Dr. Larry Cunningham Jr. Appointed Chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Associate Dean of Hospital Affairs

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Larry Cunningham Jr., DDS, MD, FACS as our next Chair of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Associate Dean for Hospital Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and UPMC, effective immediately.  He also will serve as interim program director for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program.  Dr. Cunningham, a native of Texas, comes to the University of Pittsburgh after an 18-year career at the University of Kentucky, where he served as professor and Chief of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  He and his wife, Dr. Emily Cunningham, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, are excited about the opportunity to join the thriving health care environment at Pitt and UPMC.

Dr. Cunningham received his doctorate in dental surgery from the University of Texas at San Antonio and then obtained his MD and residency certification in oral and maxillofacial surgery from the renowned training program at Parkland Health and Hospital System. He rose from his initial assistant professor appointment to full professor with tenure, and Chief of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Kentucky.  Before being appointed Chief, Dr. Cunningham served as program director of their residency program for many years.  Dr. Cunningham has a broad clinical interest in maxillofacial surgery and is an internationally recognized expert in the management of traumatic facial injuries.  He has 18 years of experience as a member of the cleft lip and palate team, where his practice included alveolar cleft repairs and jaw surgery for patients with facial differences. He is particularly skilled in the surgical management of patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disease, including total joint replacements.   Dr. Cunningham frequently lectures on the management of injuries to the nerves that innervate of the lower lip and tongue.

Dr. Cunningham is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and currently is Treasurer of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery’s Board of Directors. Dr. Cunningham also has been involved in a number of organizations including the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), and the American Academy of Craniomaxillofacial Surgery.  He has served as Chair of the Committee on Resident Education and the Committee on Training, Research and Technology, and served as a leader in many regional and local organizations. Dr. Cunningham is an experienced medical and dental educator and has taught students at the undergraduate, pre-doctoral and residency levels, with experience as a course director and residency program director.  He is a member of the interdisciplinary AO Craniomaxillofacial Surgery Education Board, focusing on facial trauma education.  Dr. Cunningham has received many awards for his excellence as a teacher and clinician—including the first Faculty Educator Development Award bestowed by the AAOMS.   Dr. Cunningham’s international recognition is well reflected in his visiting professorships and invitations to speak around the world and at many scientific society meetings. 

Dr. Cunningham has been a member of a variety of committees, review boards and editorial boards. He has held or been an investigator on multiple grants for clinical investigations and trials from the NIH, OMS Foundation, and other funding agencies.  He is the author or co-author of more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews and chapters. His research interests include bioengineering and resorbable allogenic grafting materials, craniofacial trauma and reconstruction, and inflammatory mediators associated with oral disease. 

On a personal note, it has been my pleasure to know Dr. Cunningham for almost 20 years, Pitt Dental Medicine is exceptionally fortunate to recruit someone of his caliber, ethics and commitment.  Dr. Cunningham is well-known for his loyalty, problem-solving capabilities, passion for education, and masterful clinical skills.  He specifically was recruited here, over many other talented surgeons, to provide interdisciplinary transformational leadership, expand our relationship within the community, enhance our faculty practice, and contribute to the world class care for which the oral and maxillofacial surgery team is known.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Larry Cunningham Jr. to one of the most important leadership positions at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC, and as another exemplar of the highest-quality care.    

Bernard J. Costello DMD, MD
Professor and Dean
University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine
Chief, Division of Pediatric Craniomaxillofacial Surgery
UPMC Children’s Hospital