For more information

John L. Cottrell
Director of Minority and Special Programs
UMKC School of Dentistry
650 E. 25th St., Kansas City, MO 64108
816/235-2085 or 235-2080

People with speech or hearing impairments can call:
800/735-2466 (Voice).

Great Start Program

This program has a three-fold purpose for elementary students. One, to give children early exposure to the field of dentistry by showing them what occurs during a dental office visit. Secondly, to aid in alleviating dental fears and promoting positive preventive dentistry, via role-playing and hands-on experiences. The third purpose of the program in to stimulate the children’s interest in dentistry as a viable career. Interaction with dental students of color will help students realize that individuals like themselves are successful in the field of dentistry.


  • Role play a dental office visit
  • Rotate through several dental stations
  • Demonstrations of proper way to brush and floss teeth
  • Hands-on exercises such as filling teeth and playing with puppets
  • Interaction with dental students of color
  • Free handouts (i.e. materials and dental supplies)


  • Express an interest in dental students visiting your site.
  • Agree to provide adequate staff supervision of children.
  • Assist with clean-up.
  • Reinforce the benefits oral health care and regular dental office visits.


  • To pre-expose children to a dental office experience and eliminate or minimize fears about dental office visits.
  • To reinforce the benefits of cooperative behavior and preventive dental care.
  • To stimulate children’s interest in dentistry as a favorable and achievable career via their interaction with dental students of color.

Eligible Groups

Day care, elementary and middle schools in the Kansas City Metropolitan area


Ideally, a two week advanced notice is desired. However, final determination will be contingent upon the dental students’ availability.