Kansas City University (KCU) recently announced the appointment of Linda C. Niessen, DMD, MPH, MPP, to the position of dean of the College of Dental Medicine, slated to open in fall 2022 on the Joplin, Missouri campus.
Niessen comes to KCU from Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she served as dean and professor. Prior to that, she was vice president and chief clinical officer for DENTSPLY International, an industry leader in dental manufacturing, technology and innovation. Prior to her leadership role in the dental industry, she served as professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas (now Texas A&M College of Dentistry). While at Baylor College of Dentistry, she worked with the University of North Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine where she served as co-director of the joint geriatric medicine and dental fellowship program. Niessen’s career also includes work in the public service sector as well as geriatric dentistry.
As dean, Niessen will oversee the development of all academic, research and service activities and administration of the dental college. Her primary responsibilities include direction and leadership for all program components, including the oversight of the dental college’s compliance with accrediting bodies; recruitment of college faculty; development and implementation of the didactic and clinical curriculum; recruiting students; and serving as the school’s primary liaison to develop partnerships with the region’s oral health community.
Niessen earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She also holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the Harvard School of Public Health and a Certificate of Residency in Dental Public Health from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
Niessen says she expects to feel at home in Joplin, as she has close ties to the Midwest. Her husband, John Lonergan, is a physician and native of Kansas. They have two sons: one who is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; the other who is an ear, nose and throat surgeon in practice in Palo Alto, California.