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NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles Receives Grant from BCBSNM to Provide Access to Oral Health Care Services in Southern Doña Ana County

New Mexico State University (NMSU)- Doña Ana Community College (DACC) announced that the NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles program received a $15,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) through its Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® initiative. The NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles program’s commitment to improving the oral health of children and families in southern New Mexico aligns with the vision of BCBSNM’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant program to help improve the health of children and their families in local communities.

Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles program and the NMSU-DACC Dental Hygiene Program are opened a new satellite clinic at the DACC Gadsden campus in Oct. 2020. The clinic provides dental hygiene services to DACC students as well as pregnant women and children from the neighboring communities of Anthony, Chaparral and Sunland Park in the southern part of Doña Ana County. Students of the NMSU-DACC Dental Hygiene Program will be providing most of the services at the DACC Gadsden campus under faculty supervision.

“Our students are very well prepared to provide an array of dental hygiene services to communities in need,” said Elmer Gonzalez, director of the NMSU-DACC Dental Hygiene Program. “Our focus is to give our students ample experiences in dental public health and to encourage them to work with at risk communities once they graduate and become licensed professionals. These experiences also provide students with enhanced clinical skills and a better view of oral health disparities in New Mexico as they help patients obtain and maintain optimum oral health.” 

“We are proud to support the NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles program, which will expand access to much needed oral health services to children and families in Doña Ana County,” said Janice Torrez, incoming BCBSNM president. “Access to these critical services provided by the NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles program and NMSU-DACC Dental Hygiene Program is vital to improving health and wellness in some of our most vulnerable southern New Mexico communities.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a signature program of BCBSNM. The initiative focuses on engaging children and their families in understanding the importance of nutritious food, raising the level of physical activity, better managing chronic conditions and promoting safe environments. Likewise, the NMSU Foundation-Happy Smiles program works to engage children and families in understanding the importance of optimum, healthy oral health habits, nutrition as it is related to oral health, and promoting the importance oral health has on overall health.

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About NMSU-Dona Ana Community College, Dental Hygiene Program
The NMSU-Dona Ana Community College, Dental Hygiene Program was founded in 2007. The program is the only dental hygiene program in the NMSU system. The program’s vision is to develop and implement a premier educational program incorporating creative, scholarly activity, outstanding service and continuing professional development for students, faculty, staff and the community we serve. The program provides high quality education to students and dental hygiene services to the community at large.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico is one of the largest commercial health insurers in New Mexico with more than 630,000 New Mexicans carrying a Blue Cross and Blue Shield card. Since 1940, BCBSNM has been committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. BCBSNM is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, the country’s largest customer-owned health insurer. Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

 



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