The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is pleased to announce Ralph A. Cooley, DDS, FAGD, of Houston, Texas, as a 2020 recipient for the Distinguished Service Award. Cooley was presented the award during the AGD Annual Meeting on October 21, held virtually due to COVID-19. Cooley was recognized for his ongoing local and national service and support of dentistry.
Cooley joined the AGD in 1984 and quickly began to take advantage of all the continuing education courses and other benefits offered by the Academy. Throughout the years Cooley has served in many capacities with his local constituent, the Texas AGD, and on the national level. Dr. Cooley has led the Texas AGD as president and served on the constituent’s board for 16 years. In 2009, he was recognized as Texas Dentist of the Year. He also received the Texas AGD Lifetime Achievement Award and lead the Jack T. Clark Foundation as the chairperson and board member for four years. He currently serves as the faculty sponsor and strong mentor for the Houston AGD Student Fellow Track Program, encouraging dental students in their pursuit of lifelong learning. He also serves locally on the PACE Sponsor Approval Committee in Texas.
“Anything I have been able to accomplish is because of others - God, family, friends, and colleagues. My goal is to share the life-long learning principles of the Academy of General Dentistry to the next generation of dentists, both as a mentor and as a coach.”
Cooley continues to make his imprint on the AGD through his current service on several national councils and committees. He is a delegate to the AGD House of Delegates, something he has done for the past 27 years. He represents the AGD on the executive committee of the Dental Quality Alliance (DQA) and serves as a representative on the Code Maintenance Committee (CMC), as well as the AGD Professional Relations Committee. Cooley has served on the AGD Foundation Committee, serving as the National Fun Run Auction Committee Chair. In addition, he was a National Trustee on the AGD Board of Trustees representing AGD’s region 18 for six years.
Currently, Cooley is the Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Services at UT Health School of Dentistry at Houston, where he has also served as both an associate and clinical assistant professor in the department of general practice and dental public health. He continues to serve in various capacities with the American Dental Association (ADA), as a delegate to the House of Delegates, and a commissioner on the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties/Certifying Boards (NCRDSCB). Cooley has also been a contributing author to ADA’s national publication, CDT : Coding Companion, the past three years.
Cooley enjoyed private practice in Conroe, Texas for 34 years before joining UTHealth School of Dentistry full time in 2014, and he continues to reside in the Conroe area.