Join ADAMember Log In




Kellogg Executive Management Program hones business management skills

Chapel Hill, N.C.—An oral and maxillofacial pathologist, Dr. Valerie Murrah’s clinical background, academic credentials and managerial experience make her an ideal leader in dental education and research.

Image: Dr. Murrah
Dr. Murrah: “I wanted to be able to approach management decisions with a financial base that was scientific in order to plan for the future.”

As she became interested in approaching financial management in organizations from a more sophisticated perspective, she sought an opportunity to learn from the experts. It’s a level of financial management expertise that is perhaps more important now than ever before.

“In these tight times, universities need to be more savvy about money management,” said Dr. Murrah, the chair of the department of diagnostic sciences and general dentistry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, director of the division of oral and maxillofacial pathology, a member of the executive committee for the dental faculty practice and the director of the UNC at Chapel Hill’s diagnostic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Laboratory, which nets more than $1 million annually. In the last academic year, she also served as a member of the dean’s budget advisory committee.

“Dental schools in particular need to be more entrepreneurial in terms of being able to keep things in the black with state support for higher education on the decline. I wanted to be able to approach management decisions with a financial base that was scientific in order to plan for the future.”

In 2009, Dr. Murrah earned a certificate through the ADA/Kellogg Executive Management Program, a three-week intensive business education program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management designed for dentists interested in the core principles of an MBA program.

Previous ADAKEMP graduates say they have been able to apply what they learned throughout all parts of their professional life. The most valued subjects have been business strategy, marketing management, and organizational leadership, and more than 87 percent of those completing the program called it a valuable financial investment.

How has the experience changed Dr. Murrah’s career?

“I’m certainly ready and willing to ask questions about any financial analysis that is presented,” she said. “Before, I might have been more reticent. Now I know the most incisive questions to ask in order to get the full picture of the situation and to be able to propose ways of handling it.”

Applications are being accepted for this year’s program. Attendance is limited to facilitate smaller class sizes, which enable dentists to share ideas and practical applications of business principles. Dr. Murrah counts her fellow class members as some of her most valued colleagues in dentistry.

“I was privileged to meet some outstanding people: superlative practitioners and people with different types of business interests, not only in dentistry,” Dr. Murrah said. “One could easily throw out an idea and see what other people were thinking. The discussion was quite stimulating.”

Program dates for the 2011 ADA/Kellogg Executive Management Program are Sept. 15-20, Nov. 10-15 and Dec. 1-6. All classes are taught at Northwestern University’s Chicago campus near the ADA Headquarters. The application deadline is July 1. Information about the program and applications are available at ada.org/kellogg.