(DALLAS) – Dr. John M. Wright, Texas A&M System Regents professor and chair of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, was formally installed as president of the International Association of Oral Pathologists (IAOP) during the group’s biennial congress this June in San Francisco.

Founded in 1976, the IAOP represents the global community of oral pathology with members from Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, Latin America, South America and North America. Dr. Wright’s presidency runs until the group’s next congress in August 2010.

“There is great disparity in the way oral pathology is practiced around the world,” Dr. Wright said. “The IAOP exists in part to assist its members in advancement of the specialty in their own countries. Additionally, we provide educational opportunities to our members and financial support for members to attend our meetings.

“I have always believed that professionals have an obligation to not work just for their own betterment but for the improvement of the profession,” Dr. Wright continued. “I am delighted as much with this opportunity to lead as to serve this noble profession.”

Dr. Wright’s active involvement in the association is marked by previous service on the group’s governing council.

The council is composed of IAOP officers and six elected representatives from their respective geographical regions. Dr. Wright represented North America from 2004 to 2008. He was chosen in 2006 as the organization’s president-elect and just completed that two-year term.

The last American who served as IAOP president also hailed from HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry: Dr. Bill Binnie, past chair of diagnostic sciences, served in that role from 1994 to 1996.

“John Wright will be an outstanding president for IAOP and is already a stellar ambassador for Baylor College of Dentistry,” said Dr. James S. Cole, dean of the college. “There is no question that he is a world-class scholar and academician, and it is gratifying to see him get the recognition that he deserves.”

This is not Dr. Wright’s first time to lead a premier dental organization. He is past president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and also is currently serving as director of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Dr. Wright is a consultant to a variety of hospitals and pathology laboratories in the Dallas area. He is a commissioner of the Commission on Dental Accreditation, a member of the American Dental Association, a fellow of the American and International College of Dentists, and serves on three professional-journal editorial boards.

A graduate of West Virginia University School of Dentistry, Dr. Wright has been a full-time faculty member at HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry since 1980. He has contributed more than 70 publications to the scientific literature, including co-writing textbooks on oral cancer and tumors of the head and neck. He also lectures nationally and internationally. In addition, Dr. Wright maintained a part-time private practice in clinical oral pathology in Dallas for approximately 25 years.

— LaDawn Brock