Last Updated on August 28, 2023
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College of Dental Medicine
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 amazing 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
The dental college building now has a third story. Visit the live construction cam for up-to-the-minute visuals of our progress!
November 1, 2021
The KCU College of Dental Medicine Joplin campus construction is more than 25% complete.
May 22, 2021
KCU broke ground for a new College of Dental Medicine on the KCU-Joplin Farber McIntire Campus on May 22, 2021. We will welcome the first class of 80 students in 2023. Once fully enrolled, the College will have 320 students training to serve the four-corner region of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas through a team-based, comprehensive care general practice model.
Working under the supervision of faculty preceptors, KCU’s fourth-year dental students will provide comprehensive oral health care in clinical partner sites to patients throughout the four-corner region. The College of Dental Medicine expects to provide an additional 40,000 to 50,000 patient visits annually, helping to increase access to oral health care for the local community.
Northwest Arkansas, Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma have fewer dentists per capita than most areas in the United States. This multi-state region within a 125-mile radius of Joplin, Missouri, has an immediate and critical need for more dentists, specifically in rural and underserved communities.* Recruiting students from rural areas and increasing their awareness of oral health disparities and the effects they have on learning and employment, may improve the likelihood that KCU’s graduates will establish practices in underserved areas.
In the News
Dec. 21, 2021
Report details 20 years of advances and challenges of Americans’ oral health
Dr. Niessen and Dr. Gordon were invited to author sections of the National Institutes of Health report, Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges.
April 15, 2021
Joplin Globe – Governor visits Joplin’s medical school
April 15, 2021
KOAM News video – Gov. Parson tours businesses in Joplin
Jan. 15, 2021
Dentistry Named Ninth Best Job by US News & World Report
Dr. Linda Niessen, dean of the KCU College of Dental Medicine, is quoted.
Answering the Call
KCU’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).
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 [email protected].Give to the CDMPlanned Giving
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.