Newswise — Margo Melchor, R.D.H., M.Ed., Ed.D., community outreach director for the School of Dentistry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), has been appointed to the Texas state board that regulates the practice of dentistry and dental hygiene. 

“Dr. Melchor’s appointment by Gov. Greg Abbott to the State Board of Dental Examiners reflects her incredible commitment to dentistry and the community. On local, state and national levels she has dedicated herself to helping others, and I know she will be an outstanding member of the board for the profession and the public,” said John Valenza, D.D.S., dean and The William N. Finnegan III Distinguished Professor in the Dental Sciences at UTHeallth School of Dentistry.

Melchor’s appointment, one of nine that was recently announced, runs through Feb. 1, 2021.

“Our mouth is the portal to our body’s health,” said Melchor, a 1991 graduate of the school’s dental hygiene program who has been a faculty member for 20 years. “If we don’t have oral health, we don’t have overall health.”

Melchor assists in leading the school’s efforts to help the uninsured or underserved obtain access to dental care.

The community outreach projects for the school included $53,764 worth of free dental pain relief for 145 Hurricane Harvey evacuees at the George R. Brown Convention Center and the NRG Stadium emergency shelters through the School of Dentistry’s mobile dental van. When the dental van resumed its normal schedule and had to leave the shelters, Melchor coordinated with the Urgent Care Department at the School of Dentistry to continue providing services for dental pain to evacuees.

Annual programs include the Give Vets A Smile project, which recently provided $35,000 worth of free services to approximately 70 veterans in conjunction with the Jane and Robert Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth.

Melchor is an associate professor in the Department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene at the School of Dentistry. In addition to dental hygiene clinical teaching, she educates students in the growing field of geriatric dentistry. “It is very gratifying when you witness the students’ educational experiences rise from novice to competent,” she said.

Melchor, a faculty advisor for the Hispanic Student Dental Association, is a past president of the Hispanic Dental Association, the Greater Houston Hispanic Dental Association and the Greater Houston Dental Hygienists’ Society.

She is a member of the Texas Dental Hygiene Educators’ Association, American Dental Education Association, Texas Oral Health Coalition and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Research Committee. She is a board member of the San Jose Clinic and the Colgate-Palmolive Partners Board.

Founded in 1905, the School of Dentistry was the state’s first dental school. Each year, about 100 dentists and 40 dental hygienists earn their degrees.

Other School of Dentistry alumni recently appointed to the board include Jorge Quirch, D.D.S., ’92, Lorie Jones, R.D.H., B.S.D.H., ’06, and David Tillman, D.D.S., ’90.