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Sanford School of Medicines Yankton campus recognized as innovation leader

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine’s (SSOM) Yankton Ambulatory Program was selected as a recipient of the 2013 GRMC Shining Star of Educational Innovation award. Sponsored by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the honor was presented on Friday, Nov. 1 at the organization’s national meeting in Philadelphia, Pa.

The award recognizes the impact of the Yankton Ambulatory Program on its students and the community as well as its shining example and reproducibility across multiple campuses.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the AAMC as a model to educate medical students that has been adopted by other medical schools,” said Lori Hansen, M.D., SSOM campus dean for the Avera Sacred Heart Campus in Yankton.

The Yankton Ambulatory Program is an ambulatory-based, integrated third-year medical student educational program on the Yankton, S.D. campus—the original clinical campus of SSOM. The program stresses continuity of care, curriculum and preceptors; problem-based learning; and is student-centered. The program results in students who have greater knowledge retention, empathy, and who take on more responsibility for patient care during their med school years.

The Yankton Ambulatory Program has served as a model for other medical schools across the United States, Canada and Australia. In 2013, the longitudinal integrated model expanded to all campuses at the Sanford School of Medicine.

Beyond improving students’ learning outcomes, the program is aiding in the fight against the looming rural physician shortage. According to Hansen, fifty percent of students who have participated in the Yankton Ambulatory Program enter primary care fields, providing primary care physicians for the state of South Dakota. The program has also had success in recruiting its students back to the Yankton Community to provide care for patients and serve as teachers for the next generation of students.


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, Knudson 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