5 Questions With ... Dr. Ryan Quock

Ryan Quock, D.D.S.
ADEA Chair of the Board
Distinguished Teaching Professor
University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

1.  Why did you decide to enter the field of academic dentistry?

It has always been in my heart to be an educator. Although my dental degree initially pointed me toward the more common pathway of practice, I purposely sought entry into the faculty ranks as soon as possible.

2.  What’s the biggest challenge you currently face on your job?

Honestly, the biggest challenge has been adapting to the paradigm shift that the pandemic has brought about in the delivery of dental education, while simultaneously accommodating equally impactful shifts in our children's primary schooling paradigm. That elusive, mystical “work-life” balance!

3.  If you could turn back time, what piece of advice would you give yourself as a dental student preparing for his career?

Looking back 15-20 years ago, I would advise myself that significant changes in the oral health landscape were occurring or already had occurred. There was a disconnect between the experiences that my mentors had in the previous generation, and my own experience upon graduating and entering the practice workforce. It was a different world, but neither I nor the colleagues around me realized or made mention of it.

4.  What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am a third-generation American, with Chinese heritage. My native tongue is English, which I spoke exclusively until middle school. Spanish is my second language, which I speak comfortably with a lot of questionable grammar. I took a few years of Mandarin Chinese in college, which is not the dialect of my ancestors, and can speak it on a “minimally surviving” basis. A semester or two of Latin and Korean were also taken, but don’t ask me to speak either!

5.  What are three things on your bucket list (things you want to accomplish or experience in your lifetime)? 

  • I would like to see a shift of educational and practice paradigm in oral health to emphasize the medical management of disease and prevention.
  • I would like to see those whom I’ve trained and mentored lead the way for the aforementioned paradigm change.
  • I’ve met so many outstanding colleagues in dental education who hail from a truly global community. From the wonderful things these colleagues tell me of their home countries, I wouldn’t mind visiting those countries!