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Health Equity Research Virtual Site Visit (VSV): Sanford School of Medicine

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University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine

The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is dedicated to improving health equity through education and research. Major programs address inequities in rural areas and among Native American populations where shortages in the healthcare workforce are a significant cause of disparities in care. Thus, health equity education is embedded in the medical school curriculum, with hands-on experiences that inspire students to care for rural and Native American populations. In addition, innovative research programs are conducted to enhance the research infrastructure in tribal colleges, to increase opportunities for Native Americans to enter health care and science, to examine determinates of health for children around the globe, and to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.

View a brief video to learn more about health equity work at the USD Sanford School of Medicine.

  • FARM Program
  • Diversity Program
  • Research Programs

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Enhancing the health care workforce in rural areas: Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM)

South Dakota is a rural state, and the state’s rural areas face challenges regarding access to health care. That is why a vital mission of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is to educate quality physicians to practice in rural locations across South Dakota. To familiarize students with the challenges and rewards of practicing in a rural setting, we created the Frontier and Rural Medicine program, known as FARM. FARM’s program director, a graduate of the program and students in the program explain the benefits of the FARM program.

More Resources: FARM

Peer-reviewed publications:

  • Jensen B. Anderson S. Simanton E. The Impact of a Rural Training Track on Medical Students’ Specialty Choice. South Dakota Medicine, June 2017.
  • Ludvik J. Anderson S. Huntington M. Epidemiologic study of bacteria zoonotic diseases in South Dakota: 2010-2014. South Dakota Medicine, June 2017.
  • Schafer N. Anderson S. Health Education in Rural South Dakota – Abstract. South Dakota Medicine, 2015, 68, (9).
  • Vogt HB, Simanton EG, Bien MN, Anderson, S. Student perceptions of their value to patient care. South Dakota Medicine, September 2014, Volume 67, Number 9
  • Simanton E., Vogt H.B., Anderson S. Extenuating Circumstances: Student Selection of Case Presentations for a Required Rural Family Medicine Clerkship. South Dakota Medicine, December 2013.
  • Anderson S., Vogt H.B. Editorial, Hedging the Bet – Reflections on Betting the Farm. South Dakota Medicine, October 2013.

Non-print/Online materials:

  • Anderson S. Simanton E. Correlations between Community Size and Student Perceptions of Value. Remote and Rural Health, July 27, 2017.
  • Hearns V. Anderson S. Harmelink L. Education Column: Frontier And Rural Medicine: Cultivating a Rural Healthcare Workforce. STFM Messenger 2015, December.

Non-peer-reviewed publications:

  • Hearns V, Anderson S, Wallenburg B, Kozmenko V, Harmelink L, Bertsch K, Parham E. FARM (Frontier And Rural Medicine) Long Distance Clinical Skills Assessment in a Rural Setting via TeleOSCE, MedEdPORTAL’s iCollaborative, 2015.

Achieving Diversity in South Dakota's Health Care Work Force

The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine embraces diversity in the widest sense and specifically directs efforts relative to American Indians, rural populations and gender. In response to tribal leaders and rural communities we have developed programs, collaborations and partnerships to better inform and mentor American Indians and rural students regarding careers in medicine, and we are dedicated to enhancing our medical student’s cultural understanding and awareness of health disparities and community needs with a goal toward providing quality healthcare for all.

More Resources: Diversity


  • Notable Native American Physician Speaks on USD  Campus, South Dakotan M.D., Spring/Summer, 22-23, 2017
  • Addiction Studies Program Inspires and Motivates,  South Dakotan Health,  10-11, 2015
  • Students Examine Career Opportunities in Health Care at USD Camp, South Dakotan M.D., Fall/Winter, 2012
  • G.J. Yutrzenka, L. H. Amundson.  USDSM Alumni Student Scholars Program: Successes of the First Decade. South Dakota Journal of Medicine 57(11):491-498, 2004.
  • G.J. Yutrzenka, USD School of Medicine Education Efforts to Address Native American Health Care in South Dakota,   Proceedings, First International Conference on Race: Racial Reconciliation, 2003.
  • Boles A.L, G.J. Yutrzenka, D.A. Peterson, L. Kilawee.   Lifestyle Satisfaction of Rural, South Dakota, Family Practice Physicians.  South Dakota Journal of Medicine 53(6):235-240, 2000

Health Equity Research and Programs

Through its research, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is addressing the health equity in children, American Indians and the disabled. A strategy to increase the participation of American Indians in the sciences is one approach to the significant need to improve research and health care for American Indians. A second initiative aims to expand research infrastructure in tribal colleges. The medical school’s Center for Disabilities has developed a program helping disabled young adults successfully bridge their health care needs from being a pediatric patient to being an adult patient. Finally, examining the well-being of the world’s children is a 40-nation research project led in the United States by the University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences.

More Resources: Research


  • Brockevelt, B.L., Newland, L.A., Cerny, S.L., & Lawler, M.J. (2017). Activities within an ecological, relationship-based model of children’s subjective well-being: United States sub-study of the multinational qualitative study. Manuscript submitted for publication.
  • Feldhacker, D.R, Cerny, S., Brockevelt, B.L., & Lawler, M.J. (2017).Occupations and well-being in children and youth. Manuscript submitted for publication.
  • Lawler, M.J., Choi, C., Yoo, J., Lee, J., Roh, S., Newland, L.A., Giger, J.T., Sudhagoni, R., Brockevelt, B.L., & Lee, B.J. (2017). Children’s subjective well-being in rural communities of South Korea and the United States. Manuscript submitted for publication.
  • Lawler, M.J., Newland, L.A., Giger, J.T., Roh, S., & Brockevelt, B.L. (2017). Ecological, relationship-based model of children’s subjective well-being: Perspectives of 10-year-old children in the United States and 10 other countries. Child Indicators Research, 10, 1-18.
  • Newland, L.A., Giger, J.T., Lawler, M.J., Roh, S., Brockevelt, B.L., & Schweinle, A. (in press). Multilevel analysis of child and adolescent subjective well-being across 14 countries. Child Development.
  • Lawler, M.J., Newland, L.A., Giger, J.T., & Roh, S. (2015). Ecological, relationship-based model of 12-year-old children’s subjective well-being in the United States and ten other countries. Journal of Social Research & Policy6, 57-70.
  • Newland, L., Lawler, M.J., Giger, J.T., Roh, S., & Carr, E.R. (2015). Predictors of children’s subjective well-being in rural communities of the United States. Child Indicators Research, 8, 177-198.
  • Newland, L., Giger, J. T., Lawler, M. J., Carr, E. R., Dykstra, E. A., & Roh, S., (2014). Subjective well-being for children in a rural community, Journal of Social Service Research, 40, 642-661.