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USD Sanford School of Medicine expanding medical class sizes to meet growing health care needs of South Dakota

VERMILLION, S.D. -- In an effort to meet the need of an aging state population and the increasing demands placed on health care providers under the Affordable Care Act, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine will expand its medical school class size in the fall of 2015.

Eleven students will be added per class during the next four years, according Dr. Mary Nettleman, M.D. M.S., M.A.C.P., dean of the Sanford School of Medicine and vice president for health affairs at USD. Currently, there are 56 students admitted to the M.D. program annually. The expansion is under the directive of the Governor’s Primary Care Task Force, which is examining the problems affiliated with a potential lack of rural health care for South Dakotans in the future.

“The South Dakota Department of Health estimates that there will be a need to expand the primary health care workforce by 13 to 17 percent,” Nettleman explained. “This expansion will be needed in other medical areas as well, including surgeons and specialty doctors particularly as the state’s population gets older.”

This expansion provides additional opportunities for talented South Dakota students to become physicians. The med school has a strong focus on providing a workforce for the state and more than 90 percent of the current first-year class has residency status. With outstanding board scores and board pass rates, the USD Sanford School of Medicine is ranked in the top of the nation on several key characteristics, including producing physicians who work in rural areas and training students in primary care fields.


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