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USD Sanford Medical School expands FARM program, announces new student participants

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has announced its third group of students to participate in the school’s Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program. The school also announced new FARM communities – Vermillion, Pierre and Spearfish – joining other hosting communities across the state.

Each student selected for the FARM program will receive nine months of intense and hands-on clinical training in a single, rural location that will help them understand the opportunities and rewards of practicing medicine in a small-town setting. Selected students are in their third year of medical training.

Dr. Susan Anderson, M.D., director of the FARM program, said the program introduces students to rural health care, and encourages students to practice in South Dakota’s non-urban locations. “Providing South Dakota with physicians who will practice medicine in in our smaller communities is an important mission of the medical school,” said Anderson. “The FARM program is a useful tool to help us accomplish that.”

FARM students are supervised by practicing physicians in clinical, hospital and other health care environments in host communities.

The first group of FARM students launched the program in fall, 2014. That group included six students and five hospitals in five rural South Dakota communities. The third group includes seven students and hospitals in six locations. The program’s original host communities were Milbank, Mobridge, Parkston, Platte and Winner. Those communities will continue to host FARM students. New FARM communities hosting FARM students in the future are Vermillion, starting in February 2016, and Pierre and Spearfish, beginning in February 2017.

The Class of 2018 FARM students, who will begin the program in February 2016, are listed below. Assigned FARM communities and each student’s hometown are also listed:

Adam Fitzgerald             Platte FARM Site               Hometown:  Ketchikan, Alaska

Ami Garrigan                 Mobridge FARM Site           Hometown:  Onida, S.D.

Elizabeth Hedman          Milbank FARM Site             Hometown:  Brandon, S.D.

Amanda Johnson            Winner FARM Site             Hometown:  Sioux Falls, S.D.

Julia Nichols                    Winner FARM Site            Hometown:  Rapid City, S.D.

TiAnna Vogt                    Vermillion FARM Site        Hometown:  Bonesteel, S.D.

Liz Westhoff                    Parkston FARM Site         Hometown:  Rapid City, S.D.


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