Dr. V. Ray Cordry:  A Life of Study and Help

By Sara Jane Richter, Ph. D.

Innovation, dedication, preparation, and experience combine to create the perfect individual to serve as a physician, and that description certainly fits Dr. V. Ray Cordry, a Hennessey native.  He graduated from Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1969.  Recalling that he never wished to pursue any career other than medicine, Dr. Cordry completed his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1975.  He then finished his residency in primary care and emergency room medicine.  He also includes rural medical care in his resume of abilities and certifications.  Dr. Cordry’s legacy in medicine is cemented by his being named Doctor of the Year for 2024 by the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association.

Happily serving his patients, he noted an underserved arena of medicine.  He saw a need for a fine doctor to work in psychiatry, so he studied and took a residency in child psychiatry at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita and received a fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Oklahoma City.  However, he determined that he could fill yet another need when he realized that mental health care sorely lacking in Oklahoma, and he sought to correct that oversight, which still plagues the state today.  For example, nearly 300,000 Oklahomans in the western portion of the state from I-40 to I-35 have no access to real mental health help.  Rural mental health issues have become a very real sub-genre of the behavioral health field.

He established professional offices in locations such as Alva, Kingfisher, Enid, Ardmore, Chickasha, Elk City, Watonga, and Lawton to work with patients who would have had to travel great distances to seek professional mental health care.  Throughout his career, Cordry found that his biggest challenge involved providing enough mental health care to Oklahomans, and he says that the parity of mental health availability in the state continues to be woefully inadequate.  

The most rewarding portion of his position is witnessing patients receive the care they need to improve their mental health and lives.  Cordry believes that the greatest strides in mental health care have come in the development of medications to help those with psychiatric issues.  He anticipates that the applications, numbers, and types of medications will only increase with further research and funding, making behavioral health care more accessible to more people across the state.  To set the tenor of the times, Cordry also became the first psychiatrist to offer telehealth medical appointments in Oklahoma.

Currently, Cordry works as the Outpatient Director of Red Rock Behavioral Health Services in Oklahoma City.  Red Rock serves approximately 5,000 patients and employs nearly 1,000 physicians, support personnel, and nurses, mostly schooled specifically for mental health issues.  Throughout his career, he has answered the call to serve in several medical fields, such as teaching psychiatry classes, directing behavioral health organizations and clinics, and teaching medicine to osteopathic and allopathic students.  He worked as director of the Meadowlake Hospital in Enid in the late 1980s and as the children’s unit’s director and also became an associate professor of psychiatry at the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Oklahoma State University. 

Cordry has had a tremendously successful professional life, but he enjoys some downtimewhen he can squeeze it into his busy schedule.  He enjoys spending time with his wife, five children, and four grandchildren.  Yard work makes him particularly happy, and he takes great pride in his pristine lawns.  He thinks that perhaps retirement is in the future—perhaps a year or even two years from now.  It’s hard to put the stethoscope away when it’s been a part of your life and uniform every day for nearly 50 years.  Dr. Cordry can comfortably rest on his laurels for serving the State of Oklahoma and helping bring healing, calm, and peace to hundreds of lives.  Hennessey can be very proud of a native son who seemingly never rests and always sets high standards for health care, for himself, and, most importantly, for his patients.

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