Skip Navigation
Multi Photo Banner
About The School Header Image

Hispanic Dental Association Meeting Yields Big for UTSD

Friday, December 6, 2013 - 10:23am

Current UTSD students and faculty sponsor Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd, met up with 2013 graduates at the Hispanic Dental Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting. From left are dental student Ximena Camacho, Melissa Uriegas, DDS ’13; Melchor; dental student and HDA Student Trustee Martha Orozco;   Alexandra Aponte, DDS ’13; and Cynthia Corral, DDS ‘13.

Current UTSD students and faculty sponsor Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd, met up with 2013 graduates at the Hispanic Dental Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting. From left are dental student Ximena Camacho, Melissa Uriegas, DDS ’13; Melchor; dental student and HDA Student Trustee Martha Orozco; Alexandra Aponte, DDS ’13; and Cynthia Corral, DDS ‘13.

Nine students from The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston traveled to Boston earlier this fall to attend the Hispanic Dental Association’s 23rd Annual Meeting, where two UTSD students received scholarships and a UTSD graduate became the HDA’s new president — the second alum to hold that post in recent years.

Class of 2004 graduate Tyrone Rodriguez, DDS, is the new HDA president for 2014. In 2011, UTSD Community Outreach Director, Clinical Associate Professor and Alumna Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd served as HDA president. While a student at the School of Dentistry, Rodriguez was president of the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA) chapter. He currently practices dentistry in Yakima, Wash.

During the Hispanic Dental Awards Luncheon, two UTSD students were recognized as 2013 Scholarship Recipients. Alejandro Barrera was awarded the Juan D. Villarreal Scholarship, the HDA Foundation Scholarship and the Crest Oral-B Scholarship. Antonio Quintanilla was awarded the Crest Oral-B Scholarship.  

The UTSD Office of Student Affairs made it possible for HDA Student Trustee Martha Orozco, HSDA President Paola Salazar and HSDA Dental Hygiene Vice President Jeanette Salazar to attend the annual meeting. Orozco and Paola Salazar are dental students. Jeannette Salazar is a senior dental hygiene student. Also attending were HSDA Dental Vice President Lourdes Tavarez, HSDA representative Yarima Newlin, Jennifer Hobock, Kalyopy Emmanouil, Duyen Ho and Ximena Camacho – all of whom are dental students.

The theme for this year’s meeting was “Honoring Our Legacy … Celebrating Our Future.” A full schedule of topics, speakers and events featuring clinicians from across different professions provided a variety of workshops and lectures. At an HSDA Student Session, chapters gave presentations on service, education, advocacy and leadership, discussing how they apply to the oral health professions. 

Melchor led a workshop entitled “HDA Faculty Advisors:  Our Role with HSDA.”  It was a follow-up to a 2012 workshop she started for HSDA faculty advisors, offering them guidance and support while promoting growth of HDA student chapters. 

Melchor was delighted to see 2013 UTSD graduates at the meeting, including Dr. Cynthia Corral (practicing in Houston), Dr. Melissa Uriegas (doing a residency in New Jersey) and Dr. Alexandra Aponte, who is doing a residency in Washington, D.C.  “It was inspiring to see their commitment to the HDA continuing even after serving as HSDA officers during their education at UTSD,” Melchor said.

UTSD students who attended the annual meeting said they found it informative.

“I got ideas for future events we can plan for our members here in Houston,” Tavares said. “It also encouraged me to start thinking about how I’ll manage my future practice. I’m really happy to be part of the HSDA Houston Chapter.”

Jeanette Salazar said it was “fulfilling to see members come together from different parts of the U.S. to share different ideas and ways to make the Hispanic Dental Association stronger.”