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fMRI Studies

Scheduling fMRI Appointments

The MRI is located at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, South Dakota. The MRI is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., dependent on Avera Sacred Heart Hospital scheduling. We will coordinate with Avera Sacred Heart Hospital to schedule appointments. Studies must be cancelled before their scheduled start time to avoid being charged the full price for the study. Cancellations are not accepted once the scheduled start time has arrived.

If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment, contact us at 605-658-6340 or as soon as possible.

Conducting fMRI Studies

Appointments are limited to two hours in length. Avera Sacred Heart Hospital radiology staff will run the MRI machine and are present for all scanning sessions. We are available to conduct the in-magnet experiment and prepare the participant for the study. Contact us at early in the process to discuss the feasibility of your project.

Accessing Your fMRI Data

We will transfer your data electronically from Avera Sacred Heart Hospital to a USD server that you can access. We will store your data on the server for the duration of your study. Avera Sacred Heart Hospital will not retain your imaging data.


New users must complete a new user form. A method of payment and Institutional Review Board approval must be verified before you will be allowed to schedule your first scan. We will coordinate billing with Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. You will be billed on a monthly basis and must pay for your scans before you will be allowed to schedule more participants. The cost of your study will depend on how many participants you would like to run, and the level of assistance you need to complete your project.

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MRI Safety

The fMRI procedure is both non-invasive and safe for most people. There are no known long-term side effects from MRI scanning when proper testing and screening procedures have been utilized. However, working in the presence of a strong magnetic field requires some precautions to ensure participant safety. Participants cannot participate if they:

  • Have a cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator
  • Have had an aneurysm or brain clip
  • Have metal within their bodies made from a ferromagnetic material such as iron, cobalt or nickel
  • Have non-removable body piercings
  • Are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant
  • Are uncomfortable in small spaces or around loud noises

All participants will be asked to complete a comprehensive screening form to determine eligibility for all fMRI sessions. Additionally, a certified radiology technician will screen the participant at the hospital prior to the fMRI scan.

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Items Unsafe for the MRI Machine

  • Shirts or tops with metal buttons, zippers, snaps or rivets
  • Underwire bras
  • Belt buckles (pant zippers are fine)
  • Jewelry
  • Glasses
  • Any loose metal object

MRI LocationAvera Sacred Heart

The MRI machine is housed within the radiology department at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton.
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital
501 Summit Street
Yankton, SD 57078

On the day of the scan, participants may park in the Avera Sacred Heart Hospital main parking lot. The experimenter will meet the participant in the large seating area inside the main entrance. Participants should not check in with registration.

EEG or Behavioral Studies

Available Human Subjects Research Facilities HFIC Testing Space

We maintain a research participant waiting room and testing room in the Lee Medical building on the USD main campus in Vermillion. The Lee Medical building is located near the intersection of Dakota Street and Clark Street. Rooms 140 (waiting room) and 141 (testing room) are located on the ground floor near the east entrance of the Lee Medical. These rooms are equipped to accommodate both children and adult research participants. Space is also available in Sioux Falls in the Health Sciences building, and Yankton. These rooms are available 24/7 for behavioral or EEG testing to all USD investigators who have an open IRB-approved study. Reservations for these rooms can be made using an online scheduler. You must arrange for an account before making your first reservation.


Parking for research participants is available at the Lee Medical building. This parking space is located near the west entrance near the intersection of Dakota Street and Clark Street, and has a sign labeled "Reserved Parking for CBBRe Guests." Investigators may reserve this parking space using an online scheduler.

Contact us at 605-658-6340 or if you would like to use these facilities for your research.