Disaster experts and certified trainers will prepare students studying different healthcare disciplines at the two universities to assist the public during a disaster. Students from SDSU include those studying pharmacy and medical laboratory. USD students come from the school of health sciences, including nursing, physical therapy, dental hygiene, occupational therapy, social work, medical laboratory, physician assistant, school of medicine, and also from USD’s clinical psychology department.

Students can become certified in Core Disaster Life Support from the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF) at the training, and can register with South Dakota’s Department of Heath Statewide Emergency Registry of Volunteers (SERV SD). This registry coordinates the pre-registration of medical and healthcare professionals who are willing to volunteer during disaster situations.

Public assistance from properly prepared healthcare students during disasters has proven to be valuable. Since 2010, South Dakota has experienced 14 federally designated disasters.

The event is coordinated by the South Dakota Department of Health, the USD Sanford School of Medicine, USD School of Health Sciences, SDSU, the NDLSF Training Center for the Upper Midwest, and the Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center. Funding for the event comes from the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about South Dakota disaster preparedness training, contact Cheri Buffington at Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center in Yankton, SD, at 605-655-1407.

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