Dr. Julie Byerley ’97 (MPH), interim dean of UNC’s Adams School of Dentistry since January, will leave Carolina at the end of the calendar year to become president and dean of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Pennsylvania, as well as the school’s executive vice president and chief academic officer.
The search for a new dean has commenced, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said at a campus town hall meeting Sept. 24. Beth Mayer-Davis, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of nutrition and medicine, and chair of the department of nutrition in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, will chair the committee.
“We know this school is well-positioned to bring a strong, nationally leading visionary to take the helm,” Guskiewicz said.
Byerly stepped into the interim role after Scott De Rossi announced last November he would be stepping down as dean in January. In May, High Point University announced that De Rossi would be the inaugural dean of its new School of Dental Medicine and Oral Health.
A veteran medical educator and senior administrator, Byerley joined Carolina in 2002 as a faculty member in the UNC School of Medicine’s department of pediatrics. She served as the vice dean for academic affairs and chief education officer at the school before being named interim dean of the dental school this year.
At the town hall, Guskiewicz thanked her for her service steering the school through the challenges of the pandemic.
“Your selfless dedication to this place and the dental school’s mission of service has been incredible,” he said. “It has not been an easy job.”
Byerley said the time was right for a change in leadership at the dental school.
“As fond as I have grown of this community and as tempting as it can be to stay, it is the right thing for me to step aside and allow a new permanent dean take the helm,” Byerley said. “This community needs an oral health professional to lead it for the next five or more years, and I am looking so forward to seeing how far all my new-found colleagues and friends here at Adams advance dentistry.”
The dental school has a faculty of approximately 110 and annually graduates more than 150 students into the field of oral health care. The school consistently ranks among the nation’s top 10 dental schools in NIH funding. Its programs in orofacial pain, oral-systemic relationships, health policy and education, fundamental mechanisms of disease, clinical therapeutics and other areas of oral and craniofacial health science make it a vital center of basic, translational and clinical research.
In her new role leading the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Byerley will continue to establish it as a leader in the industry and model the community service mission of the organization. She will also be responsible for overseeing Geisinger’s research enterprise, which includes more than 50 full-time research faculty and more than 30 clinician assistants responsible for groundbreaking medical advancements.
“In addition to being a highly respected leader in education and her many career accomplishments, Dr. Byerley’s passion for academic excellence, research and teaching will be critical to helping us realize our vision: to make better health easier for the communities we serve. We couldn’t be more excited to have her join our team,” said Dr. Jaewon Ryu, president and CEO of Geisinger.
Byerley earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and a teaching certificate from Rhodes College and attended medical school at Duke University. She completed her pediatrics residency and chief residency at UNC, where she also earned a master’s degree in public health with a focus on maternal and child health.
The search for a permanent dentistry dean is expected to conclude by the end of the year.