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.