College of Dental Medicine

Why should you consider applying to the College of Dental Medicine?

Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains exists the University of Pikeville, whose 133-year educational legacy has expanded to create the College of Dental Medicine, aimed at educating dentists of tomorrow to provide greater access to oral healthcare in rural and underserved areas. Become part of a new program that aspires to be a national leader in dental education through its commitment to service, clinical excellence, innovation, interprofessional practice, and a unique culture that promotes physical and mental wellness in students, staff and faculty. 

Our small campus size and small class size create a family environment where we care about and support our students, faculty and staff. Our dedicated team is committed to the academic and professional success of each student and will walk alongside students in their journey to becoming competent and successful dental professionals. Our professional, yet collegial atmosphere of respect, collaboration and mutual learning facilitates a positive culture and environment for dental education. 


The University of Pikeville College of Dental Medicine was made possible by the generosity of a philanthropic family. The donor family, who wishes to remain anonymous, has blessed the University of Pikeville with a transformative $25 million gift that is not only the largest single gift ever received by the university but the largest donation on record to any Kentucky college. They are passionate about UPIKE’s service-focused mission and recognize the need to provide greater access to oral healthcare in underserved areas.

On behalf of the board of trustees at the University of Pikeville, President Burton Webb, Ph.D., has announced the appointment of Pamela Sparks-Stein, DMD, MPH, as the dean for the UPIKE College of Dental Health.

“Among several strong candidates, Dr. Sparks-Stein stood out for her incredible alignment to the mission of the University of Pikeville,” affirmed Webb. “Her compassion and empathy will help her create the kind of dental school where care for the underserved is central to our identity, where the health of the public is paramount, and where quality care is an absolute necessity.”

Sparks-Stein comes to UPIKE from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, where she serves as division chief of dental public health. 

“Dr. Sparks-Stein has extensive dental education experience with a focus in rural and public health,” said UPIKE Provost Lori Werth, Ph.D. “Her leadership experiences over the last 25 years have prepared her well for this important role on our campus.”

Prior to her roles in education, Dr. Sparks-Stein served in private practice in the commonwealth for 13 years where she formed her passion for dental education and public health.

“I am a public health dentist and my heart has a passion for helping vulnerable and underserved populations,” said Sparks-Stein. “My years of working with grants and projects in Eastern Kentucky have shown me there are so many wonderful partners who are willing to help, making it a great place to forge partnerships that will allow us to make a true impact in Central Appalachia.” 

Sparks-Stein received her Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and Master’s of Public Health from the University of Kentucky. 

“I’m thrilled to be part of the UPIKE family and I cannot wait to get started,” said Sparks-Stein. “When I stepped on campus, I had the sense that this is where I belong.” 

Family is very important to the new dean. Her daughter Lauren Hoagland and husband Gordy, of Louisville, have two sons, ages one and three. Her son John Stein married Michelle Caudill of Hindman, and the two are expecting their first child in April. They are all very close and live near each other in Lexington.

photo of new dental dean Dr. Pamela Sparks-Stein

UPIKE is the leading higher education institute of Central Appalachia, with a commitment to excellence in each endeavor. The university believes that by educating tomorrow’s leaders in the health professions, the landscape of healthcare in these mountains will thrive.

The vision for the College of Dental Medicine is to be known and respected for service, innovation, clinical excellence and interprofessional education.


  • Utilize the latest digital technology in state-of-the-art simulation labs and clinical facilities.
  • Provide patient care in your first year and continue robust clinical experiences throughout your dental education.
  • Engage in community-based research related to oral health disparities in rural Appalachia.
  • Serve vulnerable and underserved populations.
  • Learn best practices for managing finances and leading a dental team.
  • Receive mentorship related to loan repayment programs and scholarship opportunities.
  • Experience a humanistic culture in a supportive and inclusive environment.
  • Collaborate with medical, optometry, nursing, and social work students on campus.
  • Learn lifelong skills to promote physical and mental wellness

Dental students will flourish under dedicated and knowledgeable faculty who will provide a supportive environment to learn patient-centered care while utilizing advanced technology. At UPIKE we educate our students to become innovative leaders in the profession of dentistry by training them to utilize the most contemporary dental materials, equipment and techniques.

Our goal at UPIKE is to become a national leader in interprofessional education, creating new integrated models of interdisciplinary care. Learning to work with providers in other disciplines is fundamental to healthcare as it enhances prevention, leads to early diagnosis and early interventions, improves access to care, and results in better patient outcomes. Our focus at UPIKE is to serve our students as well as the needs of our patients and our community. 

Unlike many dental schools, the University of Pikeville College of Dental Medicine seeks to focus its recruitment efforts in smaller, rural colleges and universities to recruit promising, high-performing undergraduate students who have demonstrated a servant’s heart, and desire to make a significant impact among those who most need care. Qualified students interested in pursuing a career in dentistry are encouraged to apply to become a part of UPIKE’s unique dental educational experience. 

At UPIKE, D.M.D. students will enter rotations in a variety of clinical settings during their four-year experience including community health centers, special needs clinics, pediatric facilities, addiction recovery centers and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

To learn about the College of Dental Medicine’s Functional Standards please click the button below:

Tuition and Cost of Attendance will be added to the financial aid cost of attendance page soon.

Bookmark the link below for when the cost of attendance information is added.

Admission Requirements

  • GPA 3.0 or above
  • 200 Service Hours in previous five years
  • 100 Hours of Shadowing with at least three dentists
  • Bachelor’s Degree preferred
  • Dental Admission Test (DAT) not required
  • Preferred Pre-requisite courses*
    • Biology – 3 credit hours
    • Anatomy – 3 credit hours
    • Physiology – 3 credit hours
    • Microbiology – 3 credit hours
    • Chemistry – 6 credit hours

*Additional science courses as well as courses in leadership, public health, art, and business would also be beneficial as preparation for dental education.

The forms below may be used to assist students in documenting community service and shadowing hours.

The online application portal for the College of Dental Medicine will be coming soon!


The office of Admissions can be reached at:

University of Pikeville
Office of Admissions
147 Sycamore Street
Pikeville, Kentucky 41501
(606) 218-5251


Currently, the University of Pikeville is seeking accreditation for the College of Dental Medicine. Pending approval by the The Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) and the Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA), we will begin admitting students in 2025. For more information, please contact us at (606)218-5251

College of Dental Medicine News