Five months after Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences announced that they’ll be setting up a new dental school in Kansas in response to the shortage of lack of dentist in Easton and across the country, the school has nearly raised enough money to make the new facility a reality.
The university has already secured 75% of the $40mn fundraising goal, which’ll amount to half of the $80mn cost for the construction of a new College of Dental Medicine, to be located on the KCU Joplin campus. Notably, $10mn came from the Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance, $10mn came from former Leggett & Platt Inc. CEO and President, an additional $6mn from the Sunderland Foundation, as well as gifts from the Farber Foundation and businessman Rudy Farber, and physician Larry McIntire.
The $40mn remainder will come from KCU itself.
KCU President and CEO Marc B. Hahn stated that they’re pleased to have hit the milestone so fast, and are thankful to the benefactors who gave their support to a project of such paramount importance. He notes that the Four-State Area is dealing with an oral health crisis, and, since they can’t bring in a dentist in Easton or anywhere else in the country, they hope to have this College of Dental Medicine address oral care needs in the area.
KCU leaders say that the primary goal of the new College of Dental Medicine is to meet the critical need for oral care that underserved areas in the region are dealing with. This notion is reinforced by data from the US Health Resources and Services Administration, which says that every county within a 125-mile radius of Joplin is dealing with a dental healthcare professional shortage, which needs at least 750 dentists to be dealt with.
Hahn says that they’re aware of how much oral health can affect systemic condition, and that’s why they want to set up this dental college. Furthermore, he notes that having it so close to a medical college provides a great chance to integrate ideas and studies of oral health into overall health, which can then be used to impact and improve the lives of as many people as possible.