Sanford School of Medicine School of Medicine

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Diversity Opportunities

Our Office of Diversity Affairs participates in a variety of educational and experiential enrichment opportunities for pre-college students, college students and medical students at the Sanford School of Medicine. 

Our Focus
  • Enhancing the opportunities for South Dakota's American Indians to participate more fully in careers in medicine and other health care professions.
Our Roles
  • The Office of Diversity Affairs also serves as the Indians into Medicine (INMED) Satellite office of the INMED program and serves to promote the efforts and initiatives of INMED.
  • The Office of Diversity Affairs is our representative to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Group on Student Affairs, Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA). 
  • The office collaborates with USD diversity efforts such as the USD Native Student Services and Recruitment Committee and the USD President's Council on Diversity and Inclusion. 
  • The Diversity Affairs office offers consultation, direction and support of the School of Medicine diversity efforts and programs. 
Indians Into Medicine 

The INMED Satellite Office works to support INMED-based programs such as recruiting Indian middle school and high school students for participation in the INMED Summer Institute. While the INMED transfer program will end in 2013, there are ongoing discussions with INMED to support the admission of INMED students as first-year students at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. 

Native American Scholars Program

The Native American Scholars Program (NASP), a program of the Center of Excellence in Minority Health & Health Disparities, assists Native American students who are interested in or currently attending The U and are in pursuit of careers in medicine or other health care professions. More

Diversity Dialogues

The Diversity Dialogues series began in 2006 as a suggestion from medical students who desired to have increased opportunities to learn about elements of diversity. Diversity Dialogues offer a variety of regularly scheduled informal discussions that are open to students, staff and faculty. The goal is to help foster a more complete understanding of diversity as it relates to the local, regional, national, and global society. The Dialogues feature presenters who can offer enhanced insights and perspective on some of the social, cultural and health-related differences that exist among the variety of peoples and cultures that our students are likely to encounter in their future practices.

Cultural Awareness Week 

The Cultural Awareness Week is designed to help our medical students interact with and learn about a variety of cultures that they may encounter through their clinical training years.


ASNIYA is a teaching service-learning elective for our fourth-year medical students. The goal of the program is to provide the student with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in cross-cultural health education, gain an enhanced understanding of issues that impact upon medicine and health care needs of Native Americans within the reservation setting and foster cross-cultural understanding and competency of the medical student. ASNIYA means "to heal" or "to cure" in the language of the Dakota Sioux. The program was established through Harvard Medical School in 1995, whereby medical students and other allied health care students are recruited from participating institutions to serve as ASNIYA interns. Interns receive course credit and are placed at Indian reservations to introduce Native American youth to fields in health care. In addition, clinical experiences are arranged for the interns at local reservation health care facilities, providing insight to the complex Native American health issues that exist.

Diversity Health Affairs Committee

This committee explores, reviews and recommends health education opportunities and programs for minorities, especially Native Americans, through the Sanford School of Medicine and School of Health Sciences. It recommends and takes action to facilitate programs and initiatives for improving health care of minorities in South Dakota. In addition, the committee works to increase the cultural competence of our medical students and health science students. The committee acts as a reference committee providing expertise and input concerning the interaction of the schools with  the Division of Health Sciences, the Indian health Service, Tribal entities, as well as other public or private groups and/or foundations.

Pre-Med Outreach