Sanford School of Medicine SD Area Health Education Center

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Health Care Workforce Pipeline


HOSA South Dakota

HOSA: Future Health Professionals is a student organization whose curriculum is aligned with Career Tech Education standards. SD HOSA's focus is to recruit students into the health care pipeline. Through local and state chapters, SD HOSA provides education activities and procedures encompassing health care careers and topics for students in a multiple number of courses. Currently, there are 138,000 members nationwide. South Dakota has become the 48th state to affiliate with HOSA.  

Through the HOSA Competitive Events Program students participate in activities involving 56 competitive events, many of which can be implemented into a science classroom. The Competitive Events Program includes six categories: Health Science, Health Professions, Leadership, Teamwork, Emergency Preparedness and Recognition events.

Seven pilot schools established local HOSA Chapters in 2012-13:

  • Alcester-Hudson HOSA
  • Dakota Valley HOSA
  • Greater SF Homeschool HOSA
  • Harrisburg HOSA
  • Lennox HOSA
  • Rapid City Stevens HOSA
  • Sioux Falls CTE Academy HOSA  

The following organizations have partnered with South Dakota HOSA through financial and in-kind giving:

  • Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health System
  • Northeast AHEC 
  • Sanford Health
  • Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation
  • South Dakota Academy of Family Physicians
  • South Dakota Foundation of Family Medicine
  • University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine
  • Yankton Rural AHEC

Scrubs Camp

Scrubs Camps are free, one-day, hands-on health career camps for South Dakota high school students. Presented by the South Dakota Office of Rural Health, Scrubs Camps take place in numerous communities across South Dakota. Students will have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of health careers through activities and discussions.

USD Health Care Careers Camp

Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota annually hosts a Health Care Careers Camp in Vermillion to help high school students pursue a future in health care by exploring a range of career options.

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

The University of South Dakota and Sanford Research are home to the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), a unique opportunity for American Indian undergraduate students to receive hands-on research experience and mentoring in a cross-disciplinary training program (biomedical or behavioral research).

Avera St. Luke's Health Academy

The ultimate goal of the Avera St. Luke's Health Academy is to promote health careers among high school juniors and seniors in an attempt to combat the impending shortage of health care professionals. The academy provides time for the students to connect with persons from their hometowns who serve as resources and mentors. Presentation College provides open student suites to become a "home away from home" for two nights. At Avera St. Luke's, more than 20 hospital staff members welcome the students into their areas of work and share their expertise.

SDSU Health Professions Career Camp

If you're interested in a career that will give you the chance to help others, consider working in a health-related field. You can explore the array of opportunities available in this field at SDSU's Health Professions Career Camp. Students will be able to interact with health care professionals and participate in a variety of activities, such as tours, workshops, speaking events, hands-on demonstrations, and field trips to health care facilities.

Community-Based Clinical Education



The Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program is a new initiative of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine to further address the healthcare needs of South Dakotans who reside in our mostly rural state. The AHEC Program Office, Yankton Rural AHEC and Northeast AHEC will assist FARM students in community engagement and with their required community projects. Read more here.

Medical Student Partnership Program

Every spring, second-year medical students from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine spend four weeks in rural South Dakota communities for a required preceptorship. During their preceptorships, the medical students visit local high schools to interact with the students and talk to them about their educational journeys. The South Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) coordinates the opportunity for the medical students to interact with local high school students. The medical students talk with students about classes they took in high school and college to prepare for medical school. They discuss what it is like to be a medical student and what it is like to take care of patients. The medical students also discuss multiple health care pathways, encouraging high school students to ask questions relating to health care and share dialogue with them.