentists in 2025. However, these dental students are not waiting to use their skills. Under the mentoring eye of their professors, they are providing low-cost dental care to underserved communities in the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic, a 38,000-square-foot public dental clinic. When these students graduate, they will begin practicing with confidence and capability. The students have already experienced over 5,000 patient visits for screening and treatment, totaling more than 7,100 hours of clinical care.
Individuals and organizations wishing to contribute to the success of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and its mission of training the next generation of dental care professionals can visit www.give2tech.com/elpaso/contact, or call 915-215-5943.