Edgar Martinez

Ashoka Fellow
Oaxaca, Mexico
Fellow Since 2013

Citation

This profile was prepared when Edgar Martinez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Edgar has taken the traditional dental clinic model and evolved it into a dental health authority in marginalized communities. His methodology expands the reach of a dental clinic through public education, broadening access, and the changing of the infrastructure in the dental sector. Through his in-school education program, Edgar intervenes in public education institutions to teach children, parents, and teachers about dental health. This approach changes dental health from a topic normally only accessible to those who can afford to see a dentist, to a common public school subject like history or math.

Through his efforts, Edgar is creating adults with healthy life-long dental habits in communities that may have never come to understand dental health in the first place. Edgar recognizes the need for occasional dental work to treat dental problems that prevention cannot fix, which is why he established a low-cost clinic model that offers top-quality dental work at accessible prices. Furthermore, Edgar is working within the dental profession to sensitize practitioners and change the perceptions of their role in society through university relations and professional development opportunities. After starting in the southern state of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest, Edgar’s success has led him to reproduce his work through a social franchise approach. Through Edgar’s integral strategy, dental health is changing from a luxury of the few to a necessity for all.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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