Kansas City University (KCU) is establishing a College of Dental Medicine to address significant and growing oral health needs in four states.
In a press release, the school revealed that more than 700 dentists are needed in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The new college will seek to train future oral health professionals to address this shortage.
“KCU has proven success in educating physicians who will remain in the region to practice medicine,” President and CEO Marc B. Hahn said. “We are proud to serve the community with a college of dental medicine that will educate our next generation of doctors of dental medicine and address critical oral health care needs as well.”
The college is expecting to welcome its first class of 80 students in 2023. It will also recruit students from rural areas, increasing their awareness of oral health disparities.
Additional Plan for Medical, Oral Health Care
Founding Dean Linda C. Niessen said KCU will launch an innovative, community-based education program focused on medical and dental health care needs.
She emphasized that dental health issues such as gum disease can contribute to heart disease, respiratory disease, and even Alzheimer’s in underserved communities.
“It is impossible for a community to be healthy if its citizens do not have good oral health… As Joplin builds its future workforce, children can’t learn when they are suffering from toothache pain. The KCU College of Dental Medicine will help address these issues,” she remarked.