First Bank & Trust to match funds raised by USD’s Department of Dental Hygiene for new equipment needs

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Thanks to a generous donation from First Bank & Trust in Vermillion, through the Fishback Financial Corporation Community Fund, students in the Dental Hygiene Department at The University of South Dakota are smiling at the prospect of using state-of-the-art equipment as the program nears the completion of its remodeling phase.

As home to the only dental hygiene program in South Dakota, USD's Dental Hygiene Department can raise up to $20,000 for technology and equipment needs by July 1, 2009 and First Bank & Trust, a corporate donor to the department, will contribute an additional $20,000. This financial support will assist the department in purchasing an intraoral dental radiography unit, a machine designed to take X-rays of the mouth; accompanying computer and video equipment; dental materials lab equipment such as a model trimmer, a lathe, plaster mixer and bins; a curing unit and additional technology upgrades and infrastructure. As part of 2007 accreditation evaluation, the department was cited for facility inadequacies prompting a remodeling and the need for additional equipment.

"We recognize the critical role that this department has in staffing our South Dakota dental clinics with skilled hygienists," said Tom Schaack, community bank president, First Bank & Trust. "The graduates of the dental hygiene department enter occupations that provide excellent compensation, which benefits the South Dakota communities they serve."

The ultimate benefactors of First Bank & Trust’s generosity are the 64 students enrolled in the dental hygiene program at USD as well as members of the community who depend on the department for dental hygiene care.

"We're looking at this as a way to support the community," explained Ann Brunick, professor and chairperson of the Dental Hygiene Department. “So many patients come to our department that benefit or will benefit from this gift."

"We’re very grateful to First Bank & Trust for their generosity," she added. "Without this gift, it would be a tremendous strain on our department."

Brunick says the department will have six months to raise $20,000. Renovations to the facility, including the installation of the new equipment, will be completed by fall of 2009.

For more information about the Department of Dental Hygiene at USD, please visit the department’s Web site at www.usd.edu/med/dhyg/ or e-mail dhyg@usd.edu.

A photo of Brian Kaatz, dean of USD’s School of Health Sciences; Ann Brunick, professor and chairperson of the Dental Hygiene Department; Tom Schaack of First Bank & Trust and Tom Fishback, representing the Fishback Financial Corporation, is available for download at www.usd.edu/urelations/images/USD_Dental_Hygiene.jpg