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American College of Dentists celebrates centennial anniversary

Organization continues to focus on advancing ethics, leadership in dentistry

January 14, 2020

By Mary Beth Versaci

ACD Anniversary Convocation
Recognition: Dr. Stephen Ralls, president of the American College of Dentists, congratulates a new fellow during the college’s 2019 convocation ceremony in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of American College of Dentists
As the American College of Dentists celebrates its 100th anniversary, its leaders are ready to continue their mission of advancing excellence, ethics, professionalism and leadership in dentistry.

ACD Anniversary
Dr. Ralls. Photo courtesy of American College of Dentists
"The ACD is a nonprofit professional organization that has long been recognized by its peers as the 'conscience of dentistry,' largely because of its focus on ethics and professionalism," said Dr. Stephen Ralls, president of the American College of Dentists. "The ACD, through a variety of projects and activities, has set, promulgated, promoted and advanced high standards designed to establish, then maintain, dentistry as one of the learned professions."

The college was founded on Aug. 20, 1920, by the president, president-elect and secretary of the National Dental Association –– now the American Dental Association –– and other dental leaders, making it the oldest major honorary organization for dentists. It will celebrate its centennial anniversary as part of its annual meeting Oct. 14-15 in Orlando, Florida.

The college offers various courses and resources related to ethics and leadership and invites dentists to join as fellows, recognizing their contributions to dentistry and society.

Image of American College of Dentists seal
100 years: The American College of Dentists is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Image courtesy of American College of Dentists
During its 100-year history, the college was instrumental in founding the American Association of Dental Editors and Journalists and developing related standards for professional publications, Dr. Ralls said. It pushed for the founding of a national dental examining board and initiated a student loan program.

In recent years, the college has organized four ethics summits and produced several white papers on ethics, he said. For the last 20 years, the college has distributed the Ethics Handbook for Dentists to dental students in the U.S. and Canada.

In conjunction with its anniversary, the college will release the American College of Dentists Ethics Report: New Professionalism, which is the culmination of more than four years of research on dental ethics, said Dr. Theresa Gonzales, executive director of the college. The report will provide extensive data and focus on defining issues and their causes rather than advancing solutions.

ACD Anniversary
Dr. Gonzales. Photo courtesy of American College of Dentists
"The college intends to partner with affiliate groups to advance ethics and professionalism in oral health care, and this seminal publication is designed to facilitate the necessary conversations," Dr. Gonzales said.

The college also plans to release Our First 100 Years –– the Narrative History of the American College of Dentists.

"We look forward to our next century of service and with the same enthusiasm and enduring optimism as our predecessors demonstrated in founding our organization for the expressed benefit of the profession and the public we serve," Dr. Gonzales said.

To learn more, visit the American College of Dentists website.