Getting in the Fall SPIRIT

On Friday, October 29th, the School of Dentistry got into the spirit of fall by wearing costumes and elaborate hats. Residents and staff in Ortho came dressed as Cruella De’Ville, dalmatians, superheroes and the guards from Squid Game. Elsewhere, staff got festive by decorating hats and participated in the contest sponsored by the School of Dentistry Staff Council.

Hat Contest Winner:
Jennifer Brown, Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Runners Up:
Monica Johnson, Department of Pediatric Dentistry
Sue Simonds, Advanced Educataion Program in General Dentistry
Verna Crowder, Clinic Dispensary

Find photos here.

Dental Students and Faculty Make a Great Team

TeamSmile outreach event provides much needed oral health care

Pearly whites were plentiful as well as Chiefs red at the TeamSmile event at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 26. Students from the UMKC School of Dentistry volunteered at the event, delivering much-needed dental care to 200 local elementary students.

Sponsored by the United Way, more than 40 students and faculty from UMKC participated, providing initial dental screenings, X-rays and recommendations for what care the kids would need that day. Each year, dentistry and dental hygiene students participate in three TeamSmile events: at the Kansas City Chiefs, Royals and Sporting KC.

Started in Kansas City, TeamSmile is a national advocacy group that works with professional and college sports teams to provide children in need with a life-changing dental experience. For those youngsters who may have a fear of the dentist, seeing their favorite athletes can help put them at ease. The friendly faces of UMKC students help, as well.

Since the organization’s inception in 2007, UMKC School of Dentistry students and faculty have volunteered their time with TeamSmile. The organization provides comprehensive care to the children who participate, from preventive care such as fluoride treatments and cleaning to extractions and root canals.

“We’re incredibly proud to have been involved with TeamSmile for over a decade,” said Becky Smith, one of the faculty members who accompanied the students at the event. “It gives our students the opportunity to hone their skills, provide dental care to some of our youngest citizens of Kansas City, and help instill the importance of volunteerism going forward.”

Photos here.

School Staff Hosts Breakfast to Welcome Dean Haas

As the School of Dentistry staff has navigated throughout the past 18 months, there have been many changes and we have all adjusted and kept moving along. In introduction and celebration, the new dean of the SOD, Dr. Steven Haas, treated the staff to breakfast and hosted a meet & greet. Special thanks to Racquel Adams—(acting president of SOD Staff Council), Stephanie Stewart-Towns—UMKC Staff Council representative, Alexander Zier—Dean’s Office, Jeff Primos—Director of Business Administration, and of course Dean Haas for all of the breakfast event arrangements. Thank you to all of the staff for participating to celebrate one another as such an awesome team!

Photos here.

Making Smiles

MAKING SMILES: These hygiene bags were decorated by Senior dental hygiene students in the Anchor 314 Course: Interdisciplinary Oral Health Field Experiences decorated these dental hygiene bags for children aged 3-5 at Operation Breakthrough. The children will receive the bags, as well as custom oral health presentations from the students. This is an annual project for students to showcase their ability to tailor their oral health communication and promotion strategies to any age. The children at Operation Breakthrough receive consistent support in accessing their best oral health from a local community partner! #RoosDo

UMKC Dental Alumni Association Hosts the New Students Welcome Game at “The K”

The UMKC Dental Alumni Association once again hosted an annual night at “The K” complete with tailgate and the game, which featured the Kansas City Royals hosting the Cleveland Indians.  Guests of honor were the DDS Class of 2024 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2022 as well as the DDS Class of 2024 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2022 who sadly missed out on the tradition when it was postponed because of pandemic-related limitations last year.  There was a great turnout students, staff, faculty and alums, and while the Royals lost, the event was a lot of fun!

Find photos here.


School of Dentistry and Health Sciences Students Enjoy Annual Lunch…on the Lawn

Students from all UMKC Health Sciences schools enjoyed the annual Lunch on the Lawn and Campus Connections event, Wednesday, September 1, sponsored by the university Office of Student Involvement. The weather was great for the event held in the open common area adjoining the University’s Health Sciences Building. In addition to a hearty picnic style buffet lunch, attendees also had the opportunity visit with campus resources and organizations at the Campus Connections Fair.

Photos here.


14 School of Dentistry Faculty Trained to be Vaccinators

THANKS to School of Pharmacy colleagues (from left) Steven Stoner, Cydney McQueen, Leslie Cooney (P4 student) and Cameron Lindsey for taking time out of their busy schedules to train 14 School of Dentistry faculty to be vaccinators. Tackling the pandemic has been a true Health Sciences Campus collaboration, from nursing faculty helping train more than 100 dental students to be vaccinators to this latest training of some of our faculty.

Photos here.

Ready to Roll

The DDS Class of 2025 and DH Class of 2023 are ready to dive into their courses after wrapping up orientation on Friday with faculty panels, a joint presentation on the school’s culture of diversity and respect, and information on wider UMKC resources such as libraries and counseling services.

Precious K. Hollins traveled farther than most of her classmates to be a part of the School of Dentistry. “I am from the Mississippi Delta and got my undergraduate degree at Jackson State University. I am feeling very excited to be mentally stretched throughout these next four years.”

Though she’s from Mississippi, Hollins said she spent a great deal of her childhood in the St. Louis area, and STAHR Scholars Dentistry, a 10-week summer program that develops culturally diverse dentistry candidates, also helped her decide on UMKC.

Though the program had to go online because of the pandemic, she said, “STAHR made an amazing first impression on me. I virtually met some people who have been integral in my dental journey. It was nice to receive unconditional support from someone who never met me in person.”

Hollins summed up: “Dentistry is a complex challenge, and I love a good challenge!”

DH students also were happy to wrap up orientation and ready to start their courses. One DH student, Cameron Nhotharack, said, “I am feeling excitement heading into dental hygiene school. It’ll be a new experience and I am looking forward to learning more about dentistry.”

Nhotharack said she always wanted to work in health care, and dental hygiene piqued her interest the most when she did her career search. Nhotharack, a transfer student from Johnson County Community College, wanted to stay near her family and said she chose UMKC because unlike other area programs it offered a bachelor’s degree.

Another student, Francisco Flores from Lawrence, Kansas, typified the excitement of concluding orientation and heading into the school year.

“Since I was a junior in high school, I have seen the UMKC School of Dentistry as the place for me. What had always seemed a ways away is here. Dental school is no longer my future, but my reality, and I can’t wait to begin!”

Find photos here.

Getting Down to Business

After a Wednesday filled with photographs, computer synchronizing and mask fitting, the DDS Class of 2025 and DH Class of 2023 got better acquainted on Thursday and received a wealth of vital information.

The School of Dentistry’s new dean, Steven E. Haas, D.M.D, L.L.B., M.B.A., greeted the classes, as did Dr. Liz Kaz, associate dean for Academic Affairs, and Professor Tanya Mitchell, chair of the Division of Dental Hygiene and Richie Bigham, assistant dean for Student Programs.

Several information sessions followed on topics including curriculum, student services, building safety, school policies, opportunities to participate in student clubs and organizations, “learning how to learn” and handling their finances.

As the students got to know one another better, some talked about how relieved they had been last school year when they learned they had been accepted. A few other students mentioned that they had bypassed those anxious moments by using the school’s RAP — Reserved Admissions Program.

The DDS and DH programs have reserved admissions, which allow top Missouri and Kansas residents, to apply for a reserved seat in a future DDS class while they are in their sophomore year of college, or to apply for a future DH spot when they are high school seniors. Accepted students must meet criteria for academics and service and then can bypass the tradition admissions process.

“I grew up in Overland Park and have been talking to the dental school about the RAP program since high school,” said Michael Gimotty III. “That definitely took out a lot of stress from this whole process and made everything much simpler.”

Gimotty, who got his undergraduate degree in finance from Oral Roberts University, said he chose dentistry “because I really want to be able to help people in a practical way and bring them healing,” and UMKC because of its solid clinical base. “I see dentistry as one of the best ways to do this and am excited to be able to use these skills in the future.”

Among the new DH students, Kansas City native Shairry Lene admitted being “super nervous” to start school but said being admitted through the DH Reserved Admissions Program “took a huge weight off my shoulders since this program is so competitive! I had to keep up with grades, shadowing, and volunteering to continue in the program.”

She added: “What drew me to dental hygiene was the flexibility and being able to help others. However, I am starting to realize how I also want to be an advocate for this field and share the importance of hygiene, which so many know little about.”

Orientation will conclude Friday with faculty panels, a joint presentation on the school’s culture of diversity and respect, and information on wider UMKC resources such as libraries and counseling services.

Photos here.