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Dental Therapy: A Summary

What Is a Dental Therapist?

New Mexico doesn't have enough dentists. As a result, thousands of New Mexicans can't get dental care when they need it, where they live. This includes working families and children in rural, Tribal and underserved communities, as well as elders and persons with disabilities. At Health Action New Mexico, we believe that everyone should be able to get quality, affordable dental care in their own communities.

We need a solution - and we need it now.

Tell Your Legislators: Dental therapists will increase our access to dental care & create jobs in New Mexico


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To Sign the Petition, go to the following link:

Dental Therapists: A Community Solution for NM's Dental Health Crisis- 8 min. Video


Statewide Endorser List:

The following groups, organizations, communities and individuals have endorsed the Health Action New Mexico proposal for a “New Mexico Dental Therapist Program.”

Support for a New Mexico Dental Therapist Program

  • NM State Legislative Health & Human Services Committee – Endorsed dental therapist legislation (Nov.12)
  • AARP New Mexico
  • Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board (AAIHB)
  • Alta Mira Family Services, Inc.
  • Center for Civic Policy - Albuquerque, NM
  • Center for Native American Youth
  • Centro Savila
  • Community Dental Services, Inc.- ABQ
  • Concilio CDS, Inc. - Las Cruces, NM
  • Dental Care in Your Home, Inc.
  • Des Moines School Health Advisory Council - Des Moines, NM
  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council
  • Elev8 NM
  • El Pueblo Health Services- Bernalillo
  • Family Promise of ABQ
  • Interfaith Worker Justice
  • Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of New Mexico
  • Native American Professional Parent Resources, Inc. (NAPPR) – (Administers the Albuquerque Area Dental Support Center Dental Support Services which provides dental services to all Indian Health Service (IHS), Tribal, and Urban Dental Programs in New Mexico, Southern Colorado, and Texas)
  • Native Health Initiative
  • Navajo Nation- wants dental therapists in their community
  • Nizhoni Smiles Dental Clinic - Shiprock, NM
  • Northern New Mexico College - Espanola, NM
  • NM Alliance for Retired Americans
  • NM Alliance for School-Based Health Care
  • NM American Federation of Teachers Retirees
  • NM Center on Law & Poverty
  • NM Conference of Churches
  • NM Dental Hygienists' Association
  • NM Health Resources (NMHR)
  • NM Intertribal Community Services Council (NMITCC)
  • NM League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • NM Public Health Association (NMPHA) endorsed 2013 and 2011 NM legislation.
  • NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  • NM Telehealth Alliance (NMTHA)
  • NM Voices for Children
  • NM Youth Development, Inc. (YDI) Elev8NM
  • OLE NM
  • Place Matters
  • Pueblo of Kewa/Santo Domingo Health Board want dental therapists in their community
  • Pueblo of Tesuque
  • RESULTS - Santa Fe, NM
  • Rio Arriba Community Health Council
  • Rio Arriba County Health & Human Services - Espanola, NM
  • Santa Fe Community College
  • Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC)
  • Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) - Albuquerque, NM
  • Ten Southern Pueblo Governors Association
  • Tierra del Sol: affordable housing organization - Las Cruces, NM
  • Union County Health & Wellness Network want dental therapists in their community - Clayton, NM
  • Union County General Hospital
  • Union Country Health Alliance
  • Women's Intercultural Center - Anthony, NM
  • YDI- Elev8 (Youth Devlp. Inc.)

Individuals – New Mexico Residents

  • William H. Johnson, Jr. – Fmr. NM Cabinet Secretary for the Human Services Department – Albuquerque, NM
  • Alfredo Vigil, MD FAAP–Fmr. NM Cabinet Secretary for Health & Human Services - Taos, NM
  • Ronald J. Romero, DDS – Fmr. NM Dept. of Health Dental Director, Private practice dentist – Santa Fe, NM
  • Howard Rhoads, DDS – DeBaca Family Clinic - Fort Sumner, NM
  • Bob Giannini, DDS – Fmr. NM Dental Board Chair
  • Roger Ames, DDS — Albuquerque, NM
  • Bill Niendorff, DDS — Albuquerque, NM
  • Harris Silver, MD — Albuquerque, NM
  • William H. Wiese, MD, MPH, Ret. UNM faculty; Fmr. NM Dept. of Health Public Health Division Director
  • Santa Fe Community College health careers students – Santa Fe, NM
  • Christoph Newl, Laura Ellis, Melody Chesley, Kerry A. Kajdasz, Michelle Lott
  • Matsuda family – Santa Fe, NM
  • Judy Higuera, Senior Citizen – Las Vegas, NM
  • Kathryn C. Sherlock, Instructor, Northern New Mexico College – Santa Fe, NM
  • Nat Dean, Disabled Individual – Santa Fe, NM
  • Teresa Guerra, Director of Tres Manos Weaving Studio – San Migues, NM
  • Victoria Scott – Santa Fe, NM
  • Janet L. Krakow - Bernalillo, NM
  • Kenneth Searby, Advocate - Santa Fe, NM
  • Nancy Matthews
  • Betty Ann Arner, R.N.
  • Marilyn Bennett, Disability Advocate - Santa Fe, NM
  • David Follataedt
  • Helen Benoist
  • Sonia M. Lersten
  • JoAnn S. Track, Advocate - Taos, NM

*Separate from the NM effort, general support for mid-level dental provider or dental therapist model: National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), American Public Health Association (APHA, since 2005)