Sanford School of Medicine welcomes first geriatric fellow

VERMILLION, S.D. -- In July 2011, the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota accepted its first geriatric fellow, Mary Morris, M.D., of Redfield, S.D.

Led by Program Director Dr. David Sandvik, professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine at the Sanford School of Medicine, the new Geriatrics Fellowship program will address a critical need in South Dakota of producing physicians with formal training in caring for older people. South Dakota has one of the higher percentages of older citizens at a time when the total number of geriatricians in the United States is declining.

Morris is a family medicine physician who has practiced at the Redfield Clinic and Community Memorial Hospital for the past 15 years. A 1992 graduate of the Sanford School of Medicine, she is a nursing home medical director who has earned the Certified Medical Director recognition from the American Medical Directors Association. She is also Board Certified in Family Medicine

In 2005, under the direction of Sandvik, the Sanford School of Medicine established the South Dakota Institute of Geriatrics to address and improve health care and general aging of elderly South Dakotans through research, education and service. A major Institute goal was starting a Geriatrics Fellowship in the state. The Fellowship program is approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee and is a joint program with the School of Medicine’s Departments of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine. The program is one year of training after completion of a residency in either family or internal medicine. At the completion of training, fellows are eligible to take Boards to become certified geriatricians, providing primary care for older patients and consultative services in geriatrics for other health care providers.

The Program Director position is funded through The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society.  Funding for the Fellowship operation is provided by Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center and the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System.

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USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.

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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 206 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, 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 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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