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San Antonio and South Texas Programs

There are numerous opportunities in the San Antonio and South Texas area for dental students to participate in outreach activities as follows:

Heroes for the Homeless Selective - for senior dental students. During the academic year, senior dental students have the option to rotate to the SAMM Ministries shelter (Wednesday evenings in conjunction with Dental Hygiene) to provide primary dental care services for homeless and underserved patients served by the sites. Heroes for the Homeless Selective SELC 8221 is a two semester course selective. The course will provide senior dental students with didactic, clinical, and community experiences relevant to the homeless population in San Antonio. The students will develop cultural competency skills to understand the homeless and the oral health needs of the population.

The Christian Medical/Dental Society sponsors weekend Mission trips (6-8) to the US/Mexican border region during the academic year.  Students at all levels sign up for this program with the Christian Medical/Dental Association which schedules the weekend trips.   Usually, there are about 12 dental students who sign up for each trip.  The students travel to designated border communities on the US side of the border.  The Christian Medical/Dental Association takes the portable dental equipment and stations it at a church (Del Rio, Eagle Pass, or Laredo).  The dental students are supervised by dental school faculty and private practitioners appointed as adjunct facultys.   Basic primary, preventive, and emergency dental care is provided through this program.

South Texas clinical rotation - Each summer, the Dental School (through the South Texas Border Initiative) offers a selective outreach program (2 weeks) which assigns students in teams (DS I’s, II’s, & III’s) to affiliated clinics in South Texas (Brownsville, Harlingen, Raymondville, Laredo, & Eagle Pass).  Dental students provide dental care to patients under the supervision of adjunct faculty at the designated affiliated clinic sites.  Housing is provided by AHEC.  Students receive elective credit.

Preventive Dentistry Program - for rising sophomore dental students.  During the summer, dental students rotate to Mercy Ministries of Laredo to participate in a preventive dentistry outreach selective which requires the students to work in the colonias of Laredo/Webb  County.  Students work with other organizations, health professionals and colonia residents to develop educational programs focusing on preventing dental disease and raising the level of awareness of the importance of oral health to general health.  Students receive elective credit. Housing is provided by AHEC.

The Colonia Mobile Dental Van Training Program – Selective for rising senior dental students.  Students and faculty rotate to Laredo for a 2 week period in the summer provide diagnostic, preventive and primary dental care services for Laredo/Webb County area colonia residents without a designated dental home.   Students and faculty work as a team to provide dental care using dual alternative dental delivery systems (Mobile van and portable dental equipment). Departments sponsor: Comprehensive Dentistry.

Webb County Colonias

Click on the map for an enlarged version.


A Community Service Selective – was established several years ago when dental students submitted a proposal to the Curriculum Committee to create a vehicle by which students could interact with the local community by participating in such projects as Habitat for Humanity (building homes for the poor), United Way’s Days of Caring/Sharing, Paint Your Heart Out (painting homes for the poor elderly) sponsored by the San Antonio Business Volunteer Council, Christmas Under the Bridge (for the homeless); Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner and the HEB Christmas Dinner (feeding the poor); KLRN TV (phone bank for public television); Big Brother/Big Sister program – working with youth; etc.