The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is pleased to announce that Pennsylvania dentist, Thomas A. Howley, Jr., DDS, MAGD, is the 2022 recipient of the distinguished Albert L. Borish Award. Howley was presented the award during AGD’s Annual Meeting held November 13, 2022, in Chicago. Howley has overcome significant physical challenges to continue to serve the dental community through volunteer positions and offices on the local, state, national and international levels.
Named in honor of an AGD leader and faculty member of Temple University Dental School, the Albert L. Borish Award honors an individual who has demonstrated innovation, leadership, and dedication to the advancement of dentistry and has made positive changes for the benefit of the profession and dental health of the public.
Howley showed immense fortitude and perseverance in his dedication to advancing the profession of general dentistry. Following two serious automobile accidents in 1997 and 2000, Howley was forced to discontinue dental practice and was advised to also cease travel and involvement in dental organizations. Instead, he continued to serve AGD for more than two decades, including on the Board of Directors as well as nearly every committee, chair and officer role for the Pennsylvania AGD. He also served as AGD secretary and president (2004–2005), after which he served on the AGD Foundation Board for five years.
“It was important to remain engaged because it truly is very rewarding to help an organization, especially a volunteer organization, prosper and move forward,” said Howley. “It is rewarding to feel like you are making a meaningful impact on the group and on the profession. My advice would be to never give in, to never quit and to never let things beat you down. Everyone is subject to obstacles, challenges, or hardships. It isn’t about what you can no longer do — rather, it’s about finding what you can still do.”
After making the tough decision to retire from practicing dentistry, he shifted his focus and became immensely involved in promoting the profession, educating, mentoring dentists, and advocating on behalf of the profession. He holds membership with several dental organizations and continues to hold positions with several local and state organizations.
Outside of his career as a dentist, Howley developed the hobby of storm-chasing. As a child, he confesses to having been fascinated with storms, particularly tornadoes. For years, Howley says that he collected videos and books written about tornadoes. Following the release of the movie Twister, he began his research and found companies that took people out on tours. His initial role as a guest on the tours quickly evolved into Howley becoming a tour guide taking others to experience the thrill of storm chasing. Howley has seen roughly 300 tornados.