Margo Y. Melchor, RDH, MEd, EdD, is the director of community outreach and an associate professor at the UTHealth School of Dentistry (UTSD), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. While teaching at UTSD, she served as the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association advisor for 10 years. In addition, years ago, Melchor began her role as the faculty advisor for the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA) which is composed of dental and dental hygiene students, and promotes team dentistry and inclusivity. Serving as the faculty advisor of the HSDA led to active membership within the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA) and her serving as president from 2011 to 2012. Now as a HDA past president, Melchor sits on the organization’s Board of Directors. She is also a founding member of the Greater Houston Hispanic Dental Association, serving as president in 2007.
Melchor maintains a busy schedule, as she also serves as a board member for the following: Texas State Board of Dental Examiners; Sesame Street Workshop Educational Outreach Oral Health Initiatives Program; Colgate-Palmolive Partner’s Board, which is a global group of oral health scientists and academicians; and San Jose Clinic, a ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston that provides quality health care and education to those with limited access to such services in an environment that respects the dignity of each person.
Supporting the needs of the underserved is another passion, and Melchor works with the UTSD Office of Development to obtain funding to support efforts to improve access to underserved populations, via special events, mobile dental van efforts, and community partnerships. Lastly, Melchor has been awarded with local and national honors for her outreach and leadership.
You were appointed to the Texas State Dental Board. Discuss briefly what this entails and why this is important for dental hygienists.
The mission of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSDBE) is to protect the public’s health and safety and promote high-quality and safe dental care by providing enforcement, licensing, peer assistance, and related information services to licensees and their patients. Last November, I was proudly appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as one of the three reputable registered dental hygienist members who reside in this great state and have been actively engaged in the practice of dental hygiene for at least 5 years. In my case, it’s actually 26 years of experience in private practice, education, and administration.
For a dental hygienist, being named a TSDBE member is a great honor! This role provides the opportunity to collaborate with six dentists and two public members who review, revise, and/or set forth rules and regulations to achieve and promote the highest standards of patient care and professional conduct.
Board members also preside in informal settlement conference hearings. This experience requires great review and understanding of documents presented in addition to testimony, so you are able to decipher the appropriate actions and/or measures to ensure the dental welfare of the citizens of Texas. This duty reminds me of how I proudly recited the dental hygiene oath at my graduation from dental hygiene school more than 25 years ago by upholding my personal and professional commitment to improve the oral health of the public and never lower the standards of care. Therefore, this honorary position provides me the opportunity to continue that pride I felt on May 25, 1991.