Woody L. Hunt School Dental School
The Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine is the first dental school in West Texas. Its inaugural cohort of 40 students will start classes in July. | Corrie Boudreaux/El Paso Matters

Sculpture by Renowned El Paso Artist Revealed at the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic

The opening of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic could not have been done without the help of our community.

That teamwork is symbolized by an 8-foot sculpture – crafted by renowned El Paso artist Julio Sanchez De Alba – which now welcomes visitors to the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso officials revealed the work of art on Feb. 24 with the Texas Tech University System’s Board of Regents and members of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Board of Directors in attendance. The unveiling took place prior to the regents’ meeting on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.

Known locally and worldwide for his art, Sanchez De Alba brought together three red, green and blue human figures holding hands to create his sculpture. The design is a nod to the logo of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, a major supporter of the clinic and the newly opened Hunt School of Dental Medicine.

“For me, this design represents a diverse group of people working together. That’s what the clinic is doing for El Paso by training future dentists to help our community,” Sanchez De Alba said. “I love that concept, and it makes this sculpture more meaningful to me. I’m proud to bring it to life on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.”

With a steel frame and fiberglass exterior, Sanchez De Alba’s creation is built to survive El Paso’s weather and will welcome visitors for decades to come. The sculpture is a fitting representation of how TTUHSC El Paso, the Borderland community and partners like the Paso del Norte Health Foundation opened the first dental school in Texas in 50 years, as well as its state-of-the-art clinic.

“We are so proud to stand alongside our partners at TTUHSC El Paso for this special unveiling of a sculpture inspired by the Health Foundation’s logo and dedicated to the Power of Partnerships,” said Tracy J. Yellen, CEO for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “None of our work happens without the partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals committed to the health and quality of life in our region. The sculpture is a life-size depiction of the Health Foundation’s logo – which represents our unique border culture that unifies people in three states and two countries to improve health. It is special to us for many reasons – and even more so now as it stands here on the TTUHSC El Paso campus.”

The Paso del Norte Health Foundation has been a strong advocate for the dental school and clinic since the idea was first introduced. The foundation contributed $6 million in 2016 to help with the recruiting and hiring of world-class faculty members, the school’s accreditation process and development of the most innovative dental school curriculum in the country. It gave another $5 million in 2021 to assist with the initial operations of both the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and the Texas Tech Dental Oral Health Clinic. That financial commitment has helped TTUHSC El Paso build a clinic and dental school with the latest technology where highly sought after faculty with renowned expertise teach the next generation of dentists.

“The Hunt School of Dental Medicine is proud to be a partner in the health of our region with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation,” said Hunt School of Dental Medicine Dean Richard C. Black, D.D.S., M.S. “Without their early and continued support, it would not have been possible to open the doors of our clinic or the first Texas dental school in over 50 years.”

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