Students Hone Interprofessional Health Care Skills at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. — More than 400 students from the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University spent Tuesday on the Vermillion campus of USD learning teamwork skills in the evolving concept known as interprofessional health care.

That approach emphasizes that health care professionals from different disciplines work closely together to improve patient outcomes. For example, a social worker, physical therapist and nurse confer, communicate and cooperate with the physician as a team when deciding how to treat someone.

Students and faculty taking part in the half-day-long exercises are from SDSU’s College of Pharmacy; USD’s College of Arts & Sciences, which includes audiology, speech language pathology and clinical psychology; the USD Sanford School of Medicine’s medical program and center for disabilities; USD’s School of Health Sciences, which includes addiction studies, dental hygiene, medical laboratory science, nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistant, physical therapy, public health, social work and health sciences major.

"The event, which started in 1999, provides the students a great chance to interact with and learn about other health professionals, and how they can work together to provide team-based care," said Joy Karges, professor of physical therapy and Chair of the interprofessional training event at USD.

“This is an important event in the development of health care professionals in South Dakota, setting standards for interprofessional health sciences education and practice,” added Michael Lawler, Ph.D., dean of USD's School of Health Sciences, which is leading a statewide effort that’s unique in the United States because it blends government, education and health institutions to advance interprofessionalism. For details on the effort, see the current issue of South Dakotan Health magazine.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


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.


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 205 undergraduate and 73 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.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Michael Ewald
USD News