New Health Sciences building promotes collaboration between healthcare fields


UMKC is one of 20 campuses in the country having multiple medical fields in one walkable campus. (Julia Kapros/RooNews).

Ross Tipton, Writer

UMKC is poised to begin work on a new health science building in the UMKC Health Sciences District, housing new, state-of-the-art dental teaching clinics and expanded medical school teaching facilities.  

This project will take the Health Sciences District to the next level, accelerating health care access and equity for the community and development to turn the campus into a regional draw. The hope is that this will ignite entrepreneurship and economic growth for the city and region. 

The state of Missouri has appropriated $40 million for the building, in legislation signed by Gov. Mike Parsons on July 1. This comes with a challenge to the Kansas City community to raise the additional  $60 million to build the $100 million project.  

The project will add impact and momentum to the burgeoning growth underway in the district –  including recent additions such as Children’s Mercy Kansas City’s $200 million Research Institute  tower, the $70 million University Health 2 medical office building, and the $45 million University  Health 1 building.  

“A united medical and dental building will be a signature facility, as there is only one such institution in the country with this combined learning and clinical environment,” said Chancellor Mauli Agrawal. 

“The project will spark an expansion of the entire UMKC Health Sciences District that could dramatically expand health care in Kansas City, attract top faculty and researchers and new private investment that could create new jobs and eventually contribute billions to the Kansas City economy,”  Agrawal said. 

This new health building will allow for increased collaboration among health care fields, which creates a greater capacity for developing health solutions and providing patient care.  

UMKC is one of only 20 universities in the country where dentistry, medicine, nursing, health studies,  and pharmacy share a single, walkable campus, which underscores the need to continue to provide opportunities for collaboration among the health sciences.  

UMKC will occupy the first several floors of the project and additional floors may be available to public partners for medical office space, clinical space and other uses.  

These state-of-the-art clinics will attract some of the best students and faculty from the region, making  UMKC competitive with top schools across the country. UMKC will have increased space to continue  its important work in serving the underserved, delivering almost $1 million in uncompensated care to those who otherwise might not get treatment.  

Steven Haas, dean of the School of Dentistry said, “This project will allow us to move into the future  and take advantage of many new technologies that definitively allow us to be able to do more care in  less time at less cost to the public.” 

With this new medical building, the next generation of dentists can be taught to deliver better dental care at a lower cost. Another benefit will be the expansion of dental emergency services, which will  lower the number of dental emergencies seen in hospital emergency rooms and continue to make first-rate dental care more accessible to the community.  

The new building will provide state-of-the-art educational facilities for UMKC medical students and programs, such as space for more simulation labs, which lead to better training for students and  better care for the community.  

“This project will clearly affect infrastructure in Kansas City as well as the workforce with definitive  positive effects on healthcare disparities in the community, ” Haas said.  

Proximity between doctors and developers of medical devices is paramount, and this new building will  foster faster, more effective collaboration between engineers and medical professionals to accelerate  product development in areas such as imaging technology, implants, and microsurgery tools.  

UMKC will expand its ability for creating new technology, generating innovations for products and  patents with the potential to work with companies to develop and produce them.  

Through its expertise in data science, UMKC and its clinical partners are ushering forward a new era  of personalized health care – one that will treat diseases based on individual variables in genes,  environment and lifestyle, rather than a traditional one-size-fits-all approach.  

The data center’s work will drive innovation in a variety of domains, ranging from health care and  business intelligence to agriculture and digital humanities. 

[email protected]