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Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology Graduate Program

Program Information

The Advanced Education in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Program began in 2003.

The Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Faculty are all Diplomates of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. They are:

Dr. Curran, Dr. Padilla, Dr. Murrah

Alice E. Curran, DMD, MS, Associate Professor and Program Director
  • DMD-University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, 1995
  • Oral Pathology Advanced Training- Emory University School of Medicine, 1998
  • Fellow, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 1997
  • Diplomate, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 2000
Ricardo J. Padilla, DDS, Clinical Assistant Professor
  • DDS- Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala, 1997
  • Oral Pathology Advanced Training- University of Florida, 2000
  • Fellowship in Surgical Pathology- University of Texas at San Antonio, 2001
  • Fellow, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 1999
  • Diplomate, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 2001
Valerie A. Murrah, DMD, MS, Professor and Department of Diagnostic Sciences Chair
  • DMD- Southern Illinois University School of Dentistry-1980
  • Oral Pathology Advanced Training- University of Minnesota-1983
  • Fellow, American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology-1983
  • Diplomate, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 1986
  • Director, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 1999

The program will start on July 1, of each year. Orientation to the school and to the department is conducted during the preceding week in June.

The students will become involved in activities essential in the development of an oral and maxillofacial pathologist including clinical oral pathology consultations in the dental school clinics,

Talking with a Patient

daily biopsy review sessions where the student learns histopathologic diagnosis and the process of composing a pathology report; pathology laboratory management, tissue and slide preparation.

Slide Preparation

Mentoring in classroom instruction and lecture preparation and interaction with medical and dental colleagues on issues of patient care are included. In addition, courses in oral biology, research methods, pharmacology, statistics, radiology and advanced oral pathology are required.

A working knowledge of computers and basic Microsoft Office software applications is essential. The curriculum includes a course in computer skills, but we would like students to begin learning these programs prior to entry into the program. Students are required to purchase laptops. Specifications for these laptops can be found at

In addition to formal coursework and clinical activities within the dental school setting the student will participate in 12 months of general pathology rotations at the UNC Hospital Pathology Department. Surgical pathology, anatomic pathology, dermatopathology, cytopathology, hematopathology, molecular medicine and other rotations determined by the student depending on interests are scheduled beginning in July of the second year.

As part of the requirement for the Master's Degree, the student will be expected to complete a modest research project and thesis. Courses on research and research methods are included in the curriculum and will greatly assist the student in negotiating this requirement. UNC has an outstanding national reputation as a dental research center and it is anticipated that the student will have more than adequate mentorship and support in this area.

If students have not taken North Carolina Dental Boards, they will be required to obtain an Intern Permit, which will allow them to work in the hospital and in the clinics. More information on this permit will be made available well in advance of orientation.

Any candidate that did not receive a dental degree from an ADA CODA-accredited institution will be required to sit for a dental simulation examination on a typodont as part of the Intern Permit process. CODA-trained individuals are exempt from the simulation exam requirement. The exam is given as part of the orientation process.

UNC requires current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the basic life support for health care providers level for clinic privileges. Students who are not currently certified should take the necessary training and have certification when the program begins in July. This certification is good for only one year in North Carolina can be renewed annually following a recertification class at UNC at no charge.