Skip to main content

Department of Dental Hygiene at USD Wins Grant to Perform Community Services

Dental Hygiene photo The USD Department of Dental Hygiene was awarded one of only 13 grants given by HRSA for rural health outreach across the country.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The Department of Dental Hygiene at the University of South Dakota has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide preventive dental services to South Dakota children, seniors and military veterans lacking access to dental care.

The HRSA-sponsored community service program called “The Rural Dental Health Services Program” aims to provide services to individuals living in rural areas of southeastern South Dakota, particularly those who are low-income, Medicaid/Medicare-eligible, uninsured and/or immobile.

The three-year, $200,000 grant allows students from the dental hygiene department to provide a variety of services including oral cancer screenings, teeth cleanings, oral debridement and oral health education. The students will be supervised by licensed faculty members. Limited dental services such as denture relines and restorative/palliative care will be provided by an accompanying dentist. Preventing oral/systemic diseases, promoting whole body wellness, and providing better access to dental care are overarching objectives.

“We are grateful for the support that HRSA has provided for the dental hygiene department in recent years. Because of the community service work aided by HRSA our students are better prepared professionals upon graduation, and the services they provide benefit the overall health of many individuals and communities,” said Ann Brunick, chair of USD’s dental hygiene department.

The HRSA grant provided to the USD Department of Dental Hygiene is one of only 13 grants given by HRSA for rural health outreach across the country. This marks the third such grant earned by USD dental hygiene from HRSA to serve public needs and broaden dental hygiene student education.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News