Dr. Torres’ work, service bring smiles to many

By Gloria Burns….


While operating a successful dental practice and working with the University of Florida dental residency program as an associate professor, Dr. Iris Torres Rivera volunteers countless hours serving her community and mentoring others.

For almost 20 years, Coral Gables dentist Dr. Torres has been the heart and soul of the May Van Sickle Children Dental Clinic, a facility that provides more than $150,000 in free dental care annually to children in need. Torres has served as the club’s Dental Clinic director on and off, mostly on, for all that time overseeing the hiring of staff, maintaining the clinic and even organizing parties for the disadvantaged children the clinic serves.

She has danced and built scenery with her husband of 35 years, Ralph, in the Cabaret shows the club produces to benefit the Dental Clinic. In fact, the couple’s two grown children, David and Daniel, also volunteered many hours for the clinic’s fundraisers learning the importance of giving back from their parents.

As for background, Torres’ arrival in South Florida came after first moving as a baby from her birthplace, Salinas, PR, to New Jersey. With a degree in hand from Temple University in Philadelphia, she pursued her dream of becoming a dentist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Her first job as a dentist was working for the Public Health Corps, a federal program serving indigent population. It was that job that brought her to Miami in 1983. In 1992 she started in private practice and three years later opened her own dental office in Coral Gables.

Over the years in South Florida, Torres has made a name for herself professionally as past president of the Greater Miami Dental Society and board member of the South Florida District Dental Association. Dedicated to training and mentoring new dentists, in the past Torres also has been involved in the Robert Morgan dental assistants program as well as the Lindsay Hopkins dental program. She participates in the Riviera Dental Study Club, a professional group that organizes lectures and learning opportunities, and also is a member of The Miami-Dade Dental Society.

For her community service comes in many forms. In fact, participants of SMARTRIDE, the 165-mile bike ride to raise funds for AIDS, are familiar with Torres. She is one of the Coral Gables Woman’s Club members who has helped man water stations over the years for this event dressed in costumes and traveling miles cover two different stops.

Whether it is supporting a charity walk, collecting food, toys and toiletries for those in need or simply helping her fellow club members with outreach efforts, Dr. Torres is a person one can always count on to pitch in and make a difference.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at gloria@communitynewspapers.com

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