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-chaired 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 pipeline.”
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. •
USD Sanford School of Medicine,
School of Health Sciences Deans
and Faculty Serve on Taskforce
fall/winter 2013 •