Monday, June 3, 2019

New Dental School Slated to be Destined for Joplin, Missouri

 


Sometimes I have information that I feel that I simply *must* share with those of you who are regular readers of the blog.  Today is one of those times.

As most of you probably know, I’m a facts based guy.  I love science and because of that, I tend to be very fact based.  When it comes to reporting or doing clinical trials, I try as hard as I can to dig up facts.  

However, what I’m about to tell you now, is based on unconfirmed, but incredibly reliable information.  I have this information courtesy of a very well placed and reliable source, however the source has requested anonymity for this story.  However, I will tell you that I would trust this source for this story.  Their record is impeccable.

Anyway, you’ll soon be hearing of a new dental school that will be setup in the city of Joplin, Missouri.  Now most of you will remember Joplin as the site of a monster EF-5 rated multiple vortex tornado that struck in the early evening of Sunday May 22, 2011.  It decimated the town of 51,000.

Since that fateful night, Joplin has bounced back and continued to grow.  Now, the city will be the site of the third dental school in the state of Missouri.  

The school will be a subsidiary of Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.  About a year ago, I came across an article from the Joplin Globe where the potential of the school was discussed.  Here is what they had to say:

The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences is trying to decide whether to create a College of Dental Medicine in the Joplin area to serve the oral health needs of residents in Southwest Missouri, Southeast Kansas, Northeast Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas.
The university, which has campuses in Kansas City and Joplin, announced last week that it has undertaken a feasibility study for the project that will explore regional needs, possible funding sources and locations, accreditation options and potential partnerships.
Marc B. Hahn, president and CEO of KCU, said the decision to pursue a College of Dental Medicine stems from "significant" unmet oral health care needs in the region. According to information provided by KCU, most counties within a 125-mile radius of Joplin are designated as "dental health professional shortage areas" by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

"The region around Joplin is really underserved when it comes to oral health care and dental services," he said.
Hahn said KCU looks to build a full dental school with a four-year curriculum and approximately 100 students per class. Students who complete the program would be licensed dentists, he said.
"The curriculum that we're starting to explore is one of a community-based, rural health model — similar to our medical school model in Joplin where the training is in the community," he said. "Our hope would be we could recruit students from the region, educate them in the region and then return them to the region."
Hahn said he hopes to have the feasibility study completed within the upcoming academic year, with a decision made on whether to pursue the dental program in perhaps six to 12 months.
The College of Dental Medicine would be a new venture for KCU, which currently consists of a College of Biosciences and a College of Osteopathic Medicine. Hahn said the program would complement the two existing colleges.
"Oral health — and oral health problems — can worsen other medical problems," he said. "As we look at the need, we see it aligns very well with the medical school, especially with our focus toward rural health and access for the underserved."
MSSU dental school
It wasn't immediately clear how a College of Dental Medicine through KCU would impact plans for a satellite dental school on the campus of Missouri Southern State University, which would be operated jointly with the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Talks toward a dental school at MSSU in partnership with UMKC have been going on since about 2010. The universities jointly requested state money for the project in fiscal year 2017, with MSSU receiving $2 million and UMKC receiving $1.5 million. Most of that funding was subsequently withheld — with no money was awarded in the current fiscal year — so the project was suspended.
But roughly 60 percent of MSSU's request for that project — about $1.2 million — is included in the university's 2019 budget, which was approved by the governing board on Thursday. The university has already completed the first of several phases to prepare for the installation of a satellite dental school, including freeing up some of the second floor of the Leon Health Sciences Building for the program.
Alan Marble, president of Missouri Southern, said he had heard KCU's announcement of the feasibility study, but he hadn't yet had time to hold conversations with those involved in the MSSU-UMKC project to determine how to proceed.

"I don't think we know yet" how the satellite dental school might be affected, he said.
Hahn said KCU is poised to bring a dental school to the Joplin area if state funding for the MSSU-UMKC project falls through.
"If the state of Missouri can identify the resources and our friends at MSSU and UMKC can come together to address the dental needs in the area, then we're certainly supportive of that. We're not interested in competing with them," he said. "However, if the state does balk again, we're going to be in a position to move forward because we believe the need is so significant in the community, and we believe we can address those needs."
Hahn said that if KCU decides to pursue the College of Dental Medicine, partnerships with community members would likely be explored.
"We would certainly be interested in collaborating with state institutions of higher education — MSSU or the UM System — to ascertain ways to better address the oral health needs of the community," he said.
Shortage of dentists
The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center projects an additional 780 dentists will be needed in the state by 2024, according to data provided by the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.

Now the school will become a reality.  I’m not sure of any dates, but expect to hear a formal announcement in the very near future...

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