South Dakota University Students Learn Disaster Response at USD

Image Disaster Training Day Participants in Disaster Training Day learn about the role and value of immunizations during a disaster, and during the training sessions they practice immunization techniques on one another.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Hundreds of students from South Dakota universities will be at the University of South Dakota on Friday, Feb. 19, for Disaster Training Day, which helps prepare young health professionals to respond to future, potential emergencies.

The day is a collaborative effort among the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH), the USD Sanford School of Medicine, USD School of Health Sciences, South Dakota State University, the NDLS Training Center for Upper Midwest and Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center to bring this training to students. Funding is provided by the South Dakota DOH through a federal Health and Human Services grant.

In addition to the Core Disaster Life Support instruction, students will receive hands-on training in anaphylaxis, immunizations, points of dispensing, pysch first aid, triage and mass casualty response. New to Disaster Training Day this year are “MACKS” – the State of South Dakota’s mobile autopsy suite and emergency medicine for children.

MACKS is designed to allow for two pathology teams to conduct operations at the same time. The 35-foot long trailer enables post-mortem activities to take place inside an enclosed mobile unit. Photography, dental X-ray, fingerprinting, DNA collection, full autopsy and embalming are possible. The mobile morgue expedites the identification process and coordination with families.

Health professions students representing 11 disciplines from SDSU, USD, Mount Marty College, and the University of Sioux Falls are attending the training. Students will also have the opportunity to sign up with SERV-SD, which is the Statewide Emergency Registry of Volunteers operating under the South Dakota DOH. SERV-SD coordinates the pre-registration of medical and health care professionals who may be willing to volunteer in the event of an emergency. The goal is to register qualified individuals, verify their respective credentials, and provide education and training in the area of disaster response.


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.


Michael Ewald
USD News