Explorer Summer 2020 – School News


Student News


Dr. Nuvia Lemus-Diaz, DDS Class of 2020, was selected as a Dean of Students Honor Recipient for Spring 2020 for significant contributions to the University and community while maintaining high academic performance.


UMKC dental students provide care through TeamSmile.

World Champion Kansas City Chiefs’ punter Dustin Colquitt has long championed TeamSmile, a national advocacy group that provides children in need with a life-changing dental experience through the power of sports. Since the organization’s inception, UMKC School of Dentistry students and faculty have also worked hand-in-hand in this amazing effort. Read more.

On MLK Day, School of Dentistry volunteers service for thousands of smiles

Students, faculty and staff assembled 2,000 dental-care supply kits for distribution to points of need throughout the community. It was the second year for the dental school’s MLK Day of Service, and the number of kits was double the output of a year ago.  Read more.

Senior Scholarship Day goes virtual

Usually held in person each spring, the Division of Dental Hygiene hosted the annual Senior Scholarship Day using video conferencing technology. It provided members of the dental hygiene class of 2020 an opportunity to present highlights of practicums and patient cases. Students also presented their poster presentations that would have been presented at the annual Midwest Dental Conference. Open to the school, the event allows junior dental hygiene students to look ahead at the senior year of the program while allowing the school community an opportunity to share in their scholarship and achievements.  Photos from the event.

Free clinic recognizes UMKC student, professor

Yasmin Hussein, DDS 2020, and Dr. Eileen Cocjin, Clinical Assistant Professor, department of Pediatric Dentistry, were honored by the JayDoc Free Clinic as its Dental Night Student Volunteer of the Year and Volunteer Dentist of the Year. Read more.

Delta Sigma Delta conference brings chapters together

The school’s Chapter of Delta Sigma Delta fraternity hosted its Midwest regional conference in February 2020, which attracted 70 participants representing chapters from the universities of Colorado, Iowa and Minnesota; AT Still University; as well as UMKC and the UMKC graduate chapter. Read more.

Caring for kids – at the holidays and year-round

The School of Dentistry shows its dedication to caring for children in many ways, including through its pediatric clinic facilities and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Student Club. Each year, the club gives back to the community during the holidays by adopting a family through the Salvation Army. Read more.

Faculty and Research News



Congratulations to Dr. Mabel Salas, Department of Periodontics, who was recently appointed to the American Board of Periodontics as an Examiner.



Dr. Tanya Gibson, Department of Oral Pathology, Radiology and Medicine has been awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor.



Professor Julie Sutton, Division of Dental Hygiene, has been awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor.




School of Dentistry researcher helps discover new strain of HIV

Dr. Carol McArthur, professor, department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, and a recognized researcher in the area of HIV/Aids, recently consulted with West Virginia and Senator Joe Manchin’s office on testing options for COVID-19 cases thought to have foundational parallels to HIV/Aids. The senator’s office acknowledged McArthur’s “significant impact you have had on our state.” McArthur recently played a role on a research team that discovered a new strain of HIV. Read more.

SOD faculty well-represented through honors and industry publications

Dr. Paul Hansen, clinical associate professor, department of Restorative Clinical Sciences, published an article “Evaluation by experienced clinicians to determine precise interproximal contacts,” Hansen PA, Beatty M, in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Vol 123, Issue 2 (2020).  Dr. Hansen is also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Prosthodontics.


Dr. Sarah Dallas, professor in the department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the UMKC School of Dentistry, was recently named a University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor. This honor is in recognition of her exemplary service to the University of Missouri. Dallas brings many contributions to higher education through teaching, research and engagement and is a great credit to both the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri System.  Dallas also was recently recognized for authoring an an article published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. The title,  A Novel Osteogenic Cell Line That Differentiates Into GFP‐Tagged Osteocytes and Forms Mineral With a Bone‐Like Lacunocanalicular Structure, was among the top 10 percent most-  downloaded papers.

Dr. Tim Cox, professor and endowed chair in Dental & Mineralized Tissue Research, department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, is an author on two publications: The Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology 42nd Annual Meeting, Eisenhoffer, G.T., Clouthier, D., Cox T.C., Saint-Jeannet, J-P., Taneyhill, L.A., Trainor P.A., Moody S.A. (2020). American Journal of Medical Genetics part AAvailable online ahead of print.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.a.61602 and CDH1 mutation distribution and type suggests genetic differences between the etiology of orofacial clefting and gastric cancer, Selvanathan, A., Nixon, C.Y., Zhu, Y., Scietti, L., Forneris, F., Moreno-Uribe, L.M., Lidral, A.C., Jezewski, P.A., Mulliken, J.B., Murray, J.C., Buckley, M.F., Cox, T.C., Roscioli, T. (2020). Genes (Special Issue: Molecular Genetics of Facial Traits & Malformations)  https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11040391.

Also of note, a former student of Cox is cited as first author on recent article of direct interest to the dental community, Rapamycin rejuvenates oral health in aging mice , An, J.Y.,  Kerns, K.A., Ouellette, A., Robinson, L., Morris, D., Kaczorowski, C., Park, S-I., Mekvanich, T.,  Kang, A., McLean, J.S., Cox, T.C., Kaeberlein, M. (2020). eLife available online  https://elifesciences.org/articles/54318.

New Faculty

Professor Bethany Palesh has joined the faculty as a clinical assistant professor in the department of Periodontics. She received her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from the University of Detroit Mercy (’15) and a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (’19) from the University of Michigan. Professor Palesh was previously focused on clinical care for over 10 years before transitioning into full-time academia. In 2018, she led a team of dental professionals in Zambia to provide oral health assessments to over 500 students at Lifesong for Orphans.

Dr. Yasko Darkoue (BDS ’09) has joined the faculty as a clinical assistant professor in the department of Restorative Clinical Sciences. He received a certificate in Advanced Esthetics Restorative Dentistry (Hons) and a Master of Science in Dentistry (Hons) from the UAB School of Dentistry (’19). His research and clinical work was published and presented at national and international conferences and received an award from UAB at the UAB Scholars Symposium 2019.

Dr. Gustavo Leal has joined the faculty as a clinical assistant professor in the department of restorative clinical sciences. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala City Guatemala (’98) and his certificate in Prosthodontics from the University of Iowa (’02). Before joining the staff at the UMKC School of Dentistry, Leal taught at a university in Guatemala and ran a private practice.

Transitioning Students

The Dental Class of 2022 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2021 will soon be welcomed to the clinical phase of their educational programs. The traditional ceremony and reception marking this occasion has been postponed due to limitations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud of the students and recognize those reaching this momentous milestone.

DDS Class of 2022

Gabrielle Abney Zaynab Hussam
Lena Adams Reem Hussein
Meshal Alborno Marise Ibrahim
John Allen Mahzad Jalil
Kurt Anderson Justin Jirovec
Will Argana Taylor Johnson
Umair Bajwa Dallin Josephson
Faisal Ballam Luke Komotos
Bradley Barnes James Krampe
Megan Bearden Stephanie Kubik
Jumanah Behbehani Nicole Kurlbaum
Sam Bertholf Thomas Lawlis
Shanon Black Esther Luo
Ali Bo-Abbas Gerald Lutz
Richard Boehm Samantha Mahaffey
Anna Bowden Ali Mahdhi
Bryce Boyd Katherine Mattingly
Marie Brancato Kevin Mattingly
Alexandra Bresnahan Shannon McCaul
Charles Brinker Roda Mena
Jared Buescher Taylor Michitsch
Andrew Byrne Idean Mohammadi
Baylie Carroll Felipe Mohr
Drew Chatter Gavin Montalvo
Nghi Chau Taylar Morgan
Megan Ching Caleb Murray
Sunghee Choi Mollie Northern
Olivia Collins Grant Oehler
Walter Cook Dev Patel
Garrett Craigmiles Molly Petrie
Jacob DeBeir Daniel Prywitch
Samvid Desai Mahaam Qadeer
Kellie Drummerth Namana Rao
Oghenerukevwe Erhenede Tevin Renken
Anna Everson Marvin Rice
Anna Faulkner Katye Skrivan
Jack Fawcett Bryan Smith
Mitchell Finder Nicholas Smith
Tiara Fry Sun Young Song
Catelynn Garde Mikayla Stevens
Kyle Gardner Adnan Syed
Cassidy Garling Kathryn Teruya
Mary Goedert Glenn Teubner
Jackson Green Brendan Thomeczek
Ryan Greenway Adam Tiefenbrunn
Jack Guo Alexandria Webb
Joshua Gurnee Andrew White
Mitchell Hanson Devonshire White
Briar Hartrup Kalei Wilson
Katherine Hayes Danielle Wolfe
Jonah Heitman Miranda Yip
Riley Herr Joseph Zelasko
Lauren Ho Sydney Zuraski
Talisa Hughes

DDS Class of 2022

Dental Hygiene – Class of 2021

Diana Atchley Carly Offerdahl
Katie Baker Janine Osorio
Morgan Bruce Sarah Pierce
Addison Cornett Angel Potts
Abby Eskina Addison Quinlan
Dannah Hartwig Allison Russell
Christina Hasiotis Casey Schraeder
Paige Heitman Ashlie Shields
Bailey Howard Carlie Slover
Courtney Jordan Marissa Soule
Aris Lamont Sydney Trout
Darby Lewis Bre’A Williams
Brianna Mitchaner Ashley Wilson
Emily Murray Faith Wright
Kathleen Nguyen

Dental Hygiene – Class of 2021