Missouri Scholars Program Chooses UMKC Dental Students

Eight students from the UMKC School of Dentistry have been chosen for AHEC Scholars, a two-year program promoting a greater understanding of the issues that affect individual and community healthcare.

The program gives students a chance to improve the health of their communities through service projects and civic engagement, interdisciplinary training in rural and underserved clinical settings, and increased awareness of topics including behavioral and oral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation and other current and emerging health issues.

Six of the students chosen are from the DDS Class of 2020: Amber Arshad, Brittany Daniel, Yasmin Hussein, Safa Nawazish, Christian Vargas and Stephanie Zarrasola. Jonah Heitman from the DDS Class of 2022 and Jake Findley of the DDS Class of 2023 also were selected.

The program is financed by the Health Resources and Services Association and implemented by the West Central Missouri Area Health Education Center.

“Missouri AHEC Scholars are a part of a national initiative to prepare tomorrow’s health care professionals to become leaders in interprofessional, transformative practice who serve those who need it the most,” said Stephanie Taylor, director of the West Central Missouri AHEC. “These students will collaborate with other students representing various health professions including nursing, medical, dental, pharmacy, therapy and allied health fields and position themselves to join or lead a diverse and culturally competent health workforce. We are very excited to include UMKC dental students in this group.”

Area Health Education Centers were developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to underserved populations. The AHEC program helps bring the resources of academic medicine to address local community health needs. The West Central Missouri AHEC is a regional center of the Missouri AHEC Network and receives federal Health Resources and Services Association financing, state financing from the Missouri Department of Health, and local support to provide health career exploration pipeline programs for youth and training and support for current health professions students.