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Medical School residencies boost physician numbers in South Dakota

Dec 05, 2018 09:38AM ● By MED Magazine
Paul Hanson, second from left, president of Sanford Sioux Falls, accepted an appreciation award for Sanford’s support of residency programs from medical school officials including Nedd Brown (far left), associate dean of graduate medical education at USD Sanford School of Medicine, Dr. Michael Koch, chair of the medical school’s pathology department, and Dr. Mary Nettleman, dean of the medical school. The award was presented at the pathology department’s celebration of its 60th anniversary for its residency program.  

Most of the public’s understanding about the University of South Dakota Sanford School of medicine relates to general medical education. During the 2018-2019 school year there are 268 medical students enrolled in the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine.

Less awareness surrounds the medical school’s graduate education programs, including its eight residency and four fellowship programs. These programs are especially aided by Sanford Health, Avera, Regional Health and the VA hospital.

There are currently 140 individuals being trained under the medical school’s residencies and fellowships in eight different fields, including pathology, psychiatry, internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, geriatrics and cardiology. Pathology is the oldest residency program, having just celebrated its 60th anniversary.

The benefits of these programs extend beyond the help residents provide to patients, practitioners and the medical community. According to Nedd Brown, EdD, associate dean of graduate medical education at USD’s Sanford School of Medicine, the location of a physicians’ residency can determine where a physician chooses to practice and reside.

“The correlation between the location of residency and the location of practice is about 45 percent,” said Brown, adding that if a medical school graduate performs a residency in the same state where he/she graduated from medical school the chances are about 67 percent that the graduate will stay in that state to practice medicine. “That figure is higher for our graduates,” explained Brown, referencing USD Sanford School of Medicine grads and residencies.  

“About 77.5 percent of our grads who do residencies in South Dakota stay in South Dakota to practice medicine,” Brown added. “That percentage rates as 6th best out of all 50 states in terms of retaining our graduates to serve South Dakotans.” Brown says the “big-picture significance” and value of offering residencies and graduate medical training opportunities is abundantly evident.  

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