Together, Hawkeyes make a difference

To achieve this vision, please join with other Hawkeyes to help us reach our goal of raising $33 million.

Since 1882, The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics has focused on meeting the needs of our patients. Clinical care frames and undergirds our approach to dental education and our commitment to translating oral science research and discovery into reality for our patients.   

As the only dental school in the State of Iowa and a nationally leading program in terms of clinical experience, the college plays a vital role in meeting the oral health needs of Iowans. That includes over 170,000 patient visits each year, including serving as the largest provider of dental care for Medicaid patients in Iowa.

Throughout their four years at Iowa, our students’ patient experiences are a crucial part of their time here. These patient experiences and our comprehensive educational programs ensure that Iowa’s dental workforce meets the current and future needs of the state.

Iowa Dentistry continues to rapidly expand its research and discovery, exceling in regenerative biomedicine, genetic research, and biomaterials, alongside an innovative oral cancer program. This expansive research and discovery mission is establishing Iowa as a global leader in oral science research, which benefits everyday Iowans.

The long-term flourishing of the college is structurally supported by four pillars that bolster and strengthen our ability to deliver excellence in each of these areas.

97 of 99

Iowa dental graduates currently practice in 97 of 99 Iowa counties.


The State of Iowa has the highest rate of oral cancer in the country at 14.2 per 100,000 people.

Together, Hawkeyes will recruit and retain faculty

Hongli Sun conducting research

Associate Professor Hongli Sun, a rising star in regenerative biomaterials research, joined Iowa’s faculty in 2018. Iowa’s “impressive track record in dental research” and the “network of collaborators for building an interdisciplinary team to support his research” brought Sun to Iowa. Iowa’s ongoing commitment to research has only expanded with greater resources and support for research. This support has “significantly helped the development of my research program,” Sun said, confirming his choice to come to Iowa.

Dentistry faculty at Iowa have long been a strength of the college. Our faculty continue this legacy as they provide an excellent educational experience for our students while maintaining active clinical and research efforts that benefit patients around the world. Yet, among dental colleges, there has been a growing trend of an aging dental faculty and a competitive environment for recruiting and retaining faculty.

Iowa is no exception to this trend, and that’s why the college is prioritizing faculty recruitment and retention so Iowa’s dental faculty remain one of the finest in the country.

Executive Associate Dean Galen Schneider knows that this is vital to the success of our college in teaching, patient care, research, and service.

“Our world-renowned faculty educate the next generation of dentists and provide oral health care to patients in need. They conduct cutting-edge research that develops the education of our students and translational applications to advance patient care. Faculty service is instrumental in carrying the collegiate mission of educating the next generation of dentists for Iowa and beyond,” Schneider said.

These recruitment and retention efforts involve:

These ongoing initiatives are crucial for Iowa to remain a top-tier destination for recruiting and retaining excellent faculty.

Together, Hawkeyes will support student wellness and success

Dental school is a formative experience for students—forging bonds that last a lifetime as they jointly move toward a career in dentistry, but it is also a time of great stress. Many factors contribute to stress, but personal factors can exacerbate the effects. Studies consistently show that stress-reduction and stress-managing programs are effective at supporting student success in dental school. Iowa has made student wellness a priority and has a variety of offerings to support students during their four years.

These efforts include:

A dental faculty and dental student speaking with a patient

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sherry Timmons is a champion for student success and wellness at the college.  

 “It has been consistently demonstrated that students who experience wellness will perform better academically and demonstrate higher satisfaction in their accomplishments,” Timmons said. “They will have the stamina, energy, and endurance needed to successfully meet the challenges of our curriculum. By providing opportunities and supporting our students to prioritize their health and wellness through programming and academic support, they will present the best version of themselves to patients, our community, and the profession.”

Maintaining and further expanded these initiatives are vital to the long-term health of the profession of dentistry in Iowa, and Iowa Dentistry is committed to the well-being of each student.

Together, Hawkeyes will build for the future

The Dental Science Building was constructed 50 years ago in 1973. With expansions, renovations, and updates, the building has been a vital resource supporting the college as it fulfills its mission. Yet several critical areas, including student success and achievement, student wellness and wellbeing, and faculty research, are pushing against the limitations of our current structure.

  • Dental students have inadequate access to space for tutoring.

  • Dental students have inadequate space to confidentially receive wellness services as needed.

  • Dental students have inadequate space for educational and co-curricular activities outside of the classroom and clinic.

  • The expansion of the college’s research productivity over the last five years has pushed the research spaces to its limit.

Professor Jeff Banas conducting research with  a dental student small.jpg
Professor Jeff Banas conducting research with  a dental student small

Updating the Dental Science Building is crucial as we build for the needs of future students, faculty, and staff.

“As the College of Dentistry and Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research continue to build their national and international research prominence, it is important that the physical facilities keep pace in order to accommodate a growing workforce and to provide state-of-the-art wet and dry lab space that fosters collaboration and discovery,” Jeff Banas, director of the Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research.

Together, Hawkeyes will transform clinic technologies

Assistant Professor Salah Abuhammoud and a prosthodontics resident showing a patient an intraoral scan

New digital technologies are transforming dental practice at a rapid pace. Whether it’s computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to design and 3D-print customized restorations, dentures, orthodontia, or implants; powerful intraoral digital scanners for fast and accurate digital images of a person’s teeth; or high-resolution 4K monitors for student simulation clinics, Iowa is committed to helping our graduates thrive as they learn to use, evaluate, and apply these transformative clinical technologies.

These technologies are important because they enhance other priorities in effective clinical care.

Aaron Cho, head and associate professor of prosthodontics, spoke to the specific benefits of CAD-CAM in customized prosthodontics:

  • Patient-centered: the technology allows for easy customization and for demonstrating in real time what a customized prosthodontic device will look like.

  • Reproducibility: digital files and storage allows for a standardized chain of production, which increases precision and planning.

  • Opens new opportunities for the use of new materials via digital manufacturing.

  • Speed and Accuracy are substantially improved.

It is vital for Iowa to harness these transformative clinical technologies more effectively for the benefit of our patients and for the patients of our graduates who fluently use these new technologies.

The Long-term Success of Iowa Dentistry  

As Iowa Dentistry continues expanding its clinical care, its education of the next generation of dentists and specialists, and its research and discovery, it requires continuous support in these four pillars of what has made our college successful and what will ensure its future success.