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USD's Statewide ECHO Network Shares Pandemic Knowledge with Rural Health Care Providers

The Project ECHO logo Project ECHO is offering informational guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic to South Dakota's health care professionals and health professions students.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences’ video-conferencing platform, the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), is now offering informational guidance about the COVID-19 pandemic to South Dakota’s health care professionals and health professions students.

Programs relevant to the pandemic are offered on Thursday evenings, and each program features experts addressing a variety of topics. Participants are able to ask questions and interact during the hour-long sessions. The ECHO project is particularly useful to deliver important information to rural health care providers who otherwise might not have direct access to expertise about COVID-19 and related issues. USD also offers ECHO programs about other health issues facing South Dakotans.

“Our staff, faculty and partners are creating invaluable content to share with our state’s health care professionals who benefit from ECHO’s information-sharing capabilities,” said Haifa Samra, dean of the USD School of Health Sciences and sponsor of one of South Dakota’s two ECHO hubs. “ECHO provides a unique and interprofessional platform for our students, faculty and for health practitioners across the state. It allows for those of us in the health professions to share and exchange information, ideas, experiences and best practices to address current challenges.”

Partnering on the pandemic information series with the School of Health Sciences is USD’s Sanford School of Medicine, and leading that effort is Dr. Susan Anderson, dean of rural medicine at the medical school. Anderson emphasized the distinct contribution of the ECHO program, especially to rural health care providers. “I believe we are filling a niche,” she explained. “There is a lot of information about the pandemic communicated through a variety of mediums on a daily basis, and the ECHO programs provide a unique platform offering discussion and sharing.”

The series of programs about the pandemic started several weeks ago and will include at least eight weekly programs. Attendance has been strong with health care professionals from all regions of South Dakota. Programs are available on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. CT. For more information, and to register for one or more programs, visit the ECHO USD website at or contact ECHO via email at


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.


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 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