Skip to main content

USD Sanford School of Medicine Program Aids Native American Students

The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has been awarded $446,671 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help Native American students on the Pine Ridge and Yankton reservations.

The grant, from the HHS' National Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program, funds the first year of the medical school's multi-year Native American Healthcare Scholars Program. That effort provides career and academic mentoring as well as career awareness-building activities for selected upper-level high school students from the Red Cloud High School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Wagner Community School on the Yankton Indian Reservation.

The Native American Healthcare Scholars Program is a part of the school's strategic diversity plan and contributes to its efforts to further diversify health care professions, said Gerald J. Yutrzenka, associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

"We are working to assist Native American high school students who have demonstrated an interest in becoming a physician or in pursuing careers in one of the other health care professions. If the program’s Native American high school students decide to attend USD, which we hope they will all do, we will then have the opportunity to continue to foster their development as they move along their career path," he said.

The USD program to help identify, mentor and encourage young Native Americans to pursue careers in health care begins this year and will continue into 2020.


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.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News