Focus on International Faculty
Dr. Ross Kerr:
Charting a Global Course for the Future of Oral Medicine

Dr. Ross Kerr

When Dr. Ross Kerr isn't teaching, seeing patients in the oral mucosal disease service, running his research studies at NYUCD, or caring for patients at the NYU Dental Faculty Practice, chances are he's helping to plan the Fifth World Workshop on Oral Medicine, which will convene experts from around the world in London in September, 2010, to explore the current status and future direction of the field of oral medicine.

A native of Toronto, Canada, who grew up in London, Dr. Kerr is one of the co-organizers of the Workshop, which was founded in the mid-1980s by faculty members from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and Glasgow Dental School.

Dr. Kerr, an Associate Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology & Medicine, was chosen to serve on the organizing committee for the London meeting following the success of the Fourth World Workshop in 2006, which overlapped with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Oral Medicine, whose scientific program he organized.

The early detection and prevention of oral cancer has always been a focus of Dr. Kerr's research, taking him on several occasions to the Indian subcontinent, where the use of smokeless tobacco in various forms (including mixtures with the areca nut as paan and gutkha) is very popular - habits that have led to the development not only of oral cancer but also of oral submucous fibrosis, a painful, precancerous condition rarely seen in the West. Oral submucous fibrosis will be one of the topics covered at the Fifth World Workshop.

Closer to home, Dr. Kerr is a past chairman of the Oral Cancer Consortium, a partnership of 29 academic dental centers, hospitals, and dental societies throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, which hosts free regional oral cancer screenings for thousands of people annually.

In his spare time, he also mentors students in the NYUCD chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), who, together with students at other SNDA chapters and with NYU dental hygiene and nursing students, organize and lead an annual New York City Oral Cancer Walk.

"The London meeting," says Dr. Kerr, "will bring together an outstanding group of experts from more than a dozen countries and a variety of oral health and medical specialties to tackle a number of important issues in the field of oral medicine, including the development of international educational standards and practice models, electronic tools and platforms to facilitate practice and multicenter research, and international research collaborations."