The Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program initiative at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine helps to further address the healthcare needs of South Dakotans who reside in our mostly rural state. The AHEC Program Office, Yankton Rural AHEC and Northeast AHEC will assist FARM students in community engagement and with their required community projects.
Every spring, second-year medical students from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine spend four weeks in rural South Dakota communities for a required preceptorship. During their preceptorship, the medical students visit local high schools to interact with the students and talk to them about their educational journeys. The South Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) coordinates the opportunity for the medical students to interact with local high school students. The medical students talk with students about classes they took in high school and college to prepare for medical school. They discuss what it is like to be a medical student and what it is like to take care of patients. The medical students also discuss multiple health care pathways, encouraging high school students to ask questions relating to health care and share dialogue with them.
Fifteen South Dakota communities welcomed 30 health professions students for four weeks during the summer of 2019. The Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS) summer experience is designed to bring health professions graduates back to rural South Dakota for rewarding careers. Communities selected to participate in the REHPS summer experience must have populations under 13,000 people and house a critical access hospital.
The 2019 REHPS communities were: Bowdle, Britton, Burke, Chamberlain, Hot Springs, Huron, Martin, Miller, Parkston, Platte, Redfield, Scotland, Sisseton, Sturgis, and Winner. In its ninth year, REHPS is designed to not only expose students to the world of rural healthcare, but it also brings two students from different disciplines together for an interprofessional experience. The students were selected in a competitive process. Students are enrolled in one of the following programs at SDSU and USD: clinical psychology, family nurse practitioner, medical, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy, and social work.
REHPS receives funding from the Office of Rural Health/South Dakota Department of Health and is managed by the Yankton Rural Area Health Education Center.
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