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Sanford School of Medicine professor earns national diversity award

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Gerald Yutrzenka, Ph.D., associate professor of basic biomedical sciences at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 AAIM Diversity Award, presented by the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM). The award will be presented during Academic Internal Medicine Week 2013, Friday, Oct. 4 at the Sheraton New Orleans.

The national award recognizes Yutrzenka’s efforts to improve diversity among students at the Sanford School of Medicine—particularly, his work with the region’s Native American population. Yutrzenka has been instrumental in the development and coordination of the SSOM Indians into Medicine (INMED) medical student Transfer Program (conducted in cooperation with INMED and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine). He and colleagues have also established the Native American Scholars Program (NASP), a comprehensive career mentoring, advising and education program designed to assist USD Native American students who are preparing for careers as physicians and other healthcare professionals. In addition, Yutrzenka has spent several decades working to expand opportunities for American Indian high school students to enter careers in health care.

“We are pleased to see Dr. Yutrzenka honored for his significant efforts to bring greater diversity to our school and to the health care professions,” said Mary Nettleman, M.D., M.S., M.A.C.P., dean of the Sanford School of Medicine and USD’s vice president for health affairs.

AAIM is a consortium of five academically focused specialty organizations representing departments of internal medicine at medical schools and teaching hospitals in the United States and Canada. AAIM consists of the Association of Professors of Medicine (APM), the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine (APDIM), the Association of Specialty Professors (ASP), the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM), and the Administrators of Internal Medicine (AIM). Through these organizations, AAIM represents department chairs and chiefs; clerkship, residency, and fellowship program directors; division chiefs; and academic and business administrators as well as other faculty and staff in departments of internal medicine and their divisions.

A photo of Yutrzenka is available for download at


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News