Alumni & Friends

Classes of the 1990s





























Home of Hope India International Dental Outreach Program

The Wilmington (N.C.) Star-News newspaper has published an article about the Home of Hope India international dental outreach program and Cathy Taylor’s (DDS ’97) assistance in establishing a clinic in Bangalore, India.

To read the article, visit:

To learn more about Home of Hope India, visit:

Informational flyer describing Home of Hope India

Dr. Taylor caring for patients in the Home of Hope India clinic

Cynthia Amyot receives 2011 Missouri Distance Learning Leadership Award

Dr. Cynthia Amyot, UMKC Interim Associate Provost for Online Education and Professor and Director of Distance Education & Faculty Development at the UMKC School of Dentistry, has been selected to receive the 2011 Missouri Distance Learning Leadership Award. The award is given by the Missouri Distance Learning Association (MoDLA) to individuals who show outstanding leadership in the field of distance learning through the development of innovative online programming, relevant scholarly research, and recognition by and service to professional organizations.

In a letter announcing Dr. Amyot’s selection, Witt Salley, MoDLA President, wrote, “Your contributions have been substantial not only in the lives of UMKC faculty and students but also to the field of distance learning at large. The State of Missouri is fortunate to have such an ardent distance learning leader in you.”

The award will be presented on July 22, 2011, at the 14th Annual MoDLA Conference, held July 21–22, 2011, in Springfield, Missouri.

Dr. Amyot has been a full-time faculty member at UMKC since 1993, serving three years as director of Graduate and Degree Completion Studies and five years as director of the Division of Dental Hygiene. She has received numerous distinguished teaching awards from the School of Dentistry and was the recipient of the Elmer Pierson Outstanding Teaching Award in 2006. Dr. Amyot has earned four degrees from UMKC: she received her doctorate of education in 2003, an educational specialist degree in 2000, a master of science degree in dental hygiene education in
1993 and a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene in 1992.

More News

Bryan Kalish (DDS ’96) was awarded the following this year: U.S. Army Dental Corps Chief’s Exceptional Service and Leadership Award, the Surgeon General of the Army’s System for Health Gold Award for the Go First Class Initiative on behalf of the Directorate of Health Care Operations for the U.S. Army Dental Command Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), and the Facility-Based Healthcare (Hospitals and Clinics) Award for the Go First Class Initiative on behalf of the U.S. Army Dental Command.

Jeffery Harrison (DDS ’96) has been traveling to practices around the U.S. to train/consult for Biolase in addition to maintaining his private practice.

Daniel Thomas (DDS ’90, MS Perio ’92) was appointed by Governor Sam Brownback to the Kansas  Board of Regents. He will serve a four-year term on the board that governs the state’s six universities.

Kurt Hoffman (DDS ’94, Ort ’96), Leawood, Kan., writes that he is “Living the Dream” thanks to UMKC SOD!

Toni Erickson (DH ’93), Overland Park, Kan., has owned HealthStaff, her own staffing company for dental professionals, for 14 years. She has hired over 1,200 employees (a large majority from UMKC SOD) and placed staff in over 800 offices (mostly UMKC SOD grads). Toni served as the 2002-2003 president of the UMKC Dental Hygienists’ Alumni Association.

Carla King (DDS ’94), Kansas City, Mo., attended UMKC’s AEGD program for one year after graduation. She then opened a practice in Parkville, Mo., for four years before moving it to the Plaza to be closer to home. Her daughter, Tracy, received her D.O. degree from KCUMB and is now in her third year of pediatric residency in Sioux Falls, S.D. Carla is working three days a week and part-time at Concorde Career College in the new Dental Hygiene Department.

Melanie Huckabee (DDS ’94), Kansas City, Mo., is married to Sam Huckabee (DDS ’95). They practice dentistry together and have five children. Lisa Thurlow (DDS ’94), Prairie Village, Kan., is now teaching at the Dental Hygiene Program at Concorde Career College.

Staci Blaha (DDS ’99), Platte City, Mo., loves practicing dentistry in Platte City and San Pedro, Belize. Her son, Trenton Blaha, is entering his second year of dental school at UMKC.

Steven D. Aeschliman (DDS ’99), Spokane, Wash., recently moved to a new building. He has two children: Porter, age seven, and Sophia, age five. He is head of continuing education for Spokane District Dental Society and a member of the Board of Delegates for the State of Washington.

Matt Hlavacek (DDS ’99, OMX ’04), Liberty, Mo., is married with two children: a 4-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. He recently opened his own office, “Kansas City Surgical Arts.”

Sonia Makhija, DDS ’98, (Birmingham, Ala.) and her husband, Grant, welcomed twins, Maks and Bella, in September 2011. In September 2012 Dr. Makhija was promoted to associate professor with tenure at the UAB School of Dentistry.

Daniel VanBuskirk, DDS ’98, (Clinton, Mo.) is the father of three sons and is a triathlete and kiteboarder.

Mark Gregory, DDS ’98, (Dallas, Texas) has been in private oral & maxillofacial surgery practice since 2004. He married Jodi in 2007 and has a baby due in November 2012

Beth Gehring, DDS ’93, (Grain Valley, Mo.) joined the dental staff of Truman Medical Center-Lakewood, Mo. She is the dentist for the Independence School Project’s Mobile Dentistry team. They provide preventive and restorative treatment as well as dental health education for children in the Independence School District.

Gordon Kanemaru, DDS ’93, (Wahiawa, Hawaii) has been a UMKC Dental Alumni Association Trustee for the past 18–20 years. He is now serving as president of the UMKC Dental Alumni Association.

Frank Sharp, DDS ’93, (Springfield, Mo.) had his 20-year class reunion and his 19th wedding anniversary in June 2013. His daughter, Meredith, is turning 15 and his son, John, is turning 12. He is spending a lot of time on the basketball court and golf course with both kids.

Colleen Nguyen, DDS ’98, (Kansas City, Mo.) completed training and is certified as a bioesthetic dentist.

Stephanie Robertson- Cameron, DDS ’92, (Wichita, KS) Daughter, Ashley, is an Internal Medicine Resident in Greenville, NC. Daughter, Allison, is a pharmacist in Pratt, KS. Hilary Robertson, born 20 days after CRDTS is a sophomore at the University of Kansas. She lives with her husband David Cameron in Wichita, KS  and has a stepdaughter, Kayla, 18 and a stepson, Kyle, 16. “I am happy to be in practice now for 19 years. I am somewhat of a fitness and nutrition buff and am working toward becoming a certified yoga instructor.”

Farrah Zaery’s, DDS ’91, (Overland Park, Kan.) son, Arshia, was two years old when she started dental school. He just graduated from the UMKC School of Dentistry and joined the practice.

John Sauer, DDS ’91, (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) has a son, John Paul (5).What a joy! John is the district director of the Southeast Missouri Football Officials Association and crew chief for official crew #12. He was Tunica Dental Meeting chairman in 2010, with 400+ in attendance.

Paul Wood, DDS ’91, (Nevada, Mo.) retired from the military February 1, 2010. He opened Nevada Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Nevada, Mo., and has completed recertification with the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Sheri Boynton, DDS ’96, (Wichita, Kan.) is getting remarried!

James J. Dixson, DDS ’96, (Liberty, Mo.) has three children:  Jacob (10), Gracie (7) and Isabella (7 months). Daughter Gracie is the 2010 Missouri State Gymnastics Champion Level 4. James enjoys watching his children compete in sports.

Matt Garrison, DDS ’96, (Liberty, Mo.) opened a new building in August 2008. He’s married to Kay (DH ’96) and they have three kids — Paige (12), Blair (8), Tate (4) — and one more due in January 2011.

Kevin Mowry, DDS ’96, (Lenexa, Kan.) has two children:  Ethan (5) and Reese (2). He became a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology in November 2009. He has offices in Lenexa, Kansas City, Olathe and Emporia, Kan. He has a practice with his wife Cathy.

Amy Stratton, DDS ’96, (Fort Collins, Colo.) has three children:  Alexis (12), Alexander (9) and Nicholas (6).

Alumni & Development Contact Info

Becky Higgins, Advancement Officer, 816-235-2022

Hilary Wheat, Director of Development 816-235-2173

Amy Widau, Manager, Continuing Dental Education 816-235-2142

Amber Heffernan, Senior Accountant

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