VERMILLION, S.D. -- In July 2011, the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota accepted its first geriatric fellow, Mary Morris, M.D., of Redfield, S.D.
Led by Program Director Dr. David Sandvik, professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine at the Sanford School of Medicine, the new Geriatrics Fellowship program will address a critical need in South Dakota of producing physicians with formal training in caring for older people. South Dakota has one of the higher percentages of older citizens at a time when the total number of geriatricians in the United States is declining.
Morris is a family medicine physician who has practiced at the Redfield Clinic and Community Memorial Hospital for the past 15 years. A 1992 graduate of the Sanford School of Medicine, she is a nursing home medical director who has earned the Certified Medical Director recognition from the American Medical Directors Association. She is also Board Certified in Family Medicine
In 2005, under the direction of Sandvik, the Sanford School of Medicine established the South Dakota Institute of Geriatrics to address and improve health care and general aging of elderly South Dakotans through research, education and service. A major Institute goal was starting a Geriatrics Fellowship in the state. The Fellowship program is approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Residency Review Committee and is a joint program with the School of Medicine’s Departments of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine. The program is one year of training after completion of a residency in either family or internal medicine. At the completion of training, fellows are eligible to take Boards to become certified geriatricians, providing primary care for older patients and consultative services in geriatrics for other health care providers.
The Program Director position is funded through The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. Funding for the Fellowship operation is provided by Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center and the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System.