(October 2020) The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, for a second time, expressed its confidence in and support for the Kansas City University (KCU) mission to improve the well-being of the community it serves. This gesture comes in the form of a $2 million challenge grant for the College of Dental Medicine (CDM) slated to be built on the KCU-Joplin campus in Joplin, Mo.
The Mabee Foundation recently committed to donate $2 million if, by October 2021, KCU meets its $40 million philanthropic goal for a new College of Dental Medicine.
KCU plans to build a College of Dental Medicine on the KCU-Joplin campus during a time of severe shortage of dentists in rural areas throughout the United States. According to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the majority of counties within a 125-mile radius of Joplin are Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (DHPSAs). In Missouri, 376 dentists are currently needed to remove the DHPSA designation, with Arkansas needing 105 dentists, Kansas needing 103, and Oklahoma requiring 166. What’s more, there are currently only three dental schools in the region: two in Missouri and one in Oklahoma, with none in either Kansas or Arkansas.
“We thank the Mabee Foundation for their continued support for KCU, the rural southwest region of Missouri and our mission,” said KCU President Marc B. Hahn, DO. “We look forward to fulfilling our remaining campaign goals to expand the important work of our faculty and students.”
“In 2017, we answered the call to meet the growing primary care and rural health needs of the region by establishing a medical school campus in Joplin,” Hahn said. “We know that oral health profoundly impacts overall health. Having a CDM physically located next to our College of Osteopathic Medicine provides a tremendous opportunity to integrate oral health into overall health to make the broadest impact and improve the well-being of the communities we serve.”
In March 2020, Linda Niessen, DMD, MPH, MPP, joined KCU as the founding dean for the new CDM. Niessen came to KCU from Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
To date, including the challenge grant, the University has raised $31,290,000 million for the $80 million project. Donors include Mr. Harry M. Cornell, Jr., The Sunderland Foundation, The Joplin Regional Medical School Alliance, Larry McIntire, DO, The Farber Foundation and JE Dunn Construction Company.
KCU anticipates a 2021 spring groundbreaking and when construction is completed, the inaugural class will seat 80 students in fall 2022 or 2023.
About the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation
Founded in 1948 by John E. Mabee and Lottie E. Mabee, The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation provides financial support to a variety of charitable organizations, religious organizations, institutions of higher learning, and entities focused on scientific, medical and health care activities. Headquartered in Midland, Tex., The Mabee Foundation’s geographical areas of interest include Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Its assets total nearly $1 billion.