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We are very proud of you, our alumni and students, as you work tirelessly to make lives better in our communities every day. We want to tell your stories and celebrate your successes while also introducing you to some of the next generation of health care leaders.

If you would like to share your story, please email alumni@uthscsa.edu.

M. Ray Scott, Jr., D.D.S. School of Dentistry, Class of 1983

What year did you graduate from UT Health San Antonio?

1983

What degree do you have?

Doctor of Dental Surgery

What is your specialty?

General Dentistry

What was the most valuable lesson – inside or outside the classroom – you have learned at UT Health SA?

I learned that dentistry is a relationship-people profession. People taking care of people.

What inspired you to want to become a dentist?

I grew up as a pharmacist’s kid and knew I wanted to be in health care. I made the decision way back in my sophomore year of high school that dentistry would be my chosen path. Crazy thing – I wasn’t even sure I knew what a dentist did every day.

What do you remember most vividly about your time at UT Health?

I graduated from a very rigorous program with some very talented clinicians who are superior individuals; many of whom are the leaders in dentistry today. Most importantly, I discovered that there were faculty—Drs. Marshall, Dale, Hicks, Dodge, Wellman and Leonard to name a few—who cared deeply about me and my development not just as a dentist but a person.

What was your most rewarding experience at the university?

My patients who I encountered along the way. They allowed me to care for them and to develop my skills and confidence to become an aspiring dentist.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

I really have three: 1) Graduation; 2) Returning 36 years later to deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2019; 3) Being named the Chief Dental Officer for American Dental Partners.

What is your current occupation and where? What’s a day on the job like for you?

I am the Chief Dental Officer of American Dental Partners. No two days are ever really the same, much like clinical practice. My daily focus is ensuring that our medically oriented oral health partnership continues to meet the needs preferences and values of our patients by striving for clinical excellence through professional development, quality assurance, and innovation.

What advice do you have for current students?

You have chosen a great profession; be true to it by putting the needs of the patient first, in everything you do, every single day.

Why do you give back to the university (time and/or donation)?

The answer is very easy: I wouldn’t be where I am today without the education I received at UT Health. It’s an obligation I have to give back to this great institution as it moves forward ever-evolving oral health as a mighty pillar of overall health care.


Jonathan D. Thompson School of Dentistry, Class of 2023

What is your anticipated graduation date from UT Health San Antonio?

Doctor of Dental Surgery, Class of 2023

As a student, which specialty(ies) interest you most?

I fell in love with general dentistry while volunteering in a community health care setting and observing how integral the role of a general dentistry is in the health care process. I am interested in becoming a general dentist, so I have the opportunity to welcome patients into dentistry while also helping them navigate the dental process. Growing up in a community of low socioeconomic status, I understand how overwhelming the health care process can be. I would like to be a part of the first line of contact for patients to help guide them through the process. 

Jonathan Thompson in the Dental LabWhat has been the most valuable lesson – inside or outside the classroom – you have learned at the UT Health?

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

I have learned that dentistry is a relationship-people profession. I learned to use my voice and platform to always speak up and speak out. I truly love that the School of Dentistry has made it its mission to lead the way when it comes to facing health care and moral issues taking place in the world. For example, while facing a pandemic, civil rights, and trouble with access to health care, the School of Dentistry has used its platform to support the students and the community. The School of Dentistry has truly instilled in its students the importance of having an active role in the community to help better the lives of the people around us, and that’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be here!

What inspired you to want to become a dentist?

As a kid I was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I grew up in a community of low socioeconomic status where I personally got to experience what is was like to have limited access to health care. My mother always taught me the importance of education.  My mother constantly reminded me that it is not about where we come from that defines us but what we choose to do with the opportunity before us that defines our lives.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and changed my life forever. My family moved to Killeen, Texas, where I finished high school and joined the U.S. Air Force. While in the Air Force, I was an industrial hygiene technician and was introduced to dentistry. I had the opportunity to shadow dentistry in the military and a community health care setting.

The opportunity to see patients come in with physical pain and at times low self-esteem due to dental-related health concerns truly reminded me of my own beginnings. However, while shadowing I got to see the effect access to health care had on someone’s physical and emotional well-being. Observing the effect dentist had in the community changed my life forever. For the first time, I felt I had found my place in society. 

What has been your most rewarding experience at the university thus far?

The most rewarding experience I’ve had in dental school was in my freshman year when I had the opportunity to help provide sealants for elementary school students from local San Antonio elementary schools. Sealant day allowed many children to receive preventative dental treatment they may not have otherwise received.  It felt amazing to be a part of expanding access to health care for those who have limited access. It truly is an amazing feeling to feel like we are helping to make the community a better place for everyone!

What advice do you have for incoming students?

I would tell incoming students to remember that they deserve to be here, and no matter what struggles they face to remember that they were chosen for a reason. The opportunity to serve patients as health care professionals is a privilege and relish every day you get to take another step toward the finish line.

How do you intend to give back and pay it forward for future students?

Dental school is very tough and can be difficult to navigate. I believe having a support system is integral to being successful in dental school. I hope to serve future students as a mentor to help them through the process. I believe having someone who has been through the process is invaluable to future students. 

Who is your favorite professor, mentor or staff member? And why?

Dr. Kay Malone is my faculty mentor and a dentist I truly admire. Dr.  Malone has been integral in my success at the School of Dentistry.  Whether it is spending time explaining tough concepts after class or just uplifting me when I’m going through a touch time, Dr. Malone is always there to help out.  Having someone to believe in me even when I forget to believe in myself and guide me through the dental school process has made all the difference in my life. I will be the first doctor in my family but thanks to Dr. Malone I can say I did not have to navigate the process alone. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

My time as class president has allowed me to truly get to know all my classmates and build lasting relationships with faculty. COVID-19 has affected every aspect of life including education, and I would like to thank all the dental school faculty for their efforts during these unprecedented times.

Furthermore, dental school students rely on each other to be successful, and my classmates go above and beyond to ensure we all achieve success. Serving as class president has given me the opportunity to pay the kindness forward that my classmates have demonstrated throughout dental school.  It truly is rewarding to be able to serve the people who have invested so much into the success of our class! I would like to express my deepest thanks to my classmates!

It’s your turn in the spotlight!

If you would like to nominate yourself or a fellow alumni or student to be featured in our next Spotlight, please email alumni@uthscsa.edu. Nominations should include: name, graduation year and degree, notable career achievements, current occupation.


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