Interest in Helping Native Americans Leads Student to Dental School

Shanon Black, mother of three, pursues healthcare field to work on reservations

Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Shanon Black ’22
Hometown: Lawrence, Kansas
Degree Program: Doctor of Dental Surgery
High school: Lawrence High School

An interest in healthcare and a focus on making a difference for Native American communities led Shanon Black to the UMKC School of Dentistry. While the program is as challenging as she expected, the mother of three is successfully juggling school and life.

Shanon Black knew she wanted to be on the frontline of health care and make a difference for Native American communities. Initially, she was focused on medical school because of the shortage of native doctors on reservations. But one of her professors suggested she explore dentistry.

“I decided to take a look,” Black says. “A representative from the UMKC diversity office visited Haskell University later that week.”

Read the full interview.

Midwest Dental Conference Cancelled Due to COVID-19

Dear MDC attendees:

It is with much regret that we announce that the 2020 Midwest Dental Conference and all related events and activities, April 16 – 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri, have been cancelled due to spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under the authority of Mayor Quinton Lucas’s State of Emergency proclamation, and per new Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, no events or gatherings with 50 or more attendees will be allowed in Kansas City for the next eight weeks. With this new information, we must safeguard the health of all attendees, guests, presenters, exhibitors and staff who are a part of the event. As part of our larger dental family, we want to do all we can to help ensure your safety.

All registered attendees will receive a full refund for registration via the method used at time of registration in the coming weeks. We appreciate your patience; with a large number of registrants it will take a while to facilitate all the refunds but we promise we will get to you and hope you understand we will be working as hard as we can while also insuring the safety of our staff.

Please contact your hotel directly for cancellation of your reservations. hotel has informed us that guests may cancel their reservation for no charge until two (2) days prior to arrival. Please note that the hotel will assess a fee equal to one (1) night room and tax if the reservation is cancelled after this deadline, so we do urge you to contact the hotel sooner rather than later.

To contact the Sheraton at Crown Center, please call: (816) 841-1000 or (866) 716-8134

To contact the Westin Crown Center, please call: (816) 474-4400 or (800) 228-3000

Most major airlines are currently waiving change and/or cancellation fees for tickets purchased, but please check with your individual airline to confirm.

We would like to thank all involved with the conference for your support and understanding as we did not come to this decision lightly during this challenging time.

We hope to see you at the 2021 Midwest Dental Conference April 15 – 18, 2021.

For more information about the Coronavirus, frequently asked questions, or how to mitigate the transmission of the disease, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control.

We know that with the cancellation of the Midwest Dental Conference, it may be difficult to find alternative ways to get your continuing education credits. The UMKC School of Dentistry’s Continuing Education Program full course listing can be found here: We invite you to join us for our upcoming courses, including our webinars this summer.

We are a proud ADA CERP Recognized Provider and an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry (Provider number 214214). In addition to our program, we suggest taking a look at the ADA’s continuing education programs, available here:, as well as the AGD’s continuing education program, available here: Both offer a selection of online courses.

Pediatric Clinic’s Always Ready to Give Kids a Smile

When her son, Dillon, had serious dental issues, Monica Konrade knew where to turn — the pediatric clinic at the UMKC School of Dentistry.

“Dillon did not have proper enamel on his teeth, as it would flake off, so his risk for cavity and decay was much higher, and even with consistent care and cleaning at home he already needed four crowns at age 3,” Konrade said. “I knew this was going to be a long process from the beginning and wanted to be where he was going to be on the edge of options and treatments and still get the best care.”

The brightly decorated pediatric clinic is welcoming to all children, whether their dental needs are routine or out of the ordinary. With some area dentists donating their time, along with expert pediatric faculty supervising third-year DDS students and second-year hygienists, the staff is up for any challenges.

Konrade knew about the clinic because her parents brought her there when she was a child. Now when it’s time for Dillon’s checkup, she drives an hour and a half from her family’s home in Lebo, Kansas, and says it’s worth the trek.

“It was such a comfort as the students and professors assured me it was not lack of care or poor parenting, as I was feeling like a failure,” she said. “We were presented with a plan not just for treatment, but also for Dillon’s comfort and attention to his needs, to make sure seeing the dentist and getting these procedures would not be traumatizing.”

At the end of his latest visit, Dillon was all smiles. Though the clinic offers top-notch care all year, February is an especially fun time to visit. It’s Children’s Dental Health Month, during which the American Dental Association’s Give Kids a Smile program promotes the benefits of good oral health to children and to their caregivers and teachers. This is the 15th year UMKC has participated in the program, which makes extra toys, story books and coloring exercises available for children.

“It’s always fun to get a prize after the appointment,” Konrade said. “This time he got more prizes.”

And Dillon deserved them for being a particularly patient patient.

“Sitting still for close to two and a half hours is a long time for a young child,” Konrade said, “so any extra incentive to be calm and still during treatment is wonderful.”

Third-year dental student Josh Wilhelm took care of Dillon on his latest visit and said he was a great patient.

The clinic gives Wilhelm and his classmates important experience in caring for children and interacting with parents. And though he isn’t considering going into pediatric dentistry at this point, Wilhelm enjoys the experience.

“It’s fun to be around patients who are excited to see the dentist,” he said. “That’s not always the case.”

Though getting Dillon the best care is why they come to the UMKC clinic, Konrade said, it is a nice bonus to help students.

She and her husband, Jason, both have medical education backgrounds, in nursing and physical therapy. As a result, she said, “We understand, from when it was our turn to practice our newly acquired skills, how valuable it is to have patients. We hope that the student doctors come away with just as much positive experience and growth as Dillon and I have.”

Find photos here.

No Shortage of Talent – or Fun

Valentine’s Day was made extra special at the School of Dentistry when the Student National Dental Association / Hispanic Dental Association produced the annual Staff, Faculty & Student Variety Show. The noontime show at the School of Dentistry offered comedy, dance, instrumental music and several vocalists in styles ranging from folk and pop to opera.

The mistresses of ceremonies were Njeri Penda (D3), SNDA/HSDA President and Kim Kha (D3), SNDA/HSDA Vice Presidents.

Performers included:

Janette Martinez, (Office Support Assistant-Dental Clinic), performed a humor routine

Shanon Black (D3) and Katie Baker (DH 2021) performed crowd-pleasing songs from classic rock favorites.

Darby Lewis (DH 2021) entertained the crowd with an Irish Step Dance

Erin Gilmore (Sr. Technical Support Assistant-BMC), and Brenda Everhart, (Officer Supervisor-Dental Hygiene) performed solos in opera and gospel.

Dr. Robert Hurst (Assistant Clinical Professor, Restorative), Katherine Hayes and Luke Komotos (D2s) and Casey Aschinger (D1) played guitar and/or ukulele while singing original songs.

The welcoming and closing remarks were given by faculty advisers, Dr. Tiffany Tavares (Clinical Assistant Professor, Oral Pathology) and Derek William (Clinical Associate Professor, Restorative)

Photos here.

Delta Sigma Delta Conference Brings Chapters Together

The UMKC chapter of Delta Sigma Delta played host to about 70 people on Saturday for a Midwest regional conference. Besides UMKC dental students and UMKC’s Graduate Chapter, chapters came from the Universities of Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota, along with the chapter from AT Still University.

Megan Yamaguchi, a third-year dental student, was a key organizer for the conference. “The meeting went very well,” Yamaguchi said. “What stood out most to me was the instant camaraderie among the members from each of the different fraternity chapters. Even though it was the first time many of us met, it felt like we were reunited with old friends.”

The conference program included guest speakers from the UMKC faculty, Dr. Ahmed Zarrough and Dr. Arpana Naidu; short presentations from members of the five fraternities in attendance; a tour of the dental school; and lunch at the Diastole Scholars’ Center.

“The camaraderie and friendships made through this meeting will aid in our success as future dental professionals,” Yamaguchi said.

Delta Sigma Delta, founded Nov. 15, 1882, is the oldest and largest of the international professional dental fraternities.

Photos here.

Dr. Justin Tullis Defends Oral & Craniofacial Sciences Thesis

Dr. Justin Tullis’ Oral & Craniofacial Sciences thesis defense exam was held on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.  The title of his thesis is “INFLUENCE OF SUTURE TECHNIQUE ON RIDGE DIMENSIONS AND KERATINIZED TISSUE AFTER ALVEOLAR RIDGE PRESERVATION: A PILOT STUDY”.  Dr. Tullis attended dental school in Texas and will complete the Advanced Education Program in Periodontics later this spring and is planning to practice in Colorado.

Photos here.


Dr. Sarah Dallas named a University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor

Dr. Sarah Dallas, Professor in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the UMKC School of Dentistry, recently named a University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor. This honor is in recognition of her exemplary service to the University of Missouri. Dr. Dallas’ many contributions to higher education through teaching, research, and engagement bring great credit to the University of Missouri-Kansas city and the University of Missouri System.

Congratulations to Dr. Dallas for this richly deserved honor!

You Could Be Eligible for Free Dental Work and Cleaning

Been a while since you took care of your teeth? Sign up for a no-charge screening.

“Free stuff” usually means a T-shirt, a coupon, or maybe a sandwich. But how about hundreds of dollars’ worth of free dental care?

That’s what UMKC dental and dental hygiene students are offering, starting with no-charge screenings to see whether patients qualify for further free care.

And what’s in it for the students? The work they do will be part of the testing they must pass to be certified as dentists or dental hygienists.

Fred Drummond, a fourth-year dental student, explained: “On Feb. 15, we are having a screening and taking X-rays to see if patients qualify for free dental care that we can use for our board exams. It is also a great way to take the first steps in becoming a patient at UMKC School of Dentistry. We are looking for individuals that need deep cleanings and may need small cavities filled.”

“This will help us graduate, but we also want to reach out and provide free treatment and dental screenings to community members who otherwise wouldn’t have dental treatment.” – Nuvia Lemus Diaz

Read more here …