Gift to USD Foundation aims to improve health care of Native American communities in South Dakota

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A $100,000 gift to the University of South Dakota Foundation by his widow will honor the memory of Dr. Walter Anyan and provide greater access to health care among Native Americans in South Dakota.

Dr. Michael Lawler, M.S.W., Ph.D., dean of the School of Health Sciences, says the money will fund scholarships for Native American students in any of the School of Health Sciences’ undergraduate majors — addiction studies, dental hygiene, health sciences, medical laboratory science, nursing, and social work — who will then practice in their home communities. “This generous gift will support Native American scholar-practitioners at USD who are eager to contribute to the health and well-being of their communities,” Lawler said. “We are thrilled to offer the Dr. Walter Anyan Scholarship.”

Carol Ann Anyan, of Guilford, Conn., says she and her late husband, who started the adolescent medicine program at Yale Medical School, had long been interested in the Native American culture since hosting a young member of the Hopi Tribe. She describes her husband as a “quiet, caring man, who did things anonymously to help people better themselves.”

A lay minister during his college years, who served as interim pastor in rural communities, Anyan was a leader in establishing school-based health clinics to increase access to quality health care for all children and adolescents in Connecticut public schools and youth detention centers.

Anyan hopes to direct additional funds to the Dr. Walter Anyan Scholarship Endowment so as to completely fund scholarship recipients’ expenses. “It’s a wonderful way to honor his memory,” she said.   

Download a photo of Walter Anyan.

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