School Teams Up with TeamSmile and Kansas City Chiefs for Oral Healthcare Event

Students and faculty volunteers from the dental school participated in the annual Kansas City Oral Health Care Day with TeamSmile to provide complimentary dental care and education to local youth in need.

Student Participants:
Kendall Cline
Dillon Trinh
Kristina Nguyen
Shonte Reed
Cole Johnson
Lindsey Stander
Tanner Robert
Davis McCallister
Zach Ortinau
Mercedes Dillard

Faculty Participants:
Dr. Becky Smith
Dr. Eileen Cocjin

For 17 years, the school has joined forces with TeamSmile and Kansas City’s professional sports teams to deliver dental care. This year’s event took place at Arrowhead Stadium alongside select Chiefs players.

TeamSmile is an advocacy group that partners oral health professionals with professional athletic organizations to provide life-changing dental care to underserved children. Children who participate in the program receive free oral health education, screening, treatment, and are taught that the mouth and body are linked for overall health.

View photos from the event here.

School Welcomes Advanced Standing International Dental Program Candidates

On November 20, the UMKC School of Dentistry welcomed 36 candidates for the Advanced Standing International Dental Program.

These candidates were selected from a pool of over 500 applicants and are spending two days of lecture, interviews, tours and hands-on examination at the school in hopes to join the program.

The program will accept nine students and focuses on training dentists from foreign dental programs who desire to have a United States dental degree from a CODA approved institutional program.

It includes a semester-long didactic and laboratory orientation to the dental school. The cohort will then enter the third-year dental class during the summer term and complete the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) curriculum.

View photos here.


Faculty Offer Insight into New Building Project

We’ve heard from our administration and our students and have seen the unveiling of new renderings, but as we countdown to the fall of 2026 and the opening of the new Healthcare Delivery and Innovation building, we continue to hear more insights from those actively involved in the planning of the project and the development of our future dental professionals – the faculty.

Dr. Cynthia Petrie, Professor and Chair, Department of Restorative Clinical Sciences, looks forward to aspects of the project that won’t just move from the current facility, but start fresh in the building, including the digital design studio.

“As the practice of dentistry continues to rapidly evolve and incorporate many new technologies, it’s been a challenge to appropriately modify our curriculum and patient care in the existing facility. The new building will include a digital design studio and will offer the latest technologies, resources, and materials to allow for both the education of our students and excellent patient care particularly in restorative dentistry, crowns, implants, bridges and dentures,” says Petrie, “It will be a state-of-the-art facility which has been designed for enhanced patient care and with plans for future growth.”

Dr. Rebeca Weisleder, pictured left, Clinical Professor and Chair, Department of Endodontics, emphasized the impact the project will have on all facets of the profession, from care to education.

“The new building will bring multitude benefits to the community we serve, the city of Kansas City and the state of Missouri. This state-of-the-art facility will allow students, faculty, staff and most importantly, patients, which will experience new technology, new advanced dental procedures, and techniques to provide the best care to conserve their natural teeth,” she says, “The urgent care clinic will allow the opportunity to serve all patients in their time of need and promote better dental health throughout the public. It will bring new jobs, new opportunities to excel but mostly, an environment of education, service and collaboration between other specialties and the commonality of Kansas City.”

Dr. Becky Smith , pictured left, Clinical Professor and Team 1 Leader, discussed the aesthetics of the building offering a positive and practical change.

“I am excited about having windows!” she says,  “I know it sounds trivial, but they can improve our mental health and shade matching!  I am also excited about more security and food/retailers being so close.  Another feature I am looking forward to is that parking, will be closer and have a convenient patient drop-off area. The new building will help us be more efficient in the clinic and the design is very inviting for everyone. There are many aspects of the renderings I am excited about.  The design and openness will allow easy flow of people throughout the building.  We will have better security.  Even the little things, like having an awning, will provide protection from the weather, when you walk out the door or wait for a ride.”

Dr. Solon Kao, Vice Chair and Associate Professor, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry says he’s very excited about the move.

“The new Healthcare Delivery building will offer efficient delivery of the highest level of urgent dental care in one centralized location,” he says.

To view building renderings and get more details on other units in the building, click here.


Advanced Endodontics Program Hosts Microsurgery Seminar

On November 10, the UMKC Advanced Endodontics Program hosted a Microsurgery Seminar with Dr. Syngcuk Kim and Dr. Samuel Kratchman of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, bringing in both local and out-of-state residents and faculty for a day of didactic and hands-on learning.

“Both Dr. Kim and Dr. Kratchman have been pivotal in setting the stage for modern endodontic surgery in the United States and around the world,” says Dr. Ken Frick, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Advanced Education Program in Endodontics. “Through their numerous literature publications, authorship of two textbooks, establishment of a microsurgical training center at the University of Pennsylvania, and their busy schedule of international lecturing, their name and work are well known throughout the field of endodontics.”

Over 40 attendees came together to attend what Dr. Frick calls the first of its kind.

“UMKC is proud to be able to host this first of its kind one day seminar event for Midwestern Endodontic Programs to attend and network together in. Endodontic Residents from the University of Nebraska, St. Louis University, Southern Illinois University, and the University of Tennessee will join with UMKC Endodontic Residents for this unique educational event,” he said. “We are thankful to Brasseler USA for making this event possible by their sponsorship of Drs. Kim and Kratchman, thus making this a no-cost event to attendees. To add to the camaraderie an evening social event for resident attendees, hosted by High Five Inc., will be offered at a local establishment.”

Dr. Frick hopes to host more events like this in the future, bring together leading endodontic educators and clinicians.

Dr. Miranda Jimenez, current endodontic resident at the UMKC School of Dentistry, pictured above, right, says, “Not only did we gain invaluable insight from two of the top contributors to endodontic microsurgery, but we were also able to collaborate with residents and faculty from other endodontics programs across the Midwest. I feel very lucky to have spent the day in the company of such talented and knowledgeable endodontic professionals.”

To view photos from the day, click here.

Prospective Students Attend Showcase Day at the Dental School

The dental school hosted more applicants on Friday, November 10 for another showcase day, where students met each other, faculty and staff and got the opportunity to learn more about the dental school experience and what they could expect when attending the UMKC School of Dentistry.

After being introduced to faculty, staff and the dean, attendees were led on a tour of the school.

In addition to getting to know the facility and clinics, attendees enjoyed a  “Class 1 Prep” activity, where they were led through an operative experience to show the students what they can catch a glimpse of their first two years of dental school.

Attendees were invited for a social gathering at Vested Coffee, then rounded out the day at Beacon Hill Apartments for some tours to see living options on campus.

To view photos from the event, click here.

Students Give Perspectives on New Project

Administrators, faculty, student and staff have all been actively involved in the planning and design of the new Healthcare Delivery and Innovation building, scheduled to open in fall of 2026. Now that we’ve had a peek at what the building will look like, we’ve asked to hear about the project from the students.

Jonathan Armijo, Vice President of the DDS Class of 2027 and STAHR Dental Scholars Program Mentor and Alumni, says, “I’m looking forward to being one of the first dental classes to use the new clinic as well and seeing the capabilities of the new building! A new look for the dental school is so exciting, and I am incredibly excited to be a part of this transition from the old clinic to the new. Having medical and dental clinics combined in the same building will offer a more holistic approach and a new learning opportunity for us students. “Armijo was impressed by the renderings. “The open layout and the windows are really what catch my eye. What an honor it will be to work in such a beautiful building along with my peers and faculty. With such an all-encompassing space, UMKC will be a leader in health science for decades to come.”

It’s not just the aesthetics of the building that stood out. Armijo says it’s what’s inside that will make an even bigger impact. “This new building will create an amazing learning space with all the newest technology. The building will be a beacon for students applying in the future and will be a great asset to the dental school. The future classes will be learning with newer technology as well as staying close to the roots of dentistry.”

Sage Newton, DDS Class of 2027, says, “The windows are the first thing I am looking forward to! In all seriousness though, this new clinic really does seem state of the art with how much detail has gone into the location of each room and all. I am really looking forward to a building that makes the day flow a little easier for patients and students.”

Newton explained that the new building will impact him as he’s one of the first to do clinical work there, “It will come with a lot of excitement and maybe a few challenges as using new things do. Overall, I know it will help me be a better student doctor when seeing patients in clinic. This new building will even speed things up in the clinic when it comes to radiographs, impressions, and more as Dean Haas discussed one day moving more digital. This new building will impact the community because hopefully we will get some attention drawn to it that will make pre-existing and new patients want to seek more treatment they need! The building will be stunning, so it will be hard to not want to come in and check out what it has to offer.”

Logan Ebert, DDS Class of 2027, says, “I’m looking forward to the new building mostly for the new designs lab and the ability to care for the surrounding patients in KC with a better clinical experience!”

As for how it will impacted the Class of 2027, Ebert says, “It gives us hope and a sense of excitement to be able to work in a new building that has state of the art technology to work with! For classes after us, they will be working in a top of the line clinical and academic setting which will enrich their dental foundation before they graduate from UMKC! Dean Haas and the Rinehart Board seem very committed to maximizing the benefits of the new building for the future classes that come to enroll. They are working tirelessly to ensure the best outcome for the future students at UMKC.”

Lauren Bailey, President of the Dental Hygiene Class of 2025, says, “The new Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building will be a state-of-the-art addition to the UMKC Heath Sciences System. The building will not be finished before I graduate, however I am excited for the incoming dental hygiene classes to experience the advanced technology and expanded hours that this new building creates space for. The Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building will also allow both Dental and Dental Hygiene students to serve the Kansas City community in a more efficient manner through the use of high-quality equipment and labs while continuing to maintain the high standards of care that the UMKC School of Dentistry is known for.”

Alli Bones, DDS Class of 2027, echoed Newton’s sentiment. “One thing that I’m really looking forward to is having windows in the clinic. This will create a more refreshing environment for patients, students, and faculty. Another thing to look forward to is the new floor plan, which should create a better flow in the clinic.”

With the new building, Bones says, comes new opportunities.  “The world around us has constantly evolving technology, and we will be able to utilize that technology to provide better care to patients. In addition, this newer technology provides us students to learn different techniques. This will benefit students to come for many years. Hopefully, this building we attract more patients, and we will be able to provide treatment to more patients in the community.”


Our faculty and staff are just as excited about the new facility. Stay tuned for more thoughts from the UMKC School of Dentistry!

To view building renderings and get more details on other units in the building, click here.

Oral and Craniofacial Sciences Researchers Present at National Conference

Members of the Cox lab represented the UMKC School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Craniofacial Genetics & Developmental Biology, held at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on October 10 – 12.

In attendance were: Shiva Daneshmehr, DDS, a current OCS PhD student; Andrea Osorio Osorno, DDS, a current PhD student at the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia but currently working in the Cox lab under a 1 year visit; Andrés Mauricio Murillo, DDS, a visiting faculty member in the Cox lab from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia;  Talia Thambyrajah, a first year dental student who worked in the Cox lab full time last year as a research assistant; Shivani Gargvanshi, PhD, a new postdoctoral fellow in the lab who completed her PhD at the UMKC School of Pharmacy; Soumya Rao, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Cox lab; Ryan Anderson, Research Associate; Liza Cox, PhD, Senior Research Associate; and Timothy Cox, PhD, Endowed Professor in Dental & Musculoskeletal Tissue Research.

Dr. Timothy Cox, a keynote speaker, presented: “Facing reality: the challenges of elucidating the genetics of common craniofacial anomalies”.

Talia Thambyrajah (left) and Shiva Daneshmehr (right) co-presented a poster: “The ontogeny of craniofacial microsomia in a mouse model”.

(Authors included: Shiva Daneshmehr, Talia Thambyrajah, Dr. Akiko Suzuki, Ryan Anderson, Dr. Andres Mauricio Murillo, James Cox, Esra Camci, Liza Cox and Timothy Cox.)

Pictured from left to right: Soumya Rao (poster presenter) Ryan Anderson and Shivani Gargvanshi, with poster titled:Novel gene mutations discovered in new orofacial cleft syndromes”.

Authors: Soumya Rao, Alanna Strong, Liza Cox, Rolf Stottmann, Cynthia Prows, Laurie Seaver, George McGillivray, Michael Buckley, Tony Roscioli, Mathieu Tremblay, Maxime Bouchard and Timothy Cox.

Pictured from left to right: Andrés Mauricio Murillo, Andrea Osorio Osorno, Liza Cox, Ryan Anderson, Soumya Rao, Shengping Huang, Shiva Daneshmehr and Timothy Cox

Pictured from left to right: Ryan Anderson, Andrea Osorio Osorno, Liza Cox, Shivani Gargvanshi, Shiva Daneshmehr, Talia Thambyrajah, Soumya Rao and Andrés Mauricio Murillo.


School Hosts Showcase Day for Prospective Students

The dental school hosted more prospective students on Friday, October 20 for another showcase day, where attendees were able to meet each other and learn more about the dental school experience and what they could expect coming to the UMKC School of Dentistry.

After being introduced to faculty, staff and the dean, attendees were led on a tour of the school.

Following the tour, attendees went to a  “Class 1 Prep” activity, where they were led through an operative experience to show the students what they can catch a glimpse of their first two years of dental school.

Attendees were invited for a social gathering at Betty Rae’s following their time at the school.

To view photos from the event, click here.

School Administration Offers Unique Perspectives on Project

Administrators, faculty, student and staff have all been actively involved in the planning and design of the new Healthcare Delivery and Innovation building, scheduled to open in fall of 2026. Now that we’ve had a peek at what the building will look like, we’ve asked to hear about the project from those directly involved in the process.

They’re looking forward to the future opportunities the building will bring, with Dr. Steven Haas, Dean of the UMKC School of Dentistry, describing the strategic planning that’s gone into the project over the last year.

Dean Steven Haas pictured at the Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event. 

“As we have been planning and designing this incredible project, we have never lost sight of our vision for the building. Our intent has always been to make the building a beacon of the Health Sciences District, designed holistically to be student and community centered,” says Haas, “This will be done through integrated experiences that advance healthcare by elevating innovation, thereby improving outcomes. The Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building will be highly versatile and collaborative so that we can provide the best possible education to our students and be of the upmost service to our patients. Its unique design will allow it to be functional and adaptable, so we can continue to respond to the rapid changes we see in healthcare and will revolutionize our programs for the next 50 years and beyond.”

Dr. Lance Godley, Associate Dean of Clinical Programs says the building clinics and labs will enhance what is already one of the country’s best clinical dental education experiences.

 Dr. Lance Godley, right, pictured with Jeff Primos, Assistant Dean of Business Affairs and Strategic Development, left, and Dr. Steven Haas, Dean, center, at the Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event.

“The vision of the building design is to be flexible enough to accommodate new technologies and techniques that are not even conceived of yet for patient care,” says Godley, “It has also been designed to be more efficient and community-facing to serve our patients better. By combining these two elements, we have created a dental clinic for the future that will deliver person-centered care by affording people dignity, compassion, and respect and offering coordinated treatment and personalized care through new and developing technologies.”

Dr. Eric Gottman, Director of Clinical Operations noted the project comes at a perfect time as the school prioritizes keeping up with the fast pace of changing technology in dentistry.

Dr. Eric Gottman, right, pictured with Layne Konneman, dental student, at the Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event.

“The new facility will not only allow us to apply digital technologies, but we will be able to enhance the overall patient experience and  the dental care they receive in a warm, welcoming environment. By incorporating the School of Medicine and the Health Equity Institute, we will be able to better address the healthcare shortages and needs in our community,” says Gottman. “The integration of these programs within one building will provide substantial learning opportunities all our students and give them the tools necessary to become compassionate healthcare professionals in their communities.”

Dr. Liz Kaz, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, believes moving the predoctoral dental and dental hygiene clinical operation won’t only have an impact on learning, but ultimately on the patient care provided by the school.

Dr. Liz Kaz, right, pictured with Dr. Mary Walker, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, left, at the Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event.

“Classroom and laboratory learning will be maximized in the building as students will have expanded and ease of access to advanced equipment and dental technologies planned for the dental clinics., ” says Kaz, “This will provide the perfect melding to prepare students to offer the highest quality dental care now and well into the future. This is truly a transformative experience for our students, patients, faculty, and staff!”

Tanya Villalpando Mitchell, Professor and Chair of the Division of Dental Hygiene, is looking forward to the doors this opens for both dental and dental hygiene students to be of service.

Tanya Villalpando Mitchell giving a presentation at the UMKC School of Dentistry.

“The new building will provide students the opportunity to learn in a progressive and innovative clinical environment while serving the residents of Kansas City and surrounding communities with excellent dental care,” says Mitchell,  “The UMKC School of Dentistry will continue to serve the community, but in a new space where knowledge, training, and education will produce dentists and dental hygienists ready to enter the workforce as competent clinicians.”

Mitchell also says it’s exciting to finally be able to have a visual of what this project will look like.

“The new building has a modern look and will be a wonderful addition to the UMKC campus making the School of Dentistry visible and accessible to all seeking oral health care.”

Jeff Primos, Assistant Dean of Business Affairs and Strategic Development, believes the building will be a success in efficiency and aesthetics for both students and patients.

Jeff Primos, middle, pictured with dental students at the Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event.

“Although our current building has served us well for 50 years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to the goal of efficiency in the space so that students won’t be competing with everyone in the clinic and patients won’t experience logjams,” says Primos.

“The design of the facility is so that students will be able to provide beginning-to-end care in a centralized location, rather than our current situation which, for example, has separate clinics for oral surgery, endodontics and emergency services all in different areas. With its predominantly glass design, the building will also boast much sought after natural light for student and patients to enjoy, yet still be energy efficient and employ redundancies modeled after hospitals.”

Our students, faculty and staff are just as amped up by the remarkable opportunity the new facility offers. Stay tuned for more thoughts from the UMKC School of Dentistry!

To view building renderings and get more details on other units in the building, click here.

UMKC Unveils New Building Plans at Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event

The University of Missouri–Kansas City hosted an Ovation for Healthcare Innovation Event on October 17 to unveil their plans and new renderings for the highly-anticipated Healthcare Delivery and Innovation Building.

Students, faculty, staff, administration and community partners gathered at the Health Sciences Building on Hospital Hill for a morning of mingling, hands-on demonstrations at the student showcase and, of course, the reveal of the latest rendering of the building.

To kick off the presentation of the renderings, Nuhka Nguyen, a third year dental student, addressed the crowd, emphasizing her excitement as a student to make an impact on residents in Kansas City and the surrounding area in the new facility.

“It will be at the forefront of teledentistry,” said Nguyen, “Teledentistry is a technology that allows dentists to provide care to patients remotely. This is a huge breakthrough for underserved populations and individuals with disabilities who may not have access to traditional dental care.”

You can hear more from Nguyen in her interview with KSHB.

C. Mauli Agrawal, Chancellor of the University of Missouri–Kansas City, followed, highlighting the unique nature of the project.

“Our building will be one of a kind. We know of only one other combined medical and dental education building in the nation, and none other that will include what ours will: dedicated space for our Health Equity Institute, collaboration space for our Biomedical Engineering program and dedicated advancement of personalized medicine through the work of our Data Science Analytics and Innovation Center, also known as dSAIC.”

He continued by taking the crowd on what he playfully coined an “old-fashioned virtual tour,” describing the building floor by floor and each academic unit’s presence in the building. For dentistry, Chancellor Agrawal gave a glimpse into both patient and student life in the building.

“Patients will check in at our dedicated entrance on the second floor for oral surgeries, endodontics or emergency dental procedures,” he said, “Student teaching clinics, lockers, and labs will be on the third and fourth floors. A new digital design lab will give students a place to train on CAD software to scan and design crowns, bridges and implants and then either 3D-print or use milling machines to produce the dental prostheses. Our radiology and dental hygiene programs also will be located here.”

He pointed out the deliberately designed entrance for Dentistry, saying it is, “In part for ease of patient access, but also in anticipation of the future opening of an after-hours clinic to help Children’s Mercy and University Health handle dental crises that come in through their emergency rooms.”

To view photos from the event, click here.

To view building renderings and get more details on other units in the building, click here.