Dr. James Pride passes away

Aug. 13, 2004
He worked as a clinical dentist, assistant dean of the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, and founder of Pride Institute.

Dentistry mourns the passing of one of its great leaders, James R. Pride, DDS, who died on August 11, after a long bout with cancer. He was 68 years old. As a visionary thinker, innovator, and charismatic speaker, Dr. Pride leaves an indelible mark on his profession and on those who knew him. He worked as a clinical dentist, assistant dean of the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, and founder of Pride Institute, the practice management company where thousands of dentists have learned to apply his innovative teachings to achieve practice success. "We mourn the passing of our much-loved founder," says Amy Morgan, CEO of Pride Institute, "while we maintain his legacy and celebrate his life through our continued growth and success."

During his distinguished career, Dr. Pride introduced many innovations that have now become standard practices in dentistry, such as dual-entry operatories, 10-minute appointment scheduling, statistical benchmarks to quantitatively analyze the dental practice, and in general an unprecedented scientific approach to leadership and management which revolutionized every dental office system. He led the vanguard to prepare dentists financially for retirement and also created original concepts and agreements for practice transitions, which have aided dentists in making pivotal changes at the crossroads of their lives. His teachings resulted in hundreds of dentists and their families expressing their gratitude to him for enhancing their lives, both personally and professionally, and transforming their future.

In later years, he also realized one of his greatest visions and passions, that of bringing a thorough education in practice management to dental students. The curriculum he inspired is now being taught in three universities, with more in the pipeline.

Dr. Pride was an untiring crusader for private-care dentistry. As a visionary, he fought against managed care dentistry and was a co-founder of the Summit Group, which addressed the many issues challenging private dentistry. He successfully introduced his entrepreneurial concepts to Pride Scandinavia, a group of dentists whom he mentored in establishing thriving private-care practices as an alternative to the socialized medicine of their countries. He was also a co-founder of the Alliance of Dental Reimbursement Programs.

He applied his leadership methods at Pride Institute, where he earned the respect and admiration of his loyal staff of consultants, trainers, and affiliates. His teachings have been widely disseminated to dentists through four major volumes published by Pride Institute, through his popular leadership seminar and numerous other courses and curricula offered by the Institute, and through the many articles he wrote and the newsletters he published. The institute that bears his name, which he founded 28 years ago, continues to expand its programs, serving dentists and the profession through its intensive management courses, seminars, educational materials, transitions division, university curricula, and other work.

As another example of his prodigious feats, Dr. Pride purchased land on the rocky hillside of St. Helena, California and transformed it into a hugely successful, award-winning winery bearing the label Pride Mountain Vineyards. When his Merlot was selected to be served at the dinner marking the 50th anniversary of NATO, the largest gathering of heads of state in 30 years at the White House, he quipped that the president of France probably wanted to taste a good red wine.

Dr. Pride was a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, and the Omega Kappa Upsilon Honorary Society. He also received the Chairman's Award from the American Dental Trade Association. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, their two children, Suzanne Pride Bryan and Steven Pride, and four grandchildren.

In his honor, the Dr. James R. Pride Endowed Chair in Dental Practice has been established at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. Anyone wanting to contribute may do so with a donation made payable to the UOP School of Dentistry, 2155 Webster St., San Francisco, CA 94115.