Shawn Murray’s dedication to the denturist profession is evident in her extraordinary work for the National Denturist Association, USA (NDA, USA), for the state of Oregon, and in her efforts to promote denturist education. She has been an active member of both the NDA, USA, and Oregon State Denturist Association leadership for over 25 years. She has also been an influential member of the Oregon Board of Denture Technology and the Oregon Health Licensing Board; she is presently serving a fourth term on this board and has served as chair each term. During her leadership on this board, the Oregon legislature has continued to increase the scope of practice for denturists to include all removable dental prosthetics with the exception of orthodontia.
She was also instrumental in generating a national written and clinical examination for U.S. denturists. The Oregon Health Licensing Board has accepted this national examination as the official board examination for denturists’ licensure for the state of Oregon. Washington State has also accepted this examination as to their state board examination for denturists. Also generated under her leadership the NDA, USA has developed a program by which denturist colleges can receive certification after meeting required standards of excellence. This not only establishes harmonization within the denturist educational community it also assures that graduating students receive a quality education.
As a result of her efforts as president of the NDA, USA the association’s membership has significantly increased. She continues to serve on the Board of Directors as Past President.
Shawn’s career in the dental profession began as a dental assistant, however, she became disenchanted when she realized she did not like the sight of blood so the dentist she was working with suggested she try dental laboratory work. So off to dental laboratory school, she went; she enjoyed this part of dentistry and found she was very good at it and she enjoyed the challenges. After dental laboratory school, she worked in a couple of commercial labs before serving as an in-house technician for a prosthodontist. While with the prosthodontist she enjoyed working with patients. She became involved in the Oregon Dental Laboratory Association and eventually owned her own dental lab business.
It was at a continuing education class she met Lillian Peterson, who introduced her to the denturist profession and the Washington Denturist Association. She became totally involved in participating in this association serving on committees, the Board of Directors, and ultimately the President of that board.
She worked diligently promoting education for Washington denturists and was involved in their initiative that eventually led to their professional regulation and licensure. She also met Washington pioneer denturists Kurt Roehl and Chet Charron who introduced her to the National Denturist Association, USA. She attended Oregon Denturist College, received her education and license in Oregon. She assisted in gaining accreditation for this college. After graduation, she contacted Lillian Peterson whose denturist practice in Florence, Oregon, was for sale, and jumped at the change of owning her own practice, especially since she had previously visited Florence and loved the quaint coastal town. She eventually expanded her practice to include a second clinic in Eugene, Oregon.
Always an advocate for denturist education, Shawn became concerned when the Oregon Denturist College closed. She was delighted when George Brown College out of Toronto, Canada, offered excellent education for U.S. students and even though licensed she enrolled and was graduated from this prestigious school’s denturist program. However, Shawn wanted a U.S. college for denturists and with this determination, she retained an individual to write a curriculum and sought to develop a program for denturists. Realizing the enormous task involved in establishing a school she sought out individuals who might be interested in following through with her vision for a denturist college on the West coast. She approached Todd Young, an Oregon denturist, who was excited about the offer; the American Denturist College was born.
With Shawn’s total immersion in her profession there seems little time for anything else, but not true. Shawn tends a five-acre tree farm and she and Nancy, her partner of 20 years, are proud parents of four cats and nine chickens. They are also avid travelers and have visited most of the U.S. and several countries. The most recent trip was crossing the Panama Canal.
She has recently sold her two clinics and is presently working in private practice. Her plans are to eventually retire completely so they can continue to travel.
Shawn’s contribution to the denturist profession is exemplary and untiring. Her leadership has brought incomparable advancements for every denturist in the U.S. We are proud and honored to spotlight Shawn as an example of dedication and vision for the advancement of the profession she nobly represents.