VERMILLION, S.D. -- In an effort to meet the need of an aging state population and the increasing demands placed on health care providers under the Affordable Care Act, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine will expand its medical school class size in the fall of 2015.
Eleven students will be added per class during the next four years, according Dr. Mary Nettleman, M.D. M.S., M.A.C.P., dean of the Sanford School of Medicine and vice president for health affairs at USD. Currently, there are 56 students admitted to the M.D. program annually. The expansion is under the directive of the Governor’s Primary Care Task Force, which is examining the problems affiliated with a potential lack of rural health care for South Dakotans in the future.
“The South Dakota Department of Health estimates that there will be a need to expand the primary health care workforce by 13 to 17 percent,” Nettleman explained. “This expansion will be needed in other medical areas as well, including surgeons and specialty doctors particularly as the state’s population gets older.”
This expansion provides additional opportunities for talented South Dakota students to become physicians. The med school has a strong focus on providing a workforce for the state and more than 90 percent of the current first-year class has residency status. With outstanding board scores and board pass rates, the USD Sanford School of Medicine is ranked in the top of the nation on several key characteristics, including producing physicians who work in rural areas and training students in primary care fields.