Skip to main content

USD Sanford School of Medicine Names New Chair of Pediatrics

Michelle Baack in a white coat sitting in her lab. Dr. Michelle Baack has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the USD Sanford School of Medicine.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has named Michelle Baack, M.D., as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the school of medicine.

Baack, a Pierre, South Dakota, native, is a 1995 graduate of the USD Sanford School of Medicine. She performed a residency in Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center – Creighton University joint residency program, then returned to her hometown where she served as a pediatrician from 1999 to 2008. She then completed a fellowship in Neonatal and Perinatal Medicine at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa, and returned to South Dakota.

Since 2011, Baack has served as a neonatologist at Sanford Children’s Specialty Clinic and as a physician scientist at Sanford Research, both in Sioux Falls. She is currently an associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at the USD Sanford School of Medicine. Her work as a physician scientist focuses on improving outcomes for mothers and their developing babies through improved nutrition and includes her current duty as chief of research in the Sanford Division of the Department of Pediatrics at the USD Sanford School of Medicine.

“Dr. Baack’s experience and expertise in pediatrics as a physician, a researcher and as an educator, make her the ideal appointment for this important leadership position,” said Tim Ridgway, M.D., dean of the USD Sanford School of Medicine and vice president of the Division of Health Affairs. “Her loyalty and skilled service to our institution has been demonstrated in many ways, and she is a strong advocate for children’s healthcare throughout South Dakota. We welcome her to our leadership team.”

Baack was preceded by Archana Chatterjee, M.D., who departed the medical school after serving as pediatrics chair for seven years to become dean of the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, Illinois.


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