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Rear Admiral Timothy Ricks

Chief Dental Officer

RADM Timothy L. Ricks, DMD, MPH, FICD has served as the Chief Professional Officer for the Dental Category since September 2018. As the Chief Professional Officer, RADM Ricks advises the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of oral health professionals. He is also responsible for overseeing the development of the second-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, and he chairs the USPHS Oral Health Coordinating Committee.

RADM Ricks began his public health service career in 1999 in the Indian Health Service (IHS) as Chief of the Basic Dental Satellite Unit at Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Subsequently, he served as Chief of the Complex Service Unit overseeing seven programs in Nevada and acting Service Unit Clinical/Medical Director. In 2006, Dr. Ricks was selected as the Area Dental Officer and Director of the Office of Public Health of the Nashville Area IHS, overseeing 27 dental programs and various health programs under the Office of Public Health. After serving as an acting Deputy Area Director for 18 months, Dr. Ricks became the Area Dental Officer for the Albuquerque Area IHS, overseeing an additional 23 programs and becoming the first Area Dental Officer to oversee two IHS Areas at the same time.

In 2016, RADM Ricks was selected as the Deputy Director of the IHS Division of Oral Health where he has numerous responsibilities. As the Continuing Dental Education (CDE) Coordinator, he oversees the creation and delivery of more than 250 education courses each year to dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants, resulting in over 30,000 CDE participant hours each year. As the Oral Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Consultant, he has carried out national public health initiatives including the IHS Early Childhood Caries Collaborative, the IHS Periodontal Treatment Initiative, the ongoing IHS national oral health surveillance program, and others.

RADM Ricks has been active in Corps activities throughout his career. He served in several roles on the Dental Professional Advisory Committee as a voting member, Chair of the Communications Workgroup and Operations Subcommittee, DePAC Vice Chair, DePAC Chair, and Chair of the Professional Advisory Committees group. During his time on DePAC, he created the Dental Category Newsletter, serving as editor for six years, and the Dental Category Listserv, which still exists today as the primary means of communication in the Category, and has served as administrator of the listserv since its creation in 2001. Prior to his selection as CPO, he served on the USPHS Oral Health Coordinating Committee, the SG Professional Advisory Committee, and on the steering committee for the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health.

RADM Ricks is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ernest Eugene Buell Junior Officer Award, the COA Junior Investigator Award, Ruth Lashley Mid-Career Officer Award; Jack D. Robertson Senior Officer Award; and the Herschel S. Horowitz Oral Health Research and Policy Award. He is one of four dentists to have received the IHS Toyo Shimizu Career Achievement Award, and he has received two national IHS Director’s Awards, an unprecedented four IHS Clinical Excellence Awards, three IHS Prevention Program of the Year Awards, 17 IHS Area awards, and over 25 Commissioned Corps individual and unit honor awards.

Dr. Ricks holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Delta State University, a Master of Public Health Degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, and received his dental degree from the University of Mississippi. He completed a dental public health residency with the Indian Health Service and is a board-certified Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health and a Fellow of the International College of Dentists.

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