Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance Donates $3 Million to Support KCU College of Dentistry | News
KAnsas City University College of Dentistry in Joplin received a $3 million donation from the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance on Thursday after meeting the criteria for its initial accreditation in February.
The nonprofit foundation, formed by an alliance of medical and community leaders, has pledged a total of $10 million for the project. The College of Dentistry will accept student applications in June and select its first class of 80 students in December for the 2023 academic year.
There will be 320 dental students at full enrollment in the four-year program.
KCU College of Dental Medicine recently obtained initial accreditation status from the Dental Accreditation Commission, which develops and implements accreditation standards that promote and monitor the continuous quality and improvement of dental education programs .
All counties within a 100-mile radius of Joplin are considered a dental health professional shortage area by the US Health Resources and Services Administration. In Missouri alone, 376 more dentists are needed to remove the designation. While Oklahoma needs 166, Arkansas and Kansas need more than 100 to meet shortages. With only three dental schools in the four-state area, there is a need to train more dentists to address shortages, especially in rural counties.
KCU leadership was joined by members of the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance fundraising committee at the presentation of the check at KCU’s Jerry D. Hall Memorial Hall in Joplin. The new dental school opened in May 2021 on the KCU-Joplin Farber McIntire campus.
“Thank you to the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance for supporting this project, but also for the original project, the College of Osteopathic Medicine, where you find yourself today,” said Marc B. Hahn, president and chief executive officer. the management of KCU. .
“I met with you all nine years ago to talk about the dream of a medical school here in Joplin,” he added. “This dream is now a reality. It’s hard to believe, but now a dental school is also a reality. We appreciate this community’s support of Kansas City University’s vision to improve health care not just for Joplin, but for the surrounding community in four different states.
Rudy Farber, who chairs fundraising for the alliance, said the foundation has now donated more than $8 million in total to the KCU College of Dental Medicine after donating $5 million in June. He said the dental school would do a lot of good for the health and well-being of area residents.
“We have just under $2 million left, and I can tell you it’s going to happen,” he said during the presentation.
The fundraising committee got a preview of a mock operating room with up-to-date equipment that will be featured throughout the new dental school. The operating room, a workspace for the dentist, is made by A-dec, an Oregon-based manufacturer of dental office furniture and equipment.
“What I find really wonderful about our program is that in many traditional dental institutions, students don’t come into the clinic and start learning how to care for patients until their third year, but we have designed a program with early education experiences both in the community and also in our oral health centers, so that students learn from day one what it is like to work in an operating room and treat patients from start to finish,” said Erinne Kennedy, director of pre-doctoral education at the College of Dentistry.
Kennedy said A-dec has worked with them to create solutions to the specific challenges that clinical dentists face with equipment in operating rooms. She added that the operatories were designed with both the student and the patient in mind.
“This lightweight arm was designed with feedback from our faculty alongside A-dec, and it now works to provide a more ergonomic function or something better for the student’s body,” she said. declared. “We can now share this resource with clinicians across the country. »
Linda Niessen, founding dean of KCU College of Dental Medicine, said there will be a total of 92 operating rooms in the oral health center on the ground floor and first level. The second level of the college will have a simulation lab where students will practice on plastic teeth in a simulated surgical setting. There will also be a digital design center where students will learn how to create crowns for patients.
After seeing the fictional OR, Farber said the setup and equipment are impressive and a great investment for the community.
“It’s going to influence what dentists in the area are doing in their practices because students are going to pull out some of this information and say, ‘Back in school, we’re doing this,'” he said. “It’s a bit like how a rising tide lifts all ships. This is what will happen.