Carol Gomez Summerhays is a distinguished Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC graduate who blazed a trail in 2015, when she became the first Filipina-American and fourth woman president of the American Dental Association (ADA), the oldest and largest dental association in the world. In recognition of her historic accomplishment, Summerhays received a U.S. Congressional Record commendation.
Born into a longtime military family, Summerhays attended the Ostrow School on an Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship. After graduating, she served as a U.S. Navy Dental Corps lieutenant until 1982, when she opened her private practice in San Diego.
Throughout her career, Summerhays has dedicated herself to building diversity within the traditionally male-dominated field of dentistry. She has promoted the importance of volunteerism and improving oral health for the underserved (e.g., establishing a dental clinic in Ensenada, Mexico).
As ADA president, Summerhays advocated for including dental coverage in Medicare and helped define dentistry’s role in reducing opioid abuse.
Summerhays has served on the Ostrow School’s Board of Councilors since 2010, and has endowed two scholarships there. Her professional honors include the Pierre Fauchard Gold Medal and the American Association of Women Dentists Lucy Hobbs Award. In 2017, Summerhays received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her exceptional service to the United States.
Summerhays and her husband live in San Diego and have two sons.