With construction nearly 70 percent complete and initial accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), steady progress continues toward Kansas City University (KCU) College of Dental Medicine (CDM) located on the Joplin, Mo. campus. On June 1, the college reached a significant milestone when the application portal for prospective students opened and hopeful applicants began to immediately respond. All dental schools within the United States participate in a centralized application service offered through the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) which simplifies the process by allowing prospective students to complete one application that they can direct to their choice of multiple dental schools.
KCU seeks to recruit and educate future dentists with a passion for providing care in underserved communities and a desire to practice in rural areas after graduation. The CDM will offer an integrated basic and clinical sciences curriculum that differs from a discipline-based curriculum in that some aspects of basic and clinical sciences will be taught throughout the curriculum in increasing levels of complexity and relevance based on what students learn each semester. Students will receive early clinical- and community-based experiences beginning the summer after their first year and will have the unique opportunity to complete two 12-week rotations at community educational activity sites outside of KCU in order to best serve the underserved populations in the four-state region of southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas, northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma.
The KCU-CDM will address the growing oral health needs of the four-state region. With only three dental schools in the entire area, training an adequate number of dentists to help meet these needs has proven challenging. Nearly all counties within a 125-mile radius of Joplin qualify as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSA) by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
“We look forward to welcoming our inaugural class of 80 students,” said Linda Niessen, CDM Founding Dean and Vice Provost for Oral Health Affairs. “Our innovative curriculum, new state-of-the-science clinical Oral Health Center, and our partnerships with community dentists and health centers, will prepare our students to become excellent dentists who will improve the oral health of the communities they will serve.”
As of the date of publication, less than three weeks after the portal’s opening, KCU-CDM received more than 600 applications for 80 seats. Upon review of applications, KCU will invite qualified applicants to complete a secondary application online. Interviews will be awarded by invitation only and take place virtually beginning in September. The CDM will seat its inaugural class in Fall 2023.