College of Dental Medicine

College of Dental Medicine Inquiry Forms

Leaders in Dental Medicine

The KCU College of Dental Medicine faculty is hard at work preparing for the college facilities to open in 2023. This team of industry leaders is designing the student learning experience with world-class didactic and practicum coursework; they are collaborating with KCU's outstanding admissions team to streamline our processes for applications, interviews and matriculation; and they are taking the steps through the accreditation process to open in 2023 with a robust program. Read about our faculty by clicking on their names below.

Linda Niessen, DMD, MPH, MPP
Founding Dean, Vice Provost for Oral Health Affairs and Professor

Diane Ede-Nichols, DMD, MHL, MPH
Professor and Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Patient Care

Sharon M. Gordon, DDS, MPH, PhD
Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research

Erinne Kennedy, DMD, MPH, MMSc
Assistant Professor, Director of Pre-doctoral Education 

Katie Champion, DMD
Assistant Professor, Director of Clinical Operations

Joplin Campus Tour with the Dean

Walk through the Joplin campus with Dr. Linda Niessen, founding dean of the College of Dental Medicine.

In the News

March 5, 2022
KCU Joplin to begin accepting dental school applications

March 1, 2022
KCU Joplin now one step closer to opening Dental School
KOAM News reports that the KCU College of Dental Medicine received initial accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Feb. 22, 2022
MSSU student detects oral cancer
The MSSU adjunct clinical supervising dentist Dr. Dennis Abbott is quoted in this KSN article after his student found oral cancer in a family member. Dr. Abbott will be joining the KCU College of Dental Medicine in July 2022 as a full-time faculty member. He currently serves KCU in a consultant capacity.

Visit In the News archive

Answering the Call

College of Dental Medicine's Regional ImpactKCU’s College of Dental Medicine will address the significant and growing oral health needs of the four-state region. With only three dental schools in the entire area, there is a challenge in training an adequate number of dentists to help meet these needs. Nearly all counties within a 125-mile radius of Joplin qualify as Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSAs) by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Economic Impact

Economic Impact of the College of Dental Medicine

Significant funding for the project comes from the generosity of the Harry M. Cornell, the Sunderland Foundation, Dr. Larry McIntire and Mr. Rudy Farber and the Farber Foundation. If you are interested in supporting KCU's College of Dental Medicine, please click this link or the buttons below to donate or contact the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations at

National Oral Health Need Facts

The national demand for dentists will outpace growth in the supply of dentists in 2025.

More than 46 million people in the US live in Dental Health Professions Shortage Areas (DHPSA) and lack basic access to dental care.

7,000 dentists are needed to eliminate these shortages and another 8,600 to have adequate care in 2025.

* Tripp Umbach Market Assessment for the Development of a Dental School on the KCU-Joplin Campus, April 2018.