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First Indian dentist recruits more into medical field

George Blue Spruce (Ohkay Owingeh/Laguna), the nation's first American Indian dentist, has dedicated his life to making sure he won't be the last.

Blue Spruce became a dentist in 1956. He recruited the second Indian dentist and "I haven't stopped recruiting since then," he told The Arizona Republic. "Now we have about 145 American Indian dentists."

As an assistant dean at A.T. Still University in Arizona, Blue Spruce has helped graduate eight Indian dental students. Twelve more are on their way to the medical field.

"He goes everywhere, to conferences, to schools, and his message to young people is that 'you can do this, and you are needed,' " Carol Grant, Still's director of American Indian Health Professions, told the paper. "Dr. Blue Spruce is a very humble, quiet man, but when he speaks, he does so with authority and people listen."

A.T. Still has more Indian dentists in training than any other school in the country.

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