Shauna Rich Jacobson is a doctoral prepared CRNA with 28 years of experience in the nursing profession, 18 of those in nurse anesthesia. She holds a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice and Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from Mount Marty University, as well as a paralegal certificate from the Center for Advanced Legal Studies in Houston, Texas.

Shauna Rich Jacobson headshot

Jacobson will begin her duties at USD on May 9, 2022. As program director, Jacobson will be responsible for the overall operations and management of the program. “I look forward to developing the DNAP program by forging relationships, securing faculty and solidifying a sound curriculum,” Jacobson said. “I am excited to prepare a new generation of nurse anesthesia providers. In addition, I am honored to share the profession that I love. I love this profession and I am honored to prepare a new generation of nurse anesthesia providers.”

Most recently employed with Sanford Medical Center, Jacobson was anesthesia in-service coordinator, facilitating annual approval from the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA), clinically mentoring new CRNAs and assisting in the development of student nurse anesthetists. As a practicing CRNA, Jacobson worked with patients of all ages in the areas of general surgery/trauma, orthopedics, ENT, cardiovascular, OB/GYN, interventional radiology and pediatrics. She also holds the unique credentials of having paralegal training in medical malpractice.

“The School of Health Sciences is poised to provide much-needed services with this new doctoral program and Shauna leading it," said Haifa Abou-Samra, Ph.D., dean of USD’s School of Health Sciences. "She is profession-centered and promotes team approached, evidence-based patient care with the heart of a student and enthusiasm for education.”

USD will launch the DNAP degree program in Sioux Falls in spring 2023 to help meet the continued need of growing and building South Dakota’s health care workforce. Nurse anesthetists are the sole provider of anesthesia care in 83% of South Dakota counties, demonstrating the need to elevate the quality of care in the emerging health care systems and to strengthen CRNA leadership skills. USD will be the only public university in the state to offer the DNAP degree.

The program is currently undertaking a capability review and planning for accreditation decision in October 2022. Program offering will begin in the spring 2023 . For more information, visit

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