West River Area Health Education Center

Higher Education Students

Medical Students

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.  FInd out more about the FARM program here.

Medical Student Partnership Program

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.


The Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS) summer program is designed to bring health professions graduates back to rural South Dakota for rewarding careers. Students, selected in a competitive process, are enrolled in one of the following programs at DWU, MMC, PC, SDSU or USD: Bachelor of Nursing, clinical psychology, family nurse practitioner, medical doctor, medical laboratory science, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, pharmacy, and social work. After selection, students are placed in interprofessional pairs in a community with a critical access hospital and a population under 15,000 people.

Since the summer of 2011 the REHPS program has been hosted in 27 communities across South Dakota. Those communities include Bowdle, Britton, Burke, Canton, Chamberlain, Custer, Faulkton, Flandreau, Freeman, Hot Springs, Huron, Lead/Deadwood, Martin, Miller, Parkston, Philip, Platte, Redfield, Scotland, Sisseton, Sturgis, Tyndall, Vermillion, Wagner, Webster, Wessington Springs, 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. 

REHPS receives funding from the Office of Rural Health/South Dakota Department of Health and is managed by the Southeast SD Area Health Education Center.

Internship Opportunities

Monument Health - Nursing Externship - application opens October 1; deadline is December 1

Maternal Child Health Careers/Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement - Undergraduate Program (MCHC/RISE-UP) at USD Sanford School of Medicine and The Center for Disabilities of SD, application deadline January 31.

Monument Health Lunch & Learn Series


This is a great opportunity to network with local nursing professionals and colleagues. For more information, click here.  All sessions are held at:

West River Health Science Center – BHSU 4300 Cheyenne Blvd., Room 210 or WebEx


October 15 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. - Engaging Patients in their Health Outcomes
Presented by Lisa Gibbon, Manager Patient and Family Education

November 5 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. - Nursing Panel Discussion, Pathways in Nursing
Presented by Monument Health Nursing

RSVP: Sarah Blenner MSN, RN, NE-BC
Monument Health Nurse Recruitment and Retention Consultant
sblenner@monument.health | 605-755-4701

West River Health Science Center-BHSU
4300 Cheyenne Blvd, Box Elder, SD  57719
Room 201 or WebEx