Male in White Lab Coat Standing by Corn Field.

FARM Program

Frontier And Rural Medicine (FARM), our rural track medical student program, is a unique opportunity for a select group of third year (Pillar 2) students to complete 10 months of their clinical training in rural communities.

Clinical Experience 

At their rural clinical sites, students participate in the full spectrum of rural medicine as they provide supervised care, following patients and their families over time in clinic, hospital and extended care settings. Training in rural communities offers medical students the opportunity to experience increased hands-on-education and gain an appreciation of the benefits of continuity in patient care. Students also develop strong bonds with instructors and other members of the healthcare team, who mentor them on the professional and personal aspects of being a physician and healthcare team member.

On-site specialty clinics, academic faculty visits, online cases, telemedicine and weekly didactic sessions are all used to help students learn.

Community Engagement

While living and learning in their FARM community, students engage with their communities outside of the healthcare setting as well. In addition to providing health care services, students complete a community project that addresses a need within their community. Projects can include health education for youth and adults, community service projects, helping to establish ongoing community support projects and many others. Students receive support from partners such as the South Dakota Area Health Education Center and the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care.  Each year, one project is chosen as the outstanding community project and receives an award from the South Dakota Academy of Family Physicians.

Up to 13 students (one to two per site) are selected each year to participate in the program. Students may apply to the program in the fall of their first academic year. FARM program leaders and former students give a presentation to first-year students explaining the program, after which students may apply. Applicants are interviewed by members of the FARM program selection committee and notified of the committee's decisions. Students are subsequently matched with communities on the basis of student preferences and community availability with the goal to honor one of their top choices.

The eight communities that participate in the program include:

  • Chamberlain
  • Milbank
  • Mobridge
  • Parkston
  • Pierre
  • Spearfish
  • Vermillion
  • Winner

The sites were selected through a competitive process. Thanks to our longstanding rural family medicine preceptorships and clerkships, we have many excellent training sites to choose from and selected the areas best suited for the FARM program.

This scholarship endowment was established by Dr. Edward A. Kaufman, B.S.M.D. ’70, to honor his parents, Drs. Edward John and Dorothybelle McCree Kaufman. The endowment will provide scholarships each year to medical students admitted to the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine’s Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program.
Gaven Kaihlen holding an award and smiling.

Community Project and Award

The project from Kaihlen Smith and Gaven Bowman, both class of 2026, was titled “Bridging the Gap From Rural Trauma to Rural Healthcare: Fire Department Education Sessions.” Many rural communities rely on volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel in emergency response scenarios.

This project allowed volunteer firefighters to be taught the skills necessary to assist EMS in an impactful way. Kaihlen and Gaven, in close collaboration with the Parkston Fire Department and EMS, organized three training nights that provided further training for skills including airway management, triage, LUCAS device application, tourniquet management, extrication scenarios, and decontamination.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the FARM Program. Our faculty are experts in their fields, contributing research and scholarship in health care and leadership.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Janet Fulk

Janet Fulk

Assistant Director-FARM
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lacy Jo Koth

Lacy Jo Koth

FARM Program Assistant I

farm success story

Success story Keely Kolikowski smiling.
This program was not only a unique and memorable experience but a defining one. It was through [FARM] that I was exposed to the top-notch medicine that frontier and rural providers practice every single day. I gained the utmost respect for these “frontiersmen/women” as they really are the last vestige of all-encompassing medical care. It was here that I saw a singular physician run a code, deliver a baby, take care of inpatients, triage a trauma, all while having a full clinic. Despite “doing it all” there was never any sacrifice of top-tier care, grace, compassion, and expertise.

Keely Krolikowski

FARM Program '17
Winner, SD

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