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The School of Health Sciences is committed to academic excellence. We provide low student-to-faculty ratios and real-world settings beyond the classroom that lead to student success. This is proven as our students routinely exceed the national average on their board certification exams.

Vision Statement

The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences will provide accomplished, forward-thinking leadership in health professions education that advances a culture of skillful and compassionate care for all. 

Mission and Purpose

The mission of the School of Health Sciences reads as follows: 

“Develop exceptional practitioners, leaders, and scholars who advocate for and improve the well-being of all people, particularly those in rural and underserved communities. To meet the workforce needs of South Dakota, the region and beyond, we emphasize academic excellence, practical experience and public service within an interprofessional, learner-centered, collaborative environment.”

Diversity Statement

The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences is committed to an environment of inclusiveness in classroom and clinical settings that honors the richness of diverse perspectives and interprofessional practice through valuing diverse traditions, heritages and experiences.

Values Statements


We continually demonstrate behaviors congruent with standards set by our professions. Embedded in this important construct are many ethical principles, notably respect, empathy, integrity, veracity and life-long learning.

Value Education and Stewardship

We develop a vibrant, robust and much-needed healthcare workforce that is ready for practice through an affordable and interprofessional approach to healthcare education. We model behaviors that recognize the importance of efficiency and effective use of all resources.  It is our intention to be responsible stewards, making decisions that utilize sound reasoning, good judgment and best practices. 


We partner with and invest in our community. We advocate to reduce healthcare disparities and to promote well-being. We honor all humanity as we strive to develop a professional workforce devoted to service to others.


We practice professional judgement informed by best available evidence and knowledge. We engage in continuous quality improvement, innovation and scholarship. We promote academic rigor in a learner-centered environment. We embrace leadership, coaching and mentoring to influence and lead positive change.

Relationship Centered

Our commitment to others is manifested in relationships that showcase respect, kindness, trust, care and compassion. We embody collaboration, civility, cultural humility and collegiality in all our interactions. We intentionally engage in open, respectful communication as we develop and maintain meaningful relationships with all our stakeholders, including our American Indian, rural and minority communities.

Safety and Well-being

We aim to promote an environment that supports health, wellness and balance for all within the School of Health Sciences, as well as for those we serve. An intentional focus on safety is inherent in all aspects of our programs.

Strategic Themes and Goals

The School of Health Sciences promulgates the following goals and supportive strategies during the strategic planning period of 2021-2026:

Theme I. Graduate and Undergraduate Education and Training
Aim I. Provide value education to build South Dakota’s future healthcare workforce and to improve the public health and wellbeing of South Dakota citizens; meet the state’s and region’s need in response to the long-term (2018-2028) projections for healthcare occupations employment increase found at here.

Theme II. Partnerships and Community Engagement through Public Service  
Aim II. Build synergetic partnerships to leverage resources, skill, expertise and advance health and knowledge through community engaged learning and public and clinical service.

Theme III. Recognized Expertise, Innovation, Research and Scholarship 
Aim III: Improve healthcare through intellectual curiosity and engagement, scholarship, expert knowledge, research and innovation.

Theme IV. Leadership, People and Well-being
Aim IV. Invest in people to broaden faculty and staff professional development and leadership where all people excel and feel valued.

School of Health Sciences in 2020

The School of Health Sciences (SHS) serves as the region’s premier, comprehensive school of health and human service professions, preparing students for interprofessional, collaborative practice that meets the workforce needs of the region, and innovatively moves health and human services forward. Students prepare for the future’s challenges by completing rigorous curricula firmly grounded in high quality interprofessional education (IPE) that fosters whole body wellness utilizing an inclusive health care team. Faculty members develop and implement activities across professions by contributing to four collaborating domains - curricular, community service, scholarship and health care simulation - each of which captures an IPE component. The SHS students exhibit professional, community-focused and client-centered behavior and become alumni who are leaders, mentors, practitioners and change agents.

We are home to exceptionally accomplished, professional faculty who provide a wide range of health and human service programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Professors are engaged educators; they participate individually and collaboratively in research and creative scholarship to generate new knowledge and enhance teaching and learning. Their commitment to service addresses the health needs of the public.

The student experience is supportive, affirming and technologically rich with personal mentoring by other students, faculty and staff. Students embrace the virtues of professionalism and value interprofessional experiences and opportunities. Students engage in a myriad of scholarship and community service activities providing care to those in need, especially serving rural, medically underserved and diverse populations.

We are committed to a global outlook and welcome people from all backgrounds, embodying the value of inclusivity in its curricula, programs, policies and facilities. The SHS appeals to students, faculty, and staff with a range of experiences, heritages, and cultures. We are committed to partnering with Native American communities, fostering education, service and research. Rich collaborations with health and human service systems, and civic and business partners at the local, regional, national, and international levels facilitate research and enhance students’ educational opportunities.

The USD School of Health Sciences in 2020 has the distinction of being the premier School of Health Sciences promoting innovative, interprofessional education for professionals who will be serving the health needs of the public, especially those in rural, medically underserved and health care shortage areas.