Health Sciences Briefs
| South Dakotan HEALTH
Expanding the educational capacity to train more primary health care providers for rural
areas of South Dakota is the focus of a new task force created by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Mary Nettleman, M.D., M.S., M.A.C.P., dean of the University of South Dakota Sanford School
of Medicine, and Deb Bowman, senior advisor to the governor, co-chair the group, which is comprised
of medical and health professionals as well as policymakers including dean of USD’s School of Health
Sciences, Michael Lawler, Ph.D., M.S.W. and Bruce Vogt, M.D., chair and professor of SSOM’s
Department of Family Medicine.
“South Dakota’s need for doctors and other health professionals will only increase as our population
ages and we see more people with chronic health conditions,” Gov. Daugaard said. “The state has long
offered help to communities in recruiting providers, but it’s
important that we also look on the front end and make sure
we’re getting adequate numbers of health care students in the
Health professionals in South Dakota are
concentrated in the state’s most populous areas
while rural areas face continuing challenges in
recruiting and retaining health care providers.
Fifty-nine of the state’s 66 counties are
federally designated as health-professional shortage
areas, either partially or completely. Further
compounding the problem is that significant numbers of
current providers are nearing retirement age at a time when the
state’s school-age population is declining, meaning a smaller pool of
students from which to draw for health careers.
The governor’s Primary Care Task Force considered and made
recommendations regarding the medical school class size, components of the
rural training track for medical students, residency programs in the state, and
physician assistant and nurse practitioner program capacity.
The task force continues to work on its
USD Sanford School of Medicine,
School of Health Sciences Deans
and Faculty Selected for Taskforce
Gov. Dennis Daugaard
Mary Nettlemann, M.D.
Michael Lawler, Ph.D.
Bruce Vogt, M.D.