It is only through membership and volunteerism that our profession has come so far.
On March 28, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law HB308, establishing dental therapy. It was the culmination of many years of working with legislators, coalitions groups, the dental association and many others too numerous to mention. Special thanks to our lobbyist Debbie Maestas Traynor, hygienists throughout the state, and our bill sponsors Doreen Gallegos, Gail Armstrong, Benny Shendo, and Dennis Roch.
Preparation for a dental therapy program in New Mexico is in the very preliminary stages. Groundwork to meet accreditation standards, develop curriculum and assess funding is being explored.
The statute requires dental therapy educational programs in New Mexico to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Any institution of higher education can apply for the CODA accreditation. According to CODA, the curriculum must include at least three academic years of full time instruction or its equivalent with consideration given to dental hygienists for advanced standing; thus, the length of a dental therapy program could vary depending on how the institution structures its educational program. Dental therapists in New Mexico are required to be dental hygienists.
Dental hygienists are looking forward to the practicing as dental therapists in New Mexico. We believe it will greatly increase the capacity to treat and prevent dental disease in New Mexico especially among the underserved and most vulnerable populations in the state.
Legislative Chair: email@example.com