Bulletin of Dental Education

Win-Win Outreach: University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry Opens Dental Clinic for K-12 Students at University Academy

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When any of the 1,000 students at Kansas City’s University Academy need to see a dentist, they will no longer have to leave the building. They will simply make an appointment and walk down the hall to their very own dental clinic, staffed and operated by University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry.

Representatives from the  University of Missouri - Kansas City  (UMKC),  University Academy , and the community were on hand September 5, 2012, for the grand opening of a new two-chair dental clinic in the University Academy, a K-12 college-preparatory charter public school in the Kansas City, Missouri, School District. For the next few weeks, UMKC dental faculty will finish stocking the clinic with supplies and begin training students to staff the facility. The clinic will begin seeing patients on October 1, 2012. 

UMKC dental and dental hygiene students will provide the care under the supervision of a UMKC faculty member. Along with providing dental care, UMKC dental and dental hygiene students will develop and present educational programming designed to educate University Academy students about good oral health routines and why oral health is important. At the same time, the School of Dentistry will engage the K-12 students in activities that provide for mentorship and develop interest in becoming a dentist or dental hygienist someday. 

“This outreach effort also enables us to be an important community partner in improving public oral health,” said UMKC School of Dentistry Dean Marsha A. Pyle, D.D.S., M.Ed. “And the hands-on education our dental and dental hygiene students will gain here will make them better prepared for their future as practitioners. This is a win-win opportunity for everyone involved.” 

Access to oral health prevention and restorative care is severely restricted in the urban core due to lack of funds, lack of providers, and lack of knowledge about the importance of oral health. Members of a group, the Friends of University Academy, understood this problem and approached UMKC with the idea for the clinic last year. Friends of the University Academy is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization created to support special programs and educational opportunities for University Academy students and alumni. 

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