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Residency Program in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology is the specialty of dentistry and pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes and effects of these diseases. The practice of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology includes research, diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical or other examinations, and management of patients.

Training consists of 36 months of didactic, clinical and laboratory coursework with coordinated rotations at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, State of Maryland Medical Examiner's Office, and the Joint Pathology Center (JPC). The program is designed to prepare the resident to practice surgical and clinical Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology within the military medical network. The curriculum also includes military subjects that enable dental officers to undertake contingency roles and to perfect their skills in military leadership and personnel management.

Emphasis is placed on microscopic and clinical diagnoses as well as the proper management of head and neck disease. A research project in the field of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology is required, with subsequent presentation of the research or a scientific abstract at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. An additional project suitable for publication will also be assigned while at the JPC.

Successful completion of this program leads to certification in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and eligibility to challenge the board examination administered by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. It is also expected that the resident will challenge the examination process leading to Fellowship status within the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.


The first-year of the residency program is conducted at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School (NPDS). It includes training in the biological sciences, particularly as it relates to the morphologic and clinical study of diseases affecting all organ systems of the body with special emphasis on the head and neck regions. Didactic courses in both oral and general pathology are a major focus of the first year along with introduction to surgical microscopy and daily case unknowns. Training in the clinical phases of oral and maxillofacial pathology is obtained through attendance at clinicopathologic conferences and otorhinolaryngic tumor boards, along with selected clinical rotations. A table clinic will be prepared and presented at the Tri-Service dental meeting. Identification of a research topic and preparation of the initial abstract is expected during this year. A degree of self-direction in the program is provided, with the opportunity for the resident to select an emphasis in clinical or oral histopathology through NPDS 250, Independent Study in Special Topics.

First-Year Curriculum

Course Contact Hours
NPDS 234 Advanced Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology I 246
NPDS 235 Advanced Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology II 318
NPDS 227 Advanced Oral Diagnosis 12
NPDS 201 Applied Dental Psychology 8
NPDS 202 Biochemistry 12
NPDS 281 Forensic Dentistry 14
NPDS 274 General Pathology 174
NPDS 203 Immunology 20
NPDS 250 Independent Study in Special Topics 473
NPDS 290 Intro. to Basic Histopathology Techniques, Special Procedures, and Lab Mgmt 12
NPDS 218 Management of Medical Emergencies 2
NPDS 344 Maxillofacial Prosthetics (Oncology) 3
NPDS 204 Microbiology 20
NPDS 221 Naval Operational Management 14
NPDS 284 Oral Medicine/Clinical Oral Diagnosis 20
NPDS 236 Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 29
NPDS 285 Orofacial Pain 32
NPDS 228 Pharmacotherapeutics 18
NPDS 263 Research Methods I 10
NPDS 264 Research Project 120
NPDS 361 Seminar, Advanced Surgical Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology 24
NPDS 289 Seminar, Special Clinical Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Topics 24
NPDS 237 Seminar, Special Pathology 24
NPDS 231 Systemic Disease in Clinical Dentistry 24
Feedback Sessions 3
Orientation, GMT, PRT, Holiday periods, etc. 264
Total hours 1575


The second year curriculum is comprised of assigned rotations in general pathology at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, and the State of Maryland Medical Examiner's office, Baltimore, Maryland. Residents will participate in the gross and microscopic examination of surgical specimens, and obtain experience in clinical pathology, hematopathology, cytopathology, and dermatopathology and soft tissue pathology. A minimum rotation of 6 months in surgical pathology is required. The resident will also obtain experience with autopsy techniques and will act as a prosector in a minimum of 20 autopsies. The residents will actively participate in the continuing education program offered by the medical pathology staff and are encouraged to present head and neck seminar cases during their year-long rotation.

Second-Year Curriculum

 Course   Contact Hours
 NPDS 394 General Pathology Rotations  1575
 Total hours  1575



The third-year curriculum consists of assignment to the Joint Pathology Center (JPC), Washington, DC.. The JPC acts as a consultation center for pathologists throughout the world. Therefore, this year of training provides the opportunity to study the most unusual and interesting disease processes that occur in, but not limited to, the head and neck in man. Normally, an opportunity to conduct a retrospective study on one or more of these diseases leading to a scientific publication is provided and highly encouraged.

During the third year of study, the resident will help support the continuing education mission of the NPDS and other military commands through seminar presentations. Support for the forensic mission of Armed Forces Medical Examiner will also be provided by the OMFP residents during mass disaster operations on an as needed basis. Challenging the Fellowship examination, which is sanctioned by the Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, rounds out this final year.

The following courses are taken at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in the third year:

Third-Year Curriculum

Course Contact Hours
HSMP 215 Dentistry and the Law 30
HSMP 221 Strategic Management in Dentistry 30
NPDS 371 Dental Administrative Management 12
NPDS 311 Ethics 7
NPDS 355 Research Methods II 5
NPDS 369 Research Project 150
NPDS 310 Teaching Methods Seminar 5
PDS 494 Joint Pathology Center Rotation 1751
Total hours 1575
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