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USD Announces Finalists for Vice President of Health Affairs/Sanford School of Medicine Dean

Seal o the University of South Dakota USD announced three finalists for the vice president of Health Affairs/Sanford School of Medicine dean position.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota announced three finalists for the vice president of Health Affairs/Sanford School of Medicine dean following a five-month national search.

The search for the new vice president for Health Affairs/Sanford School of Medicine dean started in January 2019, when Dr. Mary Nettleman announced that she would be retiring in the summer of 2020.

Finalists include:

  • Tim Ridgway, executive dean & dean of Faculty Affairs; professor; Department of Internal Medicine; University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine
  • Aron Sousa, interim dean; College of Human Medicine; professor of medicine; Division of General Internal Medicine; Michigan State University
  • Paula Termuhlen, regional campus dean; professor of surgery; University of Minnesota Medical School; Duluth Campus

Campus interviews, respecting COVID-19 restrictions, will take place between mid-May and mid-June.

Search committee chair and USD Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kurt Hackemer said that the USD Sanford School of Medicine and the School of Health Sciences are well-positioned to continue to be successful as the best value medical and health sciences schools in the country with strong partnerships with local, regional, national and international health organizations.

“We thank Dr. Nettleman for her progressive leadership and many positive contributions during her tenure, and we are excited to continue the positive momentum in the coming years,” said Hackemer. “We are confident our next dean will help elevate our medical school and health sciences areas as national leaders that prepare students for a lifelong career in medicine.”

View the Finalists' Biographies and CVs

Download a High-Resolution Photo of Ridgway

Download a High-Resolution Photo of Sousa

Download a High-Resolution Photo of Termuhlen


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.


USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.


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 84 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News