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Dr. Ada Cooper

Maker interview details

Profile image of Dr. Ada Cooper
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  • September 23, 2016



  • Born: October 19, 1960
  • Birth Location: New York, New York


  • Favorite Color: Fall Colors
  • Favorite Food: Pizza
  • Favorite Time of Year: Fall

Favorite Quote

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?’"
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Dentist and lawyer Dr. Ada Cooper was born on October 19, 1960 in New York City to Dr. H.H. Cooper, Jr. and Edith Blue Cooper. Cooper graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1978, and earned her B.A. degree cum laude in political science at Amherst College in 1982. She was awarded the John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship in Law to attend Harvard Law School, graduating with her J.D. degree in 1985. Cooper completed her D.D.S. degree at New York University College of Dentistry in 2002.

Cooper began her legal career as a litigator at the law firm of Jenner & Block in 1985, and then worked as an associate in the litigation section of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in New York from 1986 to 1989. Cooper returned to Jenner & Block in 1989, and was later named a partner in 1992. After thirteen years in the legal profession, Cooper returned to school to study dentistry. Not long after graduating from the New York University College of Dentistry in 2002, Cooper was selected to be a national spokesperson and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA). Cooper appeared on the Dr. Oz Show, CNN, NBC Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. She was also quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Women’s Health magazine.

Cooper served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and Corporate Counsel Committee, as well as the United States District court, Northern District of Illinois, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She also served as a member of the NIDCR “PEARL” Protocol Review Committee, the Greater New York Dental Meeting Seminar Committee, the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the New York State Dental Association. In addition, she served as a member of the New York County Dental Society Legislative Committee and the New York State Dental Society Benefits Committee. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boys Club of New York, and serves on the board of directors of the New York County Dental Society. Cooper also received many awards and honors, including the American College of Dentists’ Outstanding Achievement Award, the New York University Key Pin Award for Outstanding Achievement, and induction into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Dental Society.

Dr. Ada Cooper was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 23, 2016.

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Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive