The Sanford School of Medicine’s 2013 graduating class has 53 students. They chose 16 different specialties and will train in 23 different states. Nine students (17 percent of the class) will train in residencies in South Dakota for at least their first year.

“Every year I am not only impressed with the quality of our graduates and their abilities in clinical medicine, but I am extremely pleased when residency programs in South Dakota, as well as those at medical schools throughout the country, recognize those qualities and express a strong desire to have our students choose their program,” said Paul Bunger, Ph.D., dean of medical student affairs for the Sanford School of Medicine.

Medical student Donella Headlee, originally from Belvedere, S.D., was pleased to learn she will begin her residency in Sioux Falls, where she will specialize in family medicine.

“My entire family lives here, it’s where my roots are and it’s where I want to practice. So for me it was really a no-brainer,” she explained. “I’ve lived elsewhere, with graduate programs and other jobs, so I’ve had the chance to experience the world, but I’ve also realized that home is where the heart is, and my heart is here in South Dakota.”

For their first two years of medical education, students receive instruction on the Vermillion campus. While the majority of third- and fourth-year students are trained in Rapid City, Sioux Falls or Yankton, six students in the most recent entering class have been chosen to participate in the Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program, which will place participants in one of six rural host communities for an immersive nine-month experience during their third year. The FARM students will begin training in their host communities in July 2014.

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