|The front of the Lee building.|
The event began with a welcome from the USD Pre-Med Society officers and from the Dean of Medical Student Affairs, Dr. Dawn Bragg. Next came Dr. Pasquale Manzerra, who talked with us about the admissions process for USD SSoM and the strengths of the program. Did you know that USD SSoM won the 2017 AAMC Spencer Forman Award for Outstanding Community Service? They received this prestigious award for their community-based program with multiple campuses and clinical training sites throughout the state of South Dakota. Many of their faculty and staff have also won awards. Dr. Mark Garry was awarded the 2018 Arnold P. Gold Humanism Award and Dr. Gerald Yutrzenka was the 2018 recipient of the Exemplary Service Award from the AAMC Group on Student Affairs. We arrived early for registration on Saturday and were fortunate to get to meet Dr. Yutrzenka at Pre-Med Day before the event got started!
|Dr. Manzerra discusses admissions at USD SSoM.|
In 2018, the AAMC named USD SSoM as the top school in the nation for graduates practicing in a rural area and placed them in the 95th percentile for students entering into Family Medicine. Additionally, they rank in the 98th percentile for proportion of graduates who are American Indians or Alaska Natives.
We learned more about USD SSoM's Culture of Caring. Because of the small class sizes, students develop close relationships with each other and with the faculty and staff. There is a lot of respect for student input on the learning process, with students serving on various committees alongside faculty and staff, focus groups for institutional improvement, and anonymous suggestion boxes for helping improve courses and activities. The students interact in a collaborative environment rather than in a competitive one. There is a ton of support for students, including academic, personal, financial, and professional support services. There's even guidance for pregnancy and adoption during medical school to help students who are planning for a family during medical school.
|DNA artwork on the floor of the Lee building.|
Sanford School of Medicine places an emphasis on life-long learning and uses case-based, problem-based, and team-based learning strategies alongside simulation activities and hands-on experiences to prepare medical students to be outstanding physicians. They also feature longitudinal integrated clerkships as part of their curriculum and they have opportunities to tailor Pillar 3 of the program to your specialty interest. They are one of the best "bang for your buck" institutions, featuring low in-state tuition rates and a wide array of scholarships to help students finance their educations.
There were two Q&A panels during this year's Pre-Med Day. The first panel featured students in various stages of their training...spanning from a student who is in their first year to a student who just matched into a residency program. They shared many great insights with the attendees and gave advice to those interested in applying to USD's program. After a yummy lunch of tacos/nachos, several of the faculty members spoke to students about preparing for and being successful in medical school. Dr. Dan Bird summarized their advice best when he said, "Success is to be adaptable and to be receptive to change."
|USD medical students answer pre-med questions.|
There was also a session about how to pay for medical school presented by Carol Hemmingson, who works for the financial aid office. During that time, the health professions advisors from the various South Dakota schools met with Dr. Manzerra to talk more about admissions and preparing students for success in medical school.
Afterward, students and their advisors reconvened for a tour of the medical school, which included a trip to the simulation rooms, study rooms, classrooms, and, of course, the gross anatomy lab. Students were able to see where medical students work, study, relax, and socialize during their time in Vermillion. We were also able to get a better feel for the kinds of resources available to students and to ask lots of questions about life in a medical program.
Inside of the main lobby of the Lee building.
The drive back to Rapid City was full of great conversation about the things we experienced during Pre-Med Day. Overall, this was an excellent event that was well-worth the drive across the state. Next year's Pre-Med Day will again be sponsored by the Future Health Science Professionals, so if you are considering applying to USD's Sanford School of Medicine, consider joining FHSP (if you aren't already a member) and traveling with us to Vermillion for a day full of information, resources, and forums for discussion!
Hope to see you next year!