Jul 29, 2014

SD physician describes unique disaster response program to international audience

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Dr. Matt Owens, family practice physician at the Redfield Clinic and Hospital and assistant professor at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, described a unique and innovative South Dakota disaster response program to an international audience at the National Disaster Life Support Education Consortium conference in Atlanta, Georgia on July 22. The program described by Owens trains students enrolled in various healthcare curriculums at South Dakota’s two largest universities to became part of the integrated response to large and small disasters in the state.

Developed by the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, the South Dakota State Medical Association, and the South Dakota Department of Health, the program –titled Core Disaster Life Support training- was launched in 2004 by training students at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine as disaster responders, and it has since grown to include preparing students in 11 different health care disciplines at South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota.  “South Dakota is the only state in the country,” said Owens, “that recognizes and trains its medical school and healthcare students as valuable and deployable assets in the event of a disaster.”

According to Owens, the South Dakota program has attracted a great deal of interest from other states as well as other nations across the globe. “Our very practical and useful strategy of integrating the Core Disaster Life Support training course into the various health care curriculums,” he said, “is very appealing to public and academic entities and institutions from all over the country, even the world.”

In 2014, 320 students enrolled in health care professional disciplines at the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University were trained in the program. Though the training is a required curriculum component in 11 disciplines, students in those disciplines are not required to assist at a disaster.

About the Sanford School of Medicine

For more than a century, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has set the standard for medical education of students, residents and professionals in the state. The school’s mission includes education, research and service. It emphasizes family practice to help create the next generation of doctors for all parts of the state. The school’s economic impact includes attracting $17 million annually in research funding as well as hosting two of the four 2010 Research Centers designated by the governor.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

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Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
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