The award recognizes the impact of the Yankton Ambulatory Program on its students and the community as well as its shining example and reproducibility across multiple campuses.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the AAMC as a model to educate medical students that has been adopted by other medical schools,” said Lori Hansen, M.D., SSOM campus dean for the Avera Sacred Heart Campus in Yankton.

The Yankton Ambulatory Program is an ambulatory-based, integrated third-year medical student educational program on the Yankton, S.D. campus—the original clinical campus of SSOM. The program stresses continuity of care, curriculum and preceptors; problem-based learning; and is student-centered. The program results in students who have greater knowledge retention, empathy, and who take on more responsibility for patient care during their med school years.

The Yankton Ambulatory Program has served as a model for other medical schools across the United States, Canada and Australia. In 2013, the longitudinal integrated model expanded to all campuses at the Sanford School of Medicine.

Beyond improving students’ learning outcomes, the program is aiding in the fight against the looming rural physician shortage. According to Hansen, fifty percent of students who have participated in the Yankton Ambulatory Program enter primary care fields, providing primary care physicians for the state of South Dakota. The program has also had success in recruiting its students back to the Yankton Community to provide care for patients and serve as teachers for the next generation of students.

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