South Dakota 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.

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.


REHPSRural Experiences for Health Professions Students. A 4-week summer program.
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 communities with a critical access hospital and a population under 13,000 people.

The 2019 REHPS communities were: Bowdle, Britton, Burke, Chamberlain, Hot Springs, Huron, Martin, Miller, Parkston, Platte, Redfield, Scotland, Sisseton, Sturgis, and Winner. REHPS will celebrate it’s 10th anniversary during the summer of 2020. Over 225 students will have participate in this program by the end of this year.

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.