Research plays a prominent role in the School of Dentistry. The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, M.S. degree programs (Oral Biology and Dental Hygiene Education) as well as the advanced dental programs all have strong research components. The intent of these programs is to expose the student to basic and translational research, and clinical application. Research and the scientific method are formal parts of the educational program of all dental school students, contributing to their education, as well as serving to advance science and dentistry. There is significant external grant funding supporting the research efforts. Many of the researchers who have obtained these grants serve as mentors for dental students participating in the Summer Scholars Program. In this selective program, a limited number of students participate in a nine-week research experience in the mentor's area of research interest and present their project results at a national meeting.
In keeping with its goal of developing in its students a sense of professional and societal responsibilities, and an awareness of community needs and problems, the school offers numerous outreach opportunities to students in all of its programs. Individuals associated with more than 30 community-based organizations, agencies or projects are provided oral health care by UMKC students and faculty.
Representative of these are the Kansas City Free Health Clinic, Give Kids a Smile (dental care for children in the Kansas City metro area), Mission of Mercy (MO and KS programs to provide dental care for children and adults), Students Take Action (student organization dedicated to compassion and comradeship through community service), Miles of Smiles (program that enables UMKC’s dental hygiene students to deliver
comprehensive preventive oral health services to low income children in the Olathe School District).