The South Dakota Disaster Preparedness Training is a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Department of Health, South Dakota State Medical Association, Sanford School of Medicine of USD, The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences, South Dakota State University, National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) program and the Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center (AHEC).

“South Dakota leads the nation in this kind of training and collaboration,” said Dr. Janet Lindemann, dean of medical student education, Sanford School of Medicine. “And in a state like South Dakota, where natural disasters can occur and time is an issue when it comes to aiding residents of our rural communities, we expanded this training to include students in all health care professions.”

“It’s very critical for students to learn this type of training,” Lindemann added, “especially if they end up working in a rural health professional environment where severe weather and other dangers may occur.”

The daylong session will include medical, nursing, physician assistant, social work, clinical lab science, occupational therapy, and physical therapy students from USD School of Health Sciences, the Sanford School of Medicine of USD and pharmacy doctorate students from South Dakota State University. Prominent physicians and educators in the field of disaster preparation and life support training will be available to teach and train nearly 400 students in the Core Disaster Life Support® Version 3.0 course, one of the NDLS program courses provided by the American Medical Association and the National Disaster Life Support Foundation, Inc. Other disaster preparedness training will include breakout sessions in triage, immunizations, anaphylaxis, the state radio system, the Strategic National Stockpile, Chempak and point of dispensing (POD) assignments.

“This is a great opportunity for students seeking a career in the health care industry to receive some of the best disaster preparation training to be offered,” noted Sandy Viau Williams, executive director, Yankton Rural AHEC. “We’re fortunate to have a very distinguished list of keynote speakers and educators contributing to this great day of education for South Dakota students.”

Special guests include Dr. Matthew Owens, clinical assistant professor, Sanford School of Medicine, of Redfield, S.D., where he is a full-time family practice physician at the Redfield Memorial Clinic and medical director of the Spink County EMS; Dr. Lewis Marshall of the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center (N.Y.); Dan Kirkpatrick, assistant director, Workforce Development at The National Center for Medical Readiness, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University (Ohio); and Andrew Spain, Ph.D., Society for Simulation in Healthcare (Mo.). South Dakota Lt. Gov. Matt Michels will be present at the training program, made possible by a South Dakota Department of Health grant and a three-year HRSA grant for Rural Experiences for Health Professionals Students (REHPS) to the Yankton Rural AHEC.

For more information about South Dakota Disaster Preparedness Training, please contact Gwenna Hendrix, REHPS Program Manager, Yankton, S.D., at (605) 655-1400. To learn more about the NDLS program, please visit or

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