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USD Occupational Therapy Professor Receives Highest Honor

Image Ranelle Nissen Ranelle Nissen

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Ranelle Nissen, assistant professor of occupational therapy at the University of South Dakota’s School of Health Sciences, received the Dorothy Anne Elsberry Award of Merit from the South Dakota Occupational Therapy Association.

The award is the highest honor given by the association and is conferred to those who have made outstanding contributions to the occupational therapy profession. 

Nissen received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Dakota and has taught in USD’s Department of Occupational Therapy since 2011.


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