Dental and Dental Hygiene Classes Celebrate Transitioning into the Profession

Respect, inclusion, individualized care, and a dedication to improving the health of the community were just a few of the guiding principles outlined in the Codes of Ethics shared by the classes at this year’s ceremony, which symbolizes the exciting transition to beginning to treat patients at the school.

The ceremony was held at the Unity Temple on the Plaza on Friday, June 2, and welcomed the Dental Class of 2025 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2024 into the clinical phase of their education, surrounded by friends and family.

As part of this milestone event overseen by Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Melynda Meredith and Dean, Dr. Steven Haas, both classes read its Code of Ethics, which is written by the students of the given class each year. Following the reading of the codes, each student is called up to the stage individually to receive their scrub jacket or white coat and then sign the code of ethics that will then be displayed in the clinic at the dental school as a reminder of the importance of their dedication to patients, education, each other and dentistry. Each class also chose an influential faculty member to provide keynote speeches. This year, Prof. Karen Davis and Dr. Luke Wezeman gave their remarks and encouragement to the classes.

Click the links below to find:

Candid photos from the event here.

Dental Class of 2025 student portraits forthcoming.

Dental Hygiene Class of 2024 student portraits forthcoming.

You can view a recorded livestream of the event here.

Micheal Opara, DDS Class of 2025, featured on KHSB 41

KHSB 41 sat down with Micheal Opara, DDS Class of 2025 to discuss access to dental education and resources as a current dental student and GEHA scholarship recipient.

Micheal Opara is born and raised in Kansas City. He’s had success in his academia, volunteering and fellowships.

“I’m still under 21 and I have two degrees — it’s pretty exciting,” Opara said. “This entire week I’ve been saying I’ll be a doctor in four years.”

Through GEHA’s pipeline program, he landed a GEHA scholarship to become a dentist through UMKC.

He recently graduated from UMKC with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology.

“I was lucky enough to have health and medical insurance, but I grew up with a lot of friends in my environment and school who didn’t have that privilege,” he said.

In high school, he was already learning the industry.

“I had a friend come up to me after school and he had pain in one of his back molars, so I took the video on my phone and was able to see two cavities on his back teeth and I still have the video now,” he said.

Now he’ll soon be able to help others.

“Having a dentist understand you and understand your background to where you are comfortable there is very important,” he said. “I want to have a focus with lower income and communities necessarily didn’t have the access.”


Read the full story from KHSB 41 and watch the interview here.

Story by: Megan Abundis, KHSB 41

Dental School Faculty Participate in UMKC Leadership Initiatives

Several dental school faculty members, including Prof. Tanya Mitchell, Dr. Kim Bray, Prof. Ashley Hobbs and Dr. Lorie Holt, were recognized for their participation in various UMKC programs.
Prof. Mitchell was recognized for her participation in UMKC’s Chair’s Forum Development Program which is a yearlong, cohort-based leadership development program for recently appointed department chairs at UMKC. This program aims to provide faculty leaders a valuable opportunity to learn about the qualities of effective leaders, develop a stronger awareness of their leadership skillset, gain a broader institutional perspective of the university and grapple with key issues faced by faculty in positions of leadership.
Dr. Bray, Dr. Holt and Prof. Hobbs were recognized for their part in the Peer Observation Pilot Program, which, following surveys from its first year, has proven to be “a valuable and meaningful endeavor for both observees and observers.” This program is designed to promote teaching development through creation of a collaborative partnership between the faculty member being observed (the Observee) and a trained Observer. Observees can choose to identify a specific area of focus for their observation or ask for a more generalized observation. For the pilot, the courses observed were offered in the traditional classroom format and included focused conversations between the trained Observer and Observee along with guided self-reflection activities.

GEHA celebrates 25 years of GEHA Solutions with $250,000+ of investment to address health equity

GEHA Solutions enters its 25th year as a leader in dental network options with a reinforced commitment to creating meaningful, sustainable change in oral health equity.

GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc.) celebrates 25 years of GEHA Solutions, Inc, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary offering tailored dental options for health care payers and administrators. To commemorate the milestone year, GEHA Solutions announced today that it will enhance its support and invest more than $270,000 toward addressing oral health disparities, specifically by expanding its giving and scholarship programs, and continuing to provide oral health education in local communities.

Read the full press release here.

Story from GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc.)

Cristi Allen (GEHA) | 816.679.4387

Lisa Ketteler (GEHA) | 816.305.5822

2023 Dental Hooding Ceremony Takes Place at Swinney Recreation Center

This year’s dental graduates impressed in and out of the classroom – enduring a global pandemic and the challenges that came with it, responding to calls of service and leadership, achieving academically, and putting lessons into practice on the clinic floor. The annual hooding ceremony was an opportunity to honor our graduates and those that supported their journey to their doctoral degree on May 12. Family members of the graduating class that are dental school alumni participated in honoring the class as Legacy Hooders at the hooding ceremony. This special moment creates long-lasting memories and helps continue this unique tradition. Three dental graduates were commissioned as they prepare to enter active duty in the U.S. Navy and Kansas National Guard.  Sworn in, they receive the rank of Lieutenant or Captain, depending the branch of service.

See candid photos from the event here.

See photos of graduates getting hooded here.

See military graduate photos here.

The Dental School Hosts Open House and School Tours

Family and friends of our alumni-to-be filled the halls of the dental school for mingling, photos, games, refreshments, and live music in celebration of their graduates. They were also encouraged to do self-guided tours to see where the students have spent much of their time studying and working in the clinic.

This fun event was an opportunity to celebrate all graduates together – DDS, Dental Hygiene and Advanced Education – and allow the loved ones of the graduates to socialize with classmates, faculty and staff.

See pictures from the event here.

A Success to Smile About: Honoring the Dental Hygiene Class of 2023

Academic achievements, generous service and clinical excellence are just a few of the noteworthy aspects of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2023 that were celebrated on Friday, May 12, by faculty, alumni, family and friends at Senior Scholarship Day.

Students presented posters, portfolios, case studies and practicums throughout the morning, then well-deserved awards were given for senior posters. There were plenty of opportunities to reminisce and kindle new friendships at a luncheon hosted by the UMKC Dental Hygienists’ Association. Following the luncheon, all attendees were invited to attend the dental school’s Open House.

See pictures from Senior Scholarship Day here.

Prof. Julie Sutton Selected for ADEA Leadership Program

Congratulations to Prof. Julie Sutton who was accepted to participate in the 2023 ADEA Allied Dental Faculty Leadership Development Program (ADEA ADFLDP). This is ADEA’s premier leadership program designed to inspire and develop future allied dental education leaders.

This competitive leadership opportunity takes place at the ADEA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in August. Click here to learn more about the program.

Cheers to the Next 100 Years! MDC’s 100th Anniversary Wraps

The Midwest Dental Conference concluded on Sunday after four days of sessions, reunions, exhibits and celebration in Kansas City. The annual Dental Alumni Trustees’ and Alumni Past Presidents’ Breakfast was followed by the final three scientific sessions. After another great weekend of learning and connecting, attendees exchanged goodbyes and headed back to their practices, schools and home states to take what they learned at the conference and put it into practice.

Thank you to all who made the 100 year anniversary so special! The next conference will take place April 11 – 14, 2024 in Kansas City.

See photos from the day here.