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USD Sanford School of Medicine student Collin Michels is recipient of USPHS Excellence in Public Health Award

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Collin Michels, a student at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, was named a recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Public Health Award. Michels, of Yankton, S.D., was nominated by Paul C. Bunger, Ph.D., dean of Medical Student Affairs at the Sanford School of Medicine. He is in the second semester of his first year of medical school.

Bunger, who has Michels as a student in the Embryology section of the Medical Foundations I course that he teaches, noted that Michels is one of six in his class who have been selected for the Sanford School of Medicine’s Scholarship Pathways Program – a program that allows for students to develop a project over their four years of med school that relates to research, education or service. As an undergraduate student, Michels participated in several projects with state epidemiologist Dr. Lon Kightlinger, including the creation of an antibiogram for the state – the first since 2001. Since beginning med school, Michels has continued his interest in public health by proposing a state project relating to the South Dakota Trauma system.

“Collin has demonstrated significant accomplishments in the field of public health, and is currently investing his knowledge and expertise in the area of trauma care,” noted Bunger. “He is extremely interested in the inclusion of public health in his future clinical practice.”

While at USD, Michels was president of Student Government Association; majored in Spanish and biology; and was a member of the Pre-Med Society. Michels will graduate from the Sanford School of Medicine in 2017, and he received the award Wednesday during a ceremony at the Health Sciences Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. from Dr. Sophie Two Hawk. Two Hawk is an officer in the USPHS and serves as the Chief Executive Officer at the Rosebud Comprehensive Healthcare Facility.

Download a photo of 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, and Michels.


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