Dr. Valerie Murrah, chair of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry’s Department of Diagnostic Sciences and General Dentistry, was recently installed as president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP).
The ceremony took place at the annual meeting of the AAOMP and the International Association of Oral Pathologists, held in June in San Francisco. The AAOMP, founded in 1946, is the governing body for the specialty of oral and maxillofacial pathology. The organization’s mission is to contribute to the public’s welfare, to advance the specialty and to disseminate information about oral and maxillofacial pathology.
Murrah is the first woman to serve as the organization’s president. In 2005-2006, she also served as the first female president of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
Murrah, a School of Dentistry faculty member since 1998, also directs oral and maxillofacial pathology at the School. She recently was elected vice president of the Intersociety Pathology Council, becoming the first dentist to serve as an officer in the organization. The IPC, formed in 1968, represents all pathology organizations in North America.
She also serves as the School of Dentistry’s liaison for the UNC-Chapel Hill Working on Women in Science (WOWS) initiative, a program designed to foster the careers of women in science through financial support, public recognition, leadership training, mentoring and networking.
Dean John N. Williams said Murrah’s election as president was deserved recognition of her commitment to excellence in oral and maxillofacial pathology and to professional mentoring.
“Her field, oral and maxillofacial pathology, is on the ‘front line’ of detecting health concerns with major implications for oral and overall health,” Williams said. “As such, this field needs leaders who have a forward-thinking approach to research and who are deeply invested in their work in providing patient care.
“Dr. Murrah understands how the most promising research discoveries can improve one individual patient’s life, and I think that explains some of the enthusiasm and determination she brings to her field.”