Flossiraptors Break Through in Volleyball

The multi-sport School of Dentistry Flossiraptors are usually an intramural juggernaut, frequently winning or making the finals in flag football, basketball or soccer. Volleyball was the only sport in which the Class of 2021 teammates struggled — until now. This year’s squad went 6-0 and became intramural champs last week. Congrats to the Flossiraptors! The happy teammates in the photo below: (front row from left) Micayla Shrimpton, Taylor Rinda, Allie Moss; (back row from left) Chad Phillips, Aaron Howard, Stan Dotson (captain), Vince Markovitz.

Read a recent story about the teams here: https://dentistry.umkc.edu/flossiraptors-fight-fiercely-and-have-intramural-fun/

Missouri Scholars Program Chooses UMKC Dental Students

Eight students from the UMKC School of Dentistry have been chosen for AHEC Scholars, a two-year program promoting a greater understanding of the issues that affect individual and community healthcare.

The program gives students a chance to improve the health of their communities through service projects and civic engagement, interdisciplinary training in rural and underserved clinical settings, and increased awareness of topics including behavioral and oral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation and other current and emerging health issues.

Six of the students chosen are from the DDS Class of 2020: Amber Arshad, Brittany Daniel, Yasmin Hussein, Safa Nawazish, Christian Vargas and Stephanie Zarrasola. Jonah Heitman from the DDS Class of 2022 and Jake Findley of the DDS Class of 2023 also were selected.

The program is financed by the Health Resources and Services Association and implemented by the West Central Missouri Area Health Education Center.

“Missouri AHEC Scholars are a part of a national initiative to prepare tomorrow’s health care professionals to become leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice who serve those who need it the most,” said Stephanie Taylor, director of the West Central Missouri AHEC. “These students will collaborate with other students representing various health professions including nursing, medical, dental, pharmacy, therapy and allied health fields and position themselves to join or lead a diverse and culturally competent health workforce. We are very excited to include UMKC dental students in this group.”

Area Health Education Centers were developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. The AHEC program helps bring the resources of academic medicine to address local community health needs. The West Central Missouri AHEC is a regional center of the Missouri AHEC Network and receives federal Health Resources and Services Association financing, state financing from the Missouri Department of Health, and local support to provide health career exploration pipeline programs for youth and training and support for current health professions students.

Taking the Reins at AGD

Congratulations to the School of Dentistry’s Dr. Connie L. White, who is the new president of the Academy of General Dentistry. She was installed this month during the academy’s annual meeting, held in Chicago this year.

“I am confident that, together, we can accomplish a lot during my year as president,” Dr. White said. “I want to work with everyone to create a mosaic of impactful change. Academia, mentoring young people, and my love of dentistry and learning have been my life. They’re how I found AGD, and I have shared my love of AGD with every student I have known for just over 40 years of teaching and practice.”

At the School of Dentistry, Dr. White is associate professor, interim dean for clinical programs and assistant dean for community relations and communications earned her DDS (’81) and bachelor’s degree in chemistry (’77) at UMKC. She also earned her certificate in oral medicine in 1989.

When she started teaching, Dr. White became involved in the Missouri Academy of General Dentistry as its liaison to the School of Dentistry. For the academy’s national organization, she most recently was vice president, and its secretary before that. Now, she said, she wants to use her term as president to help dentists improve the care they give, and to help them be involved with and benefit from the academy.

In addition to having a general practice and teaching for decades at UMKC, Dr. White holds fellowships in the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and the Academy of Dentistry International. She also is active in the American Dental Association, Missouri Dental Association and the Greater KC Dental Society.

Celebrating Advanced Graduates-To-Be

Graduation for most School of Dentistry students comes in May, but our advanced students fill an important and unusual niche and also often leave us at the end of fall semester. This year, those distinguished students in our Oral & Craniofacial Sciences MS and PhD programs enjoyed a special celebration on Nov. 13, put on by the Office of Research and Graduate Programs. Dr. Mary Becker, Dr. Kaylee Bergman, and Dr. Laura Moore are completing the Advanced Education in Orthodontics certificate program and simultaneously earning a Master of Science in Oral & Craniofacial Sciences. In addition, Erica Jackson, a faculty member at Washburn University, was recognized for completing her PhD in Oral & Craniofacial Sciences. Dr. Becker is from Texas but plans to stay in the Kansas City area to join Fry Orthodontics in Raytown and Lee’s Summit. Dr. Bergman also is planning to practicing in the Kansas City area. Dr. Moore is returning to the Springfield, Missouri, area to join a private practice. Erica Jackson will continue working at Washburn University, where is she is a lecturer in human anatomy and biology.

Our congratulations to all the grads!

Find photos here.

Dr. Scott Hamilton: Aligned with Excellence

This year’s Dan Blackwell Excellence in Teaching Award goes to Dr. Scott Hamilton, who practices in Topeka and has been an adjunct clinical professor for 30 years. The award is given by third-year residents in the Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics to recognize an outstanding clinical instructor. The residents chose Dr. Hamilton in part because of his expertise in helping them with aligner cases, something his practice has great experience with.

Dr. Hamilton received the award at a special event in mid-November. The award customarily is presented at the orthodontics graduation, but Dr. Hamilton could not attend that ceremony this year.

Dr. Hamilton graduated from the School of Dentistry and has been a strong supporter of the school over the years. He also hails from a dentistry family; his father practiced and taught orthodontics. Congratulations to Dr. Hamilton for this honor!

Photos here.

Explorers Student Group Enjoys a Fruitful Demonstration

There are easier ways to cut an apple, but none as high tech as the School of Dentistry’s Dole Laser. That’s what members of the school’s Dental Explorer Post saw in action at their November meeting.
The Explorer Post, a group of high school and college students learning about dentistry, examines a different aspect of profession each month. The latest meeting featured a demonstration of the Dole Laser, typically used for crown preparation and biopsie. But for this demonstration, Kelly Suchman, DDS ’00, AEGD ’01, sliced into an apple.
Suchman, clinical assistant professor and director of the school’s Advanced Education in General Dentistry Program, told the Explorer Post members that fourth-year dental students at UMKC have a rotation during which they get to use the laser.
The student group, sponsored by the school in collaboration with the Boy Scouts of America Exploring Division, exposes high school and college undergraduates to dentistry and explores whether it’s a good career fit for them. The monthly meetings usually include a guest speaker, food and a hands-on activity, with help from members of the school’s Student National Dental Association/Hispanic Student Dental Association chapter: Rue Erhenede, Mahaam Qadeer, Taylor Johnson, Lena Adams, Drew Chatters Meshal Alborno, Kim Kha, Shurouk Alkharabsheh, Meredith Gomes, Yasmeen Qadi, Safa Nawazish and Uyen Hoang. Faculty members Derek Williams and John L. Cottrell also were on hand to help.

Photos here.

School of Dentistry Researcher Helps Discover New Strain of HIV

The School of Dentistry’s Carole McArthur, MD, PhD, who has been on the cutting edge of international HIV research for many years, is part of a team of scientists who have discovered a new strain of HIV. It’s the first discovery of a new subtype of HIV-1 since 2000.

The new subtype is referred to as HIV-1 Group M, subtype L—and is part of the Group M viruses that are responsible for the global pandemic, which can be traced back to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The discovery was made as part of a research collaboration with Abbott Laboratories.

“In an increasingly connected world, we can no longer think of viruses being contained to one location,” said Dr. McArthur, one of the study authors. “This discovery reminds us that to end the HIV pandemic, we must continue to outthink this continuously changing virus and use the latest advancements in technology and resources to monitor its evolution.”

Dr. McArthur is the director of AfriHealth Partnerships International, conceived in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the University of Missouri—Kansas City. The program, initiated in 1995, fosters interdisciplinary studies between investigators in the U.S. and investigators in Africa to strengthen the local response to the detection, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. For the past two decades, Dr. McArthur’s has worked on diagnostic system development and evaluation in Cameroon, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Concerning the current breakthrough, to determine whether an unusual virus is a new HIV subtype, three cases have to be discovered independently. The first two for this subtype were discovered in 1980s and 1990s; the third was collected in 2001 but difficult to sequence until now.

Today, technology allows researchers to build entire genomes at higher speeds, and partnering scientists at Abbott had to develop new techniques to confirm the discovery.

Mary Rodgers, PhD, one of the Abbott scientists who wrote the study with McArthur, said identifying viruses such as this one is like searching for a needle in a haystack; however, with new technologies it feels as if they are now “pulling the needle out with a magnet.”

“This scientific discovery can help us ensure we are stopping new pandemics in their tracks,” she said.

Abbott’s Global Viral Surveillance Program monitors HIV and hepatitis viruses, specifically, to ensure the company’s diagnostic tests remain up to date. And now that this new strain has been identified, they are able to detect it.

You can read the full release on PR Newswire.

The study was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

The development also has been covered by international media including CNN and her alma matter, the University of Otaga in New Zealand.

A Frighteningly Good Time for Dental and Dental Hygiene Studentsat “Boo at the Zoo”

October 26th and 27th, UMKC Dental and Dental Hygiene students representing their student led organizations, participated in Kansas City’s Annual “Boo at the Zoo” at the city’s Swope Park Zoo. Rather than giving out candy and promoting tooth decay, they opted for the more preventative method. Trick or Treats were given vampire teeth, stickers and oral hygiene instruction. The kids were able to demonstrate their brushing techniques on puppets while the parents learned about services provided at the School of Dentistry for patients of all ages. Volunteers included Dental and Dental Hygiene students, many members of the school’s Pediatric Dentistry Club, faculty and their children, members of the Sigma Phi Alpha Honorary Dental Hygiene Society along with members from the Association of Women Dentists.

Lots of photos from the event here.

Story and photos contributed by
Tamara Hoffman, RDH and faculty organizer for the event, as well as from the participants.

Psi O’s Have Had a Great Start to the Academic Year

Psi Omega Dental Fraternity has had a great start to the academic year filled with food, friends and lots of new members! The first and second year members had a brunch hosted in their honor to give them a chance to get to know each other before our big/little reveal at initiation. They also were able to enjoy the beautiful views from Dr. Brian Williams’ downtown Kansas City loft during our annual Loft Party and then later recognize him for all of his hard work at UMKC following initiation! When not studying or at social events, PsiO members have also been giving back by volunteering at Harvester’s Food Bank. We official inducted all new members into the Psi Omega family on October 11th, and are so excited for the remainder of the year with all of our new D1s and D2s!

Enjoy photos from the activities.

Story and photos contributed by
Madison Riggs
UMKC School of Dentistry Dental Class of 2021