Our History

New Mexico Dental Association Foundation (NMDAF) works to increase oral health literacy in New Mexico, while also providing direct access to oral health care through several of our outreach programs.

Founded in 2005, our programs have served thousands of low-income individuals and families including veterans, elderly, disabled, and medically compromised New Mexicans.  We support a dynamic volunteer hub of dentists, labs, and other oral health professionals across the state who donate their time, energy, and resources so that eligible clients can get the dental treatment they need.   

Over the last 15 years we have provided

  • $10 million in free treatment by
  • 9,500 professional and community volunteers to
  • 10,000 clients

We are committed to serving the oral health needs of all New Mexicans through education and access to dental care because we believe…

  • Everyone has the right to a dental home.
  • A healthy mouth is foundational for a healthy life.
  • Oral health education improves overall health and leads to better oral health access and outcomes.

We also support upcoming dental professionals with mentoring, clinical observations, leadership training, and volunteer opportunities to help grow professional support networks, reduce the shortage of dental care providers, and increase our state’s ability to meet the treatment needs of all our residents. The collaboration between new students and experienced dentists enlivens the oral health field, strengthens the industry, and provides invaluable benefits to both providers and patients.


Why we do it

Our teeth are an integral part of our physical anatomy. Healthy teeth are vital for maintaining a sound facial structure, a nourishing diet, verbal communication skills, and for maintaining the significant social and emotional benefits of a healthy smile. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared that oral health is essential to general health and well-being in his 2020 report Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General

While the impact of poor oral health on our overall wellness is garnering more attention and research, the economic impacts of poor oral health are only beginning to emerge into the spotlight. Good oral health is a critical need.

Poor oral health impacts a person’s ability to secure work and hinders their upward mobility in a career.  Just over 40% of people admit that they believe a person is less educated and less capable if they have an unhealthy smile.  The NM Coalition for Literacy estimates that 46% of our state’s citizens are functionally illiterate.  Health (and oral health) literacy are higher than that.  More than half of these citizens live in poverty.

We aim to help low-income individuals and families join a network of care to increase overall access to oral healthcare and improve oral health outcomes. NMDAF works with counties and school districts to identify low-income families in need of oral health education and access to oral health care. We collaborate and coordinate with community partners who provide education. NMDAF then offers free denture clinics, cleanings, and a variety of other dental procedures in-office and clinic events for both adults and children using our network of volunteer dentists. We provide the opportunity for New Mexicans to find a dental home and build a future of health.

We want New Mexico to smile. Please join us in our efforts through volunteering or donating.

Federal Tax Form 990

Our Staff

Trish Rule, PMP
Executive Director

Trish Rule has a BBA with an emphasis in Production Operations Management and is the Interim Executive Director.  Her unique program management skillset provides the Foundation with an excellent match for the largest charitable event in the state. In addition, Trish brings a wealth of experience in accounting, and computer technical support.

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Amy Alexander, MPH
Program Support Specialist

Amy Alexander has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a master’s in Public Health. She is experienced in working with underserved populations and loves helping people be as healthy as possible. As a Program Support Specialist, Amy is responsible for the Emerging Leaders program, grant writing, and is the newsletter editor.

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Tara Dearholt
Client/Volunteer Services Specialist

Tara Dearholt is the Client/Volunteer Services Specialist for the Foundation. Her duties include scheduling and communicating with clients and volunteers, organizing meetings and events, and ordering and purchasing supplies.


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Cathy Casaus
Computer Systems Specialist

Cathy Casaus has a BBA with an emphasis in Business Computer Systems. Cathy brings to the Foundation an extensive background in computer system analysis and design. She continues to identify and implement software solutions to meet the needs of the foundation including some custom software applications. In addition, she does the bookkeeping, manages our social media, manages event registration systems, and works on many other special programs to support the Foundation.


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Paula Mondragon
DDS Referral Coordinator

Paula Mondragon is a Native New Mexican, who grew up in right here in Albuquerque.  She has a BLA with an emphasis in Psychology and Communication from the University of New Mexico. She is also an experienced medical worker who enjoys helping others live long healthy lives. As a DDS Referral coordinator, Paula is responsible for program and case management for the Donated Dental Service Program, Volunteer outreach and coordination, and community engagement with partners and clients across the state.


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Brenda Mendoza
DDS Referral Coordinator

Brenda Mendoza has an associate degree in Business Administration and a certificate for Community Health Care worker in the state of NM. She has always been eager to help others in her community. She loves meeting client’s needs and help them achieve their goals. As a DDS referral coordinator, she is responsible for program and case management for the Donated Dental Services program, volunteer outreach, community engagement with partners and coordination across the state.


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Megan David
Program Support Specialist

Megan David has an MA in sociology, and more than twenty years of experience in data and policy analysis and program management for non-profit and government agencies. As a Program Support Specialist, Megan is responsible for our Sales Force program and is working towards implementing our new programming in oral health literacy and whole health literacy.


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Our Board of Directors

Arthur Montoya, DDS
Chair, Board of Directors

Dr. Montoya is a pillar of service in his community of Los Alamos and across the state of New Mexico. We are pleased to have him serve as the new President of the Board of Directors. Art has practiced general dentistry in Los Alamos since 1990. He received his degrees from the University of New Mexico and the University of Missouri at Kansas City, School of Dentistry. Dr. Montoya has served on the Board of Directors at Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos Historical Society, and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce. He is currently on the Board of the New Mexico Special Olympics.

Zachary Adkins, DDS
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors

Dr. Adkins grew up in Albuquerque, NM, has degrees from the University of New Mexico and Creighton University in Omaha, NE where he graduated Cum Laude from the School of Dentistry in 2008. He enjoys continuing his education and he makes learning a priority. Dentistry is not just a career for Dr. Adkins, it is his passion. He feels strongly about educating his patients on proper oral health and believes wholeheartedly in giving back to his community. He understands the importance of living pain-free and enjoys watching his patients leave his office with confidence in their smile.

Keon Ahghar, DDS

Dr. Keon Ahghar is passionate about providing the best dental care to families in the Roswell area. Dr. Ahghar takes pride in his ability to listen and provide comprehensive, patient-centered care. Dr. Ahghar treats each patient with the philosophy of “What would I do if this were my mother, brother, or child?” He truly takes treating patients like family to heart. He serves on the Program Advisory Council for the organization and has been the Chair of the Roswell Mission of Mercy for the last two years. Dr. Ahghar is a native New Mexican and grew up in Albuquerque.


JenniferThompson, DDS
Board Member

Dr. Jennifer L. Thompson earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Duke University, and Biomedical Engineering degree, and attended the University Of North Carolina School of Dentistry, then joined her mother's practice in Farmington in 2008. She is currently serving as the New Mexico Dental Association President, has served as the San Juan County Mission of Mercy fundraising chair in September 2013, and is the Chair in 2021. She also participates in Donated Dental Services.


Alan Andrews, DDS
Board Member

Dr. Alan Andrews is a practicing General Dentist in Deming, New Mexico.  A proud native New Mexican, he grew up in Jal, attended New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs and finished his undergraduate work at Eastern New Mexico University. He attended UMKC Dental School. Dr. Andrews has served patients through the Foundation’s Donated Dental Services program for many years and has served within the Southwest District Dental Society in multiple officer capacities, has served as a delegate of the NMDA House of Delegates, and is a Fellow and Master with the Academy of General Dentistry.

Kimberly Martin, DMD
Board Member

Dr. Kimberly Martin is a general dentist that has served the Las Cruces area since 2002. Raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Martin is married with two children. She attended the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, receiving her bachelor’s in occupational therapy with High Honors in 1993, and graduated with her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Dentistry.  Dr. Martin was the Dental Chair and Co-Director of the 2010 Mission of Mercy in Las Cruces.


David Manzanares, DDS
Board Member

Dr. Manzanares is a General Dentist, practicing in the Albuquerque area. Originally from Espanola, he graduated from Pojoaque High School. Dr. Manzanares attended the University of New Mexico as a Regent's Scholar and graduated cum laude with a degree in Biochemistry. He then attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City for dental school, completing his studies in 2009. Dr. Manzanares holds a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry and is a graduate of the Dawson Academy and the Piper Education and Research Center.


New Mexico Foundation for Dental Health, Education & Research (dba. NM Dental Association Foundation)

PO Box 16854

Albuquerque, NM  87191

Office: (505) 298-7206

Fax: (505) 554-3836


All Content Copyright © 2021, New Mexico Foundation for Dental Health Research and Education, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.


All donations are tax-deductible.

EIN 74-3146433

The NMDAF is the charitable arm of the NMDA