Dr. Roy J. Rinehart Foundation Welcomes New Students with a BBQ Lunch and UMKC Pullover

The Dr. Roy J. Rinehart Foundation invited the DDS Class of 2026 and the Dental Hygiene Class of 2024 to a BBQ lunch catered by Jack Stack on Thursday, September 1st.   Lunch was followed by remarks about foundation from Nicole Riggs, DDS Class of 2024 president and foundation board member and outgoing foundation chair, Dr. David Suchman, DDS Class of 2000, a meet and greet and then the highlight of the event when embroidered UMKC pullovers were handed out.

Find photos here.


Orientation Concludes for DDS Class of 2026 and DH Class of 2024 – Friday Activities

It started pancake breakfast, a long-standing school tradition, and the final day of orientation got underway on Friday, August 19th.  Dean Steven Haas formally welcomed the classes to the school and their professions and introduced the school’s administrative team and department chairs with each extending their welcome to the school family and brief comments on their respective clinical programs.  Each class took a group photo and then had the opportunity to meet some of their faculty who helped walk them through their initial student experience and did a lively Q&A.  They had lunch and the opportunity to socialize over a variety of table games, some of which got really competitive.  And lots of plans were made for the last free weekend before classes begin Monday.

Enjoy the photos here.

Find the DDS Class of 2026 and DH Class of 2024 group photos here



School Welcomes New Advanced Ed Residents

The school recently welcomed residents for three Advanced Education Program Residencies.

Advanced Education Program in Endodontics

Dr. Anne Kim (UCLA) and Dr. Adam Bennett (A.T. Still Univ, AZ)


Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency Program

(L-R) Dr. Ali Edrisi (Nova Southeastern), Dr. Brandon Golub (Univ of Pacific), and Dr. Dakota McKenzie (Columbia Univ, NY)


Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

L-R) Dr. Charlie Boehm (UMKC), Dr. Brandon Knapp (Univ of Utah), and Dr. Brandon Simister (Univ of Utah)

Nik Wickerhauser UMKC SCADA Competition Winner

On July 21, the UMKC Summer Scholars program held a closed poster competition to select the UMKC representative for the 2023 Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application (SCADA), which will be held in March 2023 at the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) meeting in Portland, OR. Judges for the competition were Drs. Mark Johnson, JoAnna Scott, and Melanie Simmer-Beck. A table with all the summer scholars, mentors and their research projects is included below.

We’re pleased to announce that Nik Wickerhauser was selected as the winner to represent UMKC at the AADOCR meeting SCADA competition next year. Nik’s poster title was ‘Photopolymerizable proanthocyanidins on durability of dentin bonding and MMPs activity.’

Please join us in congratulating Nik on this accomplishment! We also want to congratulate the other scholars on their excellent performances at the poster competition. This was a very close competition, and it was apparent that the scholars and their mentors dedicated considerable time and effort to prepare the presentations. While Nik will represent UMKC at AADOCR for the national SCADA competition, all of the Summer Scholars will attend the meeting and present posters at the general session.

Pictured above (left to right):
Dr. Mary Walker (Program Director), Francisco Flores, Adam Sattler, Nik Wickerhauser, Daniel Archibong, Seth Hofheins

2022-23 Summer Scholars, Mentors, and Projects

Scholar Name Mentor(s) Project Title
Daniel Archibong Dr. Bumann, Ms. Portia Hahn Leat The Role of YAP and TAZ in Osteocytes to Regulate Craniofacial Bone Morphogenesis
Francisco Flores Dr. Petrie, Dr. Walker Longevity of digital restorations performed in a predoctoral clinical curriculum
Seth Hofheins Dr. R. Wang, Dr. Y. Wang Benign, pre-malignant, and malignant oral biopsy tissue evaluation using vibrational spectroscopic imaging
Adam Sattler Dr. Satheesh, Dr. MacNeill Factors influencing acceptance of periodontal treatment recommendations in Periodontics Residency
Nik Wickerhauser Dr. Y. Wang, Dr. Hass

Photopolymerizable proanthocyanidins on durability of dentin bonding and MMPs activity

Dr. Lance Godley Named Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs

After a national search and review of the results from the search committee, Dean Steven Haas announced Dr. Lance Godley as the new Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs.

Dr. Godley completed his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Florida State University and his Doctorate in Dental Medicine from the University of Florida. He also has a Master of Education degree from the American College of Education and is currently pursuing an M.B.A. Further, he is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists.

Dr. Godley practiced general dentistry in Naples, FL, for over eighteen years before joining UMKC in 2015 and beginning his full-time academic career. Since coming to UMKC, he has been appointed Interim Director of Faculty Practice, Interim Director of Clinical Operations, Vice-Chair of the Restorative Clinical Sciences department and served as our Interim Dean for Clinical Programs. He has spent a significant amount of his time teaching and serving as course director for several courses, including Treatment Planning, Operative I Lecture, and Operative II Lab. He has a role nationally with the American Dental Association with an appointment to the Dental Licensing Objective Structured Clinical Examination Test Construction, was appointed to the NBDE Part II Test Construction and is a CODA site visitor in the area of Clinical Sciences. He has been involved with the scholarship of teaching and learning, including as a coauthor publishing papers in the Journal of Dental Education and the European Journal of Dental Education.

West Meets East – UMKC Dental Hygiene Students Host Dental Hygiene Students from Korea

West met East when faculty and students from the school’s Division of Dental Hygiene recently hosted Dental Hygiene Students and Faculty from Jinju Health College (South Korea). They were visiting as a part of an exchange program with the University of Missouri to learn about the school’s dental hygiene education program and also visit some dental practices. It offered a great opportunity for cultural exchange and allow the students to interact and learn from each other.

Photos at https://photos.app.goo.gl/uLB3Ko8Yiosm9YwR8

Passion for Research Furthered by Mentor

Student, professor share focus, outlook

Roos don’t just dream, they do. Our students turn ideas into action every day. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Claire Houchen
Graduation year: Spring 2024
UMKC degree program: M.S. Informatics
Hometown: Louisburg, Kansas

In the final year of her undergraduate studies, Claire Houchen was looking to expand her research experience. She recognized the value of mentorship early in her career, so she emailed a former professor who helped her make a valuable connection.

Houchen, M.S. bioinformatics ’24, was able to meet with Erin Bumann, D.D.S., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences just before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

“I had a good feeling,” Houchen says. “I felt like this was the right place for me and the right time.”

Bumann was impressed by Houchen’s accomplishments, which included working in a research lab immediately after high school.

You could tell that Claire was someone who was really ambitious, dedicated and interested. All of those things are very important when getting started in a research lab,” Bumann says.

Bumann had mentors who were instrumental to her success when she was a student.

“Without the mentorship I received during my undergraduate studies, dental school and post doctoral training, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in today,” Bumann says.

Both women agree that a strong connection between the mentor and mentee is important to the relationship.

“Dr. Bumann and I have a constant flow of conversation,” Houchen says. “We are always talking about everything related to our careers. I think this impacts my professional journey as well as my educational one.”

Bumann notes that one of the keys to a successful mentor/mentee relationship is that both sides are willing to invest significant time and focus to make the experience successful.

“Compassion, honesty and an investment in growth are important, and I think that needs to come from both sides,” Bumann says. “And this is true of Claire, but in general one of the most wonderful things about having students in the lab is the energy it brings.”

Despite the camaraderie, biomedical science is challenging. Mentor support can make a difference.

“When we’re doing experiments on the bench, failure is inevitable and that’s tough,” Houchen says. “Sometimes it’s discouraging and overwhelming, but you learn from it and move forward. In addition, navigating science culture can be challenging, especially if your position is underrepresented. At times, I think the way that Dr. Bumann challenges me is just by telling me to hang in there. It’s easier said than done, but it’s helpful to have someone walk you through what it looks like.”

While there are formal mentoring programs in place, Bumann encourages students not to wait for a professor or someone else to suggest it.

“Lots of people are willing to mentor students, but the student may need to initiate. Just put yourself out there. You never know how a mentoring relationship might change your life.”

Houchen has reached out to potential mentors throughout her education. She agrees that students may need to take the initiative, but they are likely to benefit.

“As an undergraduate I had a biology professor who I respected. I really enjoyed talking to her and would go to her office hours. I’m still in touch with her.”

Bumann has witnessed Houchen in the mentoring role as well.

“Claire helps the undergraduates in the lab with their projects, so not only is she growing from mentoring herself, but she is taking it to the next level and being a mentor for others.”

Story by: Patricia O’Dell, odellpa@umkc.edu

$100 Million Project Planned for Health Sciences District

New multi-story building will expand classrooms and teaching clinics, spur research and development

The University of Missouri-Kansas City is poised to begin work on a new interprofessional health sciences building in the UMKC Health Sciences District, housing new, state-of-the-art dental teaching clinics and expanded medical school teaching facilities.

The multi-story, $100 million project also will serve as a home for the university’s Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center and Biomedical Engineering program. This project will take the Health Sciences District to the next level, accelerating health care access and equity for the community and sparking development to turn the campus into a regional draw, igniting entrepreneurship and economic growth for the city and region.

The state of Missouri has appropriated $40 million for the building in legislation signed by Gov. Mike Parson on July 1. This appropriation comes with a challenge to the Kansas City community to raise the additional $60 million to build the $100 million project.

The project has broad and enthusiastic support from the City of Kansas City, Jackson County and multiple business, civic and economic development organizations. The project will add impact and momentum to the burgeoning growth underway in the district – including recent additions such as Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s $200 million Research Institute tower, the $70 million University Health 2 medical office building and the $45 million University Health 1 building.

Civic leaders view the UMKC project as a next step toward the launch of a comprehensive development plan for the district.

“A united medical and dental building will be a signature facility, as there is only one such institution in the country with this combined learning and clinical environment,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. “The project will spark an expansion of the entire UMKC Health Sciences District that could dramatically expand health care in Kansas City, attract top faculty and researchers and new private investment that could create new jobs and eventually contribute billions to the Kansas City economy.”

Academic medical centers in San Antonio, Memphis and Denver, among others across the country, have transformed districts with an estimated multibillion regional economic impact annually.

Additionally, an interprofessional health building allows for increased collaboration among health care fields, which creates a greater capacity for developing health solutions and providing patient care. UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the country where dentistry, medicine, nursing and health studies, and pharmacy share a single, walkable campus, which underscores the need to continue to provide opportunities for collaboration among the health sciences.

UMKC will occupy the first several floors of the project and additional floors may be available to public partners for medical office space, clinical space and other uses. Here’s what will be housed in the UMKC space:

School of Dentistry

These state-of-the-art clinics will attract some of the best students and faculty from the region, making UMKC competitive with top schools across the country. In addition, UMKC will have increased space to continue its important work in serving the underserved – delivering almost $1 million in uncompensated care to those who otherwise might not get treatment. With a new interprofessional medical building, the next generation of dentists can be taught to deliver better dental care at a lower cost. Another benefit will be the expansion of dental emergency services, which will lower the number of dental emergencies seen at hospital emergency rooms and continue to make first-rate dental care more accessible to the community.

School of Medicine

The new building will provide state of the art educational facilities for UMKC medical students and programs, such as space for more simulation labs, which lead to better training for students and better care for the community. The expansion also will allow for necessary infrastructure changes to improve the school, including increased capacity for digitization with additional space for fiberoptic cables, improved air flow throughout the building and expanded classroom space.

Biomedical Engineering

Proximity between doctors and developers of medical devices is paramount, and this new building will foster faster, more effective collaboration between engineers and medical professionals to accelerate product development in areas such as imaging technology, implants and microsurgery tools. UMKC will expand its ability for creating new technology, generating innovations for products and patents with the potential to work with companies to develop and produce them.

Data Science and Analytics Innovation Center

Through its expertise in data science, UMKC and its clinical partners are ushering forward a new era of personalized health care — one that will treat diseases based on individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle, rather than a traditional one-size-fits-all approach. The data center’s work will drive innovation in a variety of domains, ranging from health care and business intelligence to agriculture and digital humanities.


Story by: John Martellaro, Strategic Marketing and Communications

GEHA Solutions Invests $250,000 into Oral Health Equity Philanthropy, Focused on Diversifying Dentistry and Dental Hygiene

Partnerships with the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Dentistry; BrownGirl, RDH; and Chiefs Flag Football, Powered By GEHA address health inequities.

GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc., pronounced G.E.H.A.) has a storied history of supporting its community with intentional giving, starting in 1937 when the organization was created to help fellow postal clerks after the Great Depression.

This spirit carries through to today, where philanthropic efforts are focused around health equity and positively impacting the social determinants of health. The oral health focus of GEHA Solutions, Inc., a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary of GEHA, has provided an opportunity to make a significant vote toward change by investing in three areas that affect community health.

Within the dental and dental hygiene fields, many communities of color are underrepresented within these industries. According to the American Dental Association, fewer than 11% of American dentists come from African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander backgrounds, compared with these groups comprising 34.4% of the U.S. population. This can affect long-term health outcomes in many ways: apprehension and omission of care appointments, cultural and language misunderstandings and peer-to-peer dentist learning opportunities to better serve patients. To create meaningful, sustainable change, GEHA Solutions has created a $150,000 scholarship and fellowship investment with the University of Missouri–Kansas City’s (UMKC) School of Dentistry to fund opportunities for students representing historically marginalized communities to advance within these industries.

Representing the largest gift of its kind to the UMKC’s School of Dentistry’s Dr. Roy James Rinehart Memorial Foundation in more than a decade, these investments include five $20,000 dental scholarships, five $5,000 dental hygiene scholarships, and five $5,000 pre-dental fellowships to prepare rising dental school students for testing and interviews. Engagement opportunities throughout the school year with GEHA leaders will also assist in preparing these students for future successes. “GEHA Solutions and the School of Dentistry share a mutual interest in culturally diversifying the oral health workforce through the dental and dental hygiene programs at UMKC,” said Steven E. Haas, DMD, JD, MBA, UMKC School of Dentistry dean. “GEHA Solutions’ generosity will help alleviate some of our potential and current students’ financial burdens and allow them to better focus on their goals. The scholarships GEHA Solutions is providing also will help us to attract and retain the best qualified and most strongly motivated historically marginalized students who seek to represent their communities. We are so very grateful for this unique partnership.”

Consistent with this theme, GEHA Solutions has partnered with national nonprofit BrownGirl, RDH for a $50,000 investment in scholarships and continuing education opportunities for historically marginalized communities pursuing a career in dental hygiene. When most of a patient’s dental experience is spent with a dental hygienist, the opportunity for impact toward health equity was a strategic investment for industry growth. These 16 need-based scholarships will be provided to students throughout the United States, ranging from coverage of tuition to dental loupes and equipment. GEHA Solutions will also be the first presenting partner of the 2022 BrownGirl, RDH Leadership Conference, Presented by GEHA Solutions, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, from November 11–13. “Four years ago, an organization like BrownGirl, RDH did not exist. Today, not only are we nationally recognized, but we have brought to the forefront the lack of diversity in dentistry and the importance of introducing the field of dental hygiene to minority students,” said Martelle Coke, founder of BrownGirl, RDH. “BrownGirl, RDH is proud to partner with GEHA Solutions to continue propelling our mission forward.”

Youth sports communities offer great experiences for wellness and mobility, but with this comes a risk for oral impact injuries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard. In the spirit of using GEHA’s partnership with the Kansas City Chiefs as an intentional tool for health equity and community collaboration, GEHA Solutions will provide 20,000 GEHA/Chiefs co-branded mouthguards to the youth participants of the Chiefs Flag Football, Powered By GEHA program this summer. Providing these safety tools allows for participating families to experience one less expense as an entry point to physical team activities.

“From minimizing youth sports injuries to allowing more communities to see themselves in dental and dental hygiene care, GEHA Solutions is committed to being a bridge toward improved oral health and inclusive oral health practices,” said Richard Bierman, J.D., GEHA Solutions President. “Through these intentional partnerships, our investments can evolve population health through students’ lived and academic experiences. We hope that this diversified strategy around health equity inspires others to take action, as well.”

About GEHA
GEHA (Government Employees Health Association, Inc., pronounced G.E.H.A.), founded in 1937, is a nonprofit member association and the largest dental and second largest medical benefit provider of federal employees exclusively serving 2 million current employees and retirees, military retirees and their families. GEHA’s mission, to empower members to be healthy and well, is demonstrated through its focus on innovation as well as providing members with access to one of the largest medical provider networks nationwide.
Headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, GEHA is one of the largest employers in the Kansas City metro area. For more information, visit www.geha.com.

About GEHA Solutions, Inc.
GEHA Solutions is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of GEHA established in 1997 to market GEHA’s Connection Dental® Network as a solution to lower claims costs for dental payers. Today, GEHA Solutions offers multiple dental PPO networks for lease, as well as a Medicare Advantage Network Option. As one of the nation’s leading dental network leasing companies, GEHA Solutions’ dental networks improve accessibility for clients such as third-party administrators, insurance companies and self-insured employer groups.

About BrownGirl, RDH
Founded in 2018, BrownGirl, RDH (Registered Dental Hygienist) is a non-profit organization promoting cultural diversity within the dental hygiene field. BrownGirl, RDH offers scholarships and supplemental support to dental hygiene students covering costs outside of tuition. These include clinical supplies, equipment, loupes and national and clinical board fees. For more information, visit browngirlrdh.org.

from UMKC Today, your home for all news from UMKC

story by Bryce Puntenney, UMKC MCOM