Dr. George H. Blakey III has been named the Dr. Raymond P. White distinguished clinical associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry – and he is the first recipient of this honor.
The professorship is named for the School’s third dean, who served in that role from 1974 to 1981. White, an internationally known research investigator and presenter, is the Dalton L. McMichael distinguished professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery. He also is the principal investigator for the Third Molar Clinical Trials, a series of clinical studies designed to improve third molar treatment.
The gift of more than $333,000 was provided by more than 90individuals and organizations; state funds of $167,000 were matched to this amount to create an endowment for the professorship exceeding $500,000.
“Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a department with faculty who transform lives in truly extraordinary ways,” said Dean John N. Williams. “It is highly appropriate that Dr. White’s distinguished service to the School of Dentistry and to human health is honored with his name on this professorship. That Dr. Blakey was selected for this accolade demonstrates his own excellence as a researcher, teacher and clinician.”
The Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is academically based in the School of Dentistry, linked to the Department of Surgery at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine and functions primarily in UNC Hospitals.
Blakey received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and his DDS degree from the Medical College of Virginia. After a one-year internship at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Blakey served his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at UNC-Chapel Hill.
After completing this residency in 1992, he joined the department as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2007. He is the department’s residency program director.
His research has received both federal and corporate funding.
Blakey also received the School’s 2004 Richard F. Hunt Memorial Award for Excellence in Predoctoral Teaching.
“Dr. Blakey’s outstanding accomplishments have fostered the missions and goals of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and reflect the highest achievements in teaching, research and patient care,” said Dr. Timothy A. Turvey, the department’s chairman. “We are extraordinarily proud of him, and there is no one more deserving of this honor.”
White received his DDS and doctoral degrees from the Medical College of Virginia. He has received numerous awards and honors, including the North Carolina Dental Society’s Distinguished Service Scroll Award (1999), the Academy of Dentistry International’s International Dentist of the Year Award (2000), the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation’s Research Achievement Award (2003), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons’ Distinguished Service Award (2005) and the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons’ W. Harry Archer Award (2008), which recognizes outstanding accomplishments within education and the overall specialty. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.
White’s third molar longitudinal clinical trial is in its 10th year; study findings include indications that enrolled participants ages 20 through 35 with retained molars may face serious health risks including chronic oral inflammation from periodontal disease, even if the retained third molar shows no outward signs or symptoms of disease.
Blakey serves as the site coordinator for the multi-institutional study.
“The professorship is another affirmation of the academic department Dr. [Ernest] Small envisioned and Dr. [Ronald] Baker promoted,” said White. “Dr. Turvey has made his own significant contributions, including a focus on clinical research and preparing residents for academic careers. Dr. Blakey is a fine academic surgeon, a product of what most recognize as one of the premier oral and maxillofacial surgery departments in the world.”