Dr. Cynthia Hodge, co-founder and publisher of the Nashville PRIDE, Inc., returns to Nashville. Hodge retired from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine in 2010, but accepted a position at Meharry School of Dentistry in 2011. “I found I really did prefer retirement, so I retired again in 2012, for good this time!”
Hodge and Larry Davis started the PRIDE in 1988 as a means of sharing the positive news that occurs daily in African American communities. Since it’s first print day on Martin Luther King’s birthday more than 26 years ago, the PRIDE has not missed a week of publishing.
“I am very proud of our 100% record of weekly publishing; it says a lot about the conviction we had to bring timely, positive information, and events to our communities.”
Hodge came to Nashville in 1985 as the Director of the General Practice Residency Program at Meharry Medical College. In 1990, she opened her private dental office where she was one of the few dentists in the nation to provide compassionate care for HIV+ /AIDS patients. She received the US Secretary Of Health Award and a commendation of service award from Governor Ned McWhether for her care of HIV+/AIDS patients.
She left Nashville in 2001 to further her education at Harvard. After two years she completed her studies and received a Masters in Public Administration degree and a certificate in Minority Health Policy. Upon completing an externship as a research fellow at the US Health Resources and Services Administration, Hodge was recruited to the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine as Associate Dean for the newly created Office of Community and Outreach Programs. There she was responsible for increasing African American and other under-represented students in dentistry. This was her passion and one year she was responsible for the 28% diversity enrollment at UCONN.
“We really made a difference in the diversity of the classes. As well as providing opportunities for students that some had written off. But my students proved that they could perform competitively if given the support and tools they needed.”
After almost 35 years in dentistry, having served in clinical, academia, administration, public health, as well as policy positions, Hodge says she plans to devote most of her time to the NDA Foundation, which she is currently president, and mentoring.
“Mentoring is my most important job. It is a life long commitment and a role that allows me to give back.”
Additionally, she serves on a number of boards, think tank panels, and as professional development faculty, while continuing her love of international travel.
Hodge travels extensively. “I planned at a very young age to see as much of the world as possible. I am a global citizen.”
After visiting Europe a number of times and many African countries, in particularly South Africa, Hodge is now visiting Asia and recently returned from her birthday celebration in Dubai, UAE.
“I always planned to return home. I love Nashville and I’m happy I’m back.”