Hispanic Heritage Month

TDA would like to pay tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month and acknowledges the historical significance and diversity in dentistry. Some of which are highlighted below:

Dr. Rene Rosas of El Paso was the first Latino president of the Texas Dental Association, elected by his peers for the 1983-1984 year.  
Dr. Rosas was born in 1932, to parents who were both born in Mexico. Dr. Rosa’s father was a railroad machinist, and his mother was a homemaker. Dr. Rosas was recruited by UT El Paso (which was then called Texas Western College) on a football scholarship. He then enlisted in the Naval Cadet Program in Pensacola, FL and later became a jet fighter pilot instructor in the Marine Corps. He was later honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1957 and returned to UT El Paso to graduate with a BA in Biological Science in 1958. There he met wis wife, Irma Gandara. In 1962, he graduated from dental school and opened his practice in El Paso. In 1963, Dr. Rosas joined TDA via the El Paso District Dental Society. He got involved in organized dentistry at the local and state level, and later went on to become TDA President in 1983-84. After selling his practice, Dr. Rosas dedicated himself to the Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe clinic, providing healthcare services to underserved patients.  
Dr. Rosas won the TDA Gold Medal Award in 2006, the highest award that TDA can bestow.  

In 2021, Dr. Cesar Sabates became the first Cuban-American president of the American Dental Association, and the first ADA president of Latino heritage.  
Dr. Sabates was born in Camaguey, Cuba. When he was 7, his family left Cuba for the United States, so his father could attend Dental School. Dr. Sabates initially studied electrical engineering, but eventually switched to dentistry. Dr. Sabates received his dental degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. He has also been president of the Florida Dental Association and South Florida District Dental Association. 


In 2017, Dr. Ensy Atarod became the first Latina president of the Capital Area Dental Society.  

Dr. Atarod cites the inclusivity of the CADS community as her reason for her involvement and leadership. Dr. Atarod told us for a 2017 TDA Toda article, “The greatest influencing factor that lead me to being involved in CADS is the culture of the local Austin dental society. It is a culture of being inclusive. I remember attending my first meeting and not knowing anyone. So many people talked to me that I felt welcomed and immediately like I was part of society." Dr. Atarod draws inspiration from her mother, who was the only woman in her engineering class at University of Texas, and went on to become an oil derrick designer, in a male-dominated field. Dr. Atarod works as a full-time public health dentist for the St. David's Foundation. She has served in both the ADA and TDA House of Delegates, as president of Capital Area Dental Society, and TDA and ADA Membership committees, and was awarded Dentist of the Year by Capital Area Dental Society in 2018. She is a graduate of the ADA's Institute for Diversity in Leadership. Dr. Atarod also volunteers at Texas Mission of Mercy events, and has participated in medical mission trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Uganda, South Africa and Swaziland.

Who inspires you?

"My DAD, owner of San Antonio Dental Lab. I grew up working in the lab & ending up attending Dental School. Started my practice in the Old Medical Arts Bldg & moved my Dad's lab next to us. We had many years together taking care of patients!!!

My Dad came from Muzquiz, Coahuila at the age of 3. Started working at Salinas Dental Lab at 16 years old. He then opened his own lab San Antonio Dental Laboratory in 1947 till 1986. He was always complementary of how we were able to work together treating patients for many years."

—Andrew de la Garza DDS
Garza Garza_Certs 

Who inspires you?

"Christina Meiners inspires me everyday. She makes me want to be a better dentist and volunteer. She lets me know it’s okay to push boundaries."

- Susan Putthoff, DDS

Who inspires you?

"Roger Macias Jr is a great friend and mentor! Grateful for all his leadership and guidance through this profession."

-Taylor Cook, DDS