Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty and Staff

Murrah Represented Dental Specialty at National Meeting

Dr. Valerie Murrah, chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry’s department of diagnostic sciences and general dentistry, represented all board-certified oral and maxillofacial pathologists at the American Dental Association’s August meeting of all dental specialty boards.

Murrah, also director of oral and maxillofacial pathology at the School of Dentistry, is president of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (ABOMP) for 2005-2006. She is the first female president of this board in its 58-year history.

Oral and maxillofacial pathology, one of the nine formally recognized specialties of dentistry, focuses on the diagnosis and management of disorders and abnormalities of the oral and maxillofacial region. Such abnormalities include, but are not limited to, cold sores and oral cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that close to 31,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in 2006.

The UNC-Chapel Hill Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Laboratory, which Murrah directs, diagnoses more than 6,000 biopsies of oral abnormalities per year, and UNC-Chapel Hill oral pathologists see more than 600 patients every year.

Murrah also will preside over the October board meeting for the ABOMP, during which about 15 new diplomates will be certified.

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology is responsible for preparing examinations for all formally trained oral and maxillofacial pathologists who seeking the highest formal recognition for expertise in oral and maxillofacial pathology. Diplomate status is earned after graduating from an accredited training program and successfully completing a 16-hour examination that addresses both the clinical and microscopic abilities of the candidates. The board’s goal is to serve the public by credentialing only those oral pathologists who display expert level knowledge of the field.

Murrah, a School of Dentistry faculty member since 1998, also just completed a term as president of the Pathology Section of the American Dental Education Association.