Graduate Medical Education: Meet our Program Coordinators
The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine offers excellent training at four hospital systems and numerous clinics across the state, sponsoring seven residencies and four fellowships in Sioux Falls, while a family medicine residency is offered in Pierre and Rapid City to serve the central western portions of South Dakota. In addition, the SSOM has recently been accredited to begin offering a residency in Neurology in Sioux Falls, a four-year categorical program that will welcome its first three residents in July 2023.
The SSOM’s 10 program coordinators work closely with residency program directors to run successful training programs and excel in being detail-oriented, resourceful, organized and creative.
“While the ultimate responsibility for our residency programs lies with the program directors, the programs would not function as efficiently without the coordinators,” said Dr. Nedd Brown, dean of Graduate Medical Education. “They are integral administrative personnel to achieve the mission of training exceptional physicians. The ACGME acknowledges the importance of program coordinators through awards, continuing education and training, and specific recognition through a certification process to inspire excellence.”
Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship
Interventional Cardiology Fellowship
Amy Heisinger, C-TAGME
“The positive working relationships with the fellows, my program director and faculty is most rewarding. Day-to-day tasks, professional development, ensuring they check all the boxes to graduate from fellowship and having what they need to sit for their boards fills my bucket. I love hearing from alumni and how they are thriving as cardiologists.”
The cardiovascular disease fellowship is specifically designed to provide a solid and comprehensive educational experience for future specialists. The program is focused on education rather than service, and holds a very favorable one-on-one faculty-to-fellow ratio for every rotation. The fellows work side by side with medical students, internal medicine residents, and other health care trainees from around the region, nation and world. The one-year interventional cardiology fellowship provides advanced clinical and academic training for exceptional practitioners.
Family Medicine Residency
“I enjoy getting to work with our faculty and residents every day. It’s great to see how devoted they are in providing compassionate, patient-centered care for people. They are committed to improving the health of patients, their families and community they serve.”
The Sioux Falls Family Medicine program has been an important part of molding the lives and careers of young physicians since 1973. The combination of hands-on training with experienced doctors, dedicated nurses, a well-rounded training program and cutting-edge technology make this program a leading choice for those interested in pursuing family medicine.
This program accepts two residents per year. The first year is in Sioux Falls, with years two and three in Pierre, a rural community of 14,000.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the ability to help others and to build relationships.”
Developed and implemented to assist the western South Dakota region by training physicians to provide broad-based, high quality, primary care in a rural setting, the Rapid City Family Medicine program offers extensive post-graduate level education in the medical and surgical disciplines, including the practice of obstetrics, with most residents delivering more than 150 babies during their training.
General Surgery (Rural Focus) Residency
“I truly enjoy the relationships I’ve established with the residents, faculty and staff.”
Developed to train general surgeons to be outstanding clinicians able to provide excellent surgical care in rural settings, the program provides trainees with a strong foundation of academic excellence, sound technical skills, research and an understanding of contemporary issues in surgical practice.
Mary Payton Zajicek
“I enjoy working with a great group of people, doctors and administration who are dedicated to providing the best education to an amazing group of residents and fellows. Getting to know the learners and helping them with their journeys is very fulfilling.”
Geriatrics Fellows are mentored one-on-one with accomplished faculty and obtain both clinical and administrative training while rotating through Avera McKennan Hospital, Sanford USD Medical Center, Sioux Falls VA Medical Center and Good Samaritan Society health systems. The fellowship is one year but is also offered on a part-time basis, which is a unique opportunity for practicing physicians.
Internal Medicine Residency
“The most rewarding thing about my job is watching the residents progress through residency and become confident physicians.”
The program prepares competent and compassionate internists who provide high quality care to diverse populations and actively engage in lifelong learning. Established in 1975, the program has grown and prospered, attracting a high quality resident staff due to its unique teaching climate, clinically-oriented program and dedicated faculty.
Surgical Pathology Fellowship
“It is rewarding to be part of our residents’ and fellows’ journeys in becoming practicing pathologists.”
Residents receive a challenging curriculum, diverse pathology and plenty of one-on-one attention. Recent graduates have all matched with competitive fellowships in surgical pathology, breast pathology, hematopathology, cytopathology and dermatopathology.
“I like being able to connect with those around me and help in any way I can.”
Residents experience a unique and vibrant educational community dedicated to developing successful pediatricians. The program provides a foundation of pediatric medicine that can serve as the basis for entering general pediatrics practice or the most rigorous of subspecialty fellowship programs.
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
“I love putting the pieces together to make each academic year better than the last one! There are so many moving bits in the GME world, you learn something new on almost a daily basis."
Residents provide comprehensive mental health services at three university clinic outpatient facilities in Sioux Falls and at numerous outreach sites throughout the region. Clinical training sites have been established in non-profit and VA hospitals, private and public residential treatment programs, university clinics and community mental health centers, forensic settings and chemical dependency programs. The fellowship is a small, eclectic program with four total fellows who train for careers in private, academic or institutional-based practices.
Transitional Year Residency
Megan Van Sloten
“I enjoy watching the residents mature into physicians during their first year of training.”
Residents receive a well-balanced, broad-based medical education that allows each resident to satisfy his or her specific needs and interests. The program offers up to seven elective blocks with a schedule designed specifically for each resident.