Valenza Named Texas Dentist of the Year

Dentistry Today
Photo by Taylor LeBlanc.


Photo by Taylor LeBlanc.

The Texas Academy of General Dentistry (TAGD) has named John A. Valenza, DDS, its 2019 Texas Dentist of the Year. Valenza is a distinguished teaching professor and dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry (UTSD). 

Valenza received the award on September 20 during the Lone Star Dental Conference in Austin. He was among 15 dentists, including some specialists, from across the state nominated for the award.

Each year, TAGD selects on dentists as its Texas Dentist of the Year. Nominees are chosen by the Texas Dental Association’s district dental societies and components of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) across the state. 

Nominees may be from any specialty and do not have to be academy members. Valenza, a native of Houston and fellow of the AGD, was nominated both by the Greater Houston Dental Society and the Houston Academy of General Dentistry.

“I am so very humbled by the honor, but truly, it represents what my family, friends, and the students, faculty, and staff at UTSD have meant to me and countless others,” Valenza said.

Valenza attended the University of Texas at Austin before entering dental school, graduating in 1981. He gained experience in hospital dentistry, private practice, and clinical and didactic teaching before he was appointed UTSD dean in 2011, making him the first alumnus named dean since the school opened in 1905.  

Also, Valenza is a member of the University of Texas Kenneth I. Shine, MD Academy of Health Science Educators. He is the school’s first dean to use Twitter to share news and commentary as well.

TAGD also named Sarah Percy Tovar, DDS, of San Antonio its 2019 New Dentist of the Year. She was among 10 nominees for the award, which recognizes the outstanding achievements of general dentists who have graduated within the previous seven years.

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