As part of the FARM program, six third-year students were selected to serve at five hospitals in five rural South Dakota communities. Each student will receive nine months of intense and hands-on clinical training at a single hospital that will help them understand the opportunities and conditions of practicing medicine in a small-town setting.

“We want to expose students to rural communities and rural healthcare,” said Dr. Susan Anderson, MD, director of the FARM program. “We’re trying to dispel the myths of rural medicine. There is a misunderstanding that small communities do not have modern technology or facilities. This is not true. We also want our students to experience the different level of care and relationships they will have with patients in small communities. They will find out that they often meet their patients around town, in the grocery store or in other places. Practicing medicine in a small community has its own rewards and challenges, and we want our students to understand that.”

Approved and funded by the South Dakota Legislature in 2012, the FARM program was specifically designed to combat the shortage of physicians in rural areas of South Dakota, a priority of the medical school and Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

“We are excited and proud of our first group of FARM students,” said Anderson. “We are also excited to partner with some excellent healthcare facilities around the state. This is a win-win-win situation, for our students, the communities, and the entire state. We think this program will successfully increase the number of physicians practicing in rural communities across South Dakota.”

FARM student - Community assignment & hospital - Student’s hometown

  • Nicholas Kohles – Milbank, SD/Milbank Area Hospital (Avera) - Hometown: Aberdeen, S.D.

  • George Ceremuga – Mobridge, SD /Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics - Hometown: Rapid City, S.D.

  • Josh Doorn – Parkston, SD/Avera St. Benedict Health Center - Hometown: Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Erin Rasmussen – Platte, SD/Platte Health Center (Avera) - Hometown: Vermillion, S.D.

  • Heather Walker – Winner, SD/Winner Regional Health Care Center (Sanford) - Hometown: Vermillion, S.D.

  • David Kapperman – Winner/Winner Regional Health Care Center (Sanford) - Hometown: Hartford, S.D.

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