United Way grant to assist USD Dental Hygiene Department, enhance dental care for Sioux Falls area patients

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A $15,000 grant from the Sioux Empire United Way will enhance dental care for patients in the Sioux Falls, S.D., area. The Department of Dental Hygiene, part of the School of Health Sciences at The University of South Dakota, announced recently that a Sioux Empire United Way Community Impact Grant of $15,818 will benefit the USD Dental Clinic, which is located at the Siouxland Health and Human Services building in Sioux Falls.

The dental clinic provides an invaluable service to the Sioux Falls region providing patient care for children and persons eligible for Medicaid who are unable to find a dental care provider. However, the clinic also serves people who have other access issues as well as individuals willing to be part of the teaching environment, so money from the grant will assist with growing operational costs. According to Ann Brunick, professor and chairperson of the Dental Hygiene Department, the grant comes at a critical time as access to dental care in many areas of South Dakota has reached crisis levels.

"The agency recognized the need for the program and saw the value in the clinic's services to the community," Brunick stated. "The department is grateful for this gift and we sincerely thank the Sioux Empire United Way for its support as we continue to build relationships within the Sioux Falls community."

As home to the only dental hygiene program in South Dakota, USD has offered dental hygiene services in the former Sioux Falls Coliseum at 521 North Main Ave., since January 2008. The facility is home to six state-of-the-art dental operatories complete with digital radiography and digital recordkeeping, a sterilization station and a conference room. Laboratory and other facilities are shared with the Falls Community Health Dental Clinic. Dental hygiene students rotate through the clinic on a weekly basis and they are supervised by members of the faculty who are licensed dentists and dental hygienists.

For more information about the Department of Dental Hygiene at USD, please visit their Web site at www.usd.edu/med/dhyg/ or contact the department at (605) 677-5379. For information about the School of Health Sciences, go to www.usd.edu/med/health/ or call (605) 677-5000.