The initial program funding will create the Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center, which will be located on the campus of Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. Through the center, the medical school will work to increase the number, diversity, quality and geographic distribution of health care providers throughout the state. Projected funding of over one million dollars per year for years two and three of the grant proposal will allow the school to develop an additional center in South Dakota.

A recent South Dakota Healthcare Workforce Summit identified the need for more providers, especially physicians, physician assistants and clinical laboratory scientists. USD offers training in all three areas through the medical school or the School of Health Sciences.

"We're excited to receive this grant because it offers us a chance to help address a critical need for health care," said H. Bruce Vogt, M.D., chair of the Department of Family Medicine and director for the program. "It also helps us address an important economic development issue because many parts of the state need to sustain or improve health care to survive and thrive."

Vogt and Lori Hansen, M.D., dean of the medical school’s Yankton campus, are the principal investigators for the grant.

The vision for the Yankton center includes creating awareness about health professions among all South Dakota high school students, providing more opportunities for continuing education for health professionals and using distance technology and other technology to bridge gaps in training and development.

Funding for Area Health Education Centers is provided federally through the Bureau of Health Professions, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Photos of Vogt and Hansen are available for download at:

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