The South Dakotan Health 2020

2020 | 15 ECHO Serves South Dakota COVID-19 Care The School of Health Sciences’ video-conferencing platform, the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), helped South Dakota’s health care professionals to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Educational programs were offered on eight successive Thursday evenings in April and May. Those interactive programs reached hundreds of health professionals throughout South Dakota. USD regularly offers ECHO programs about health issues facing South Dakotans and is one of only two ECHO hubs in the state. Topics such as addiction issues, rural emergency medicine, advanced care planning and child maltreatment problems and solutions have been addressed. “Our staff, faculty and partners are creating invaluable content to share with our state’s health care professionals who benefit from ECHO’s information-sharing capabilities,” said Haifa Samra, Ph.D., dean of the School of Health Sciences. For more information about ECHO, visit the ECHO USD website at or contact ECHO via email at The University of South Dakota, in collaboration with the South Dakota Department of Health (SD DOH) and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB), has created the South Dakota Community Action Response Epidemiology (CARE) team to provide support and public health services to communities, universities and tribes across the state. The CARE team will offer disease investigation through contact tracing to identify individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19, health promotion and comprehensive services to South Dakota tribal communities and USD community. The CARE team, led by Susan Puumala, Ph.D., senior lecturer in the Master of Public Health (MPH) program, is a workforce preparation and development opportunity for MPH students, undergraduate health sciences students and recent graduates. Through their work on the team, students prepare for public health careers by participating in interdisciplinary collaboration and health education for rural and underserved populations. Minga Vargas, a first-year graduate student in the MPH program and one of the student leaders on the CARE team, joined the initiative to get hands- on epidemiology experience. “The CARE team offers the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of an epidemiological team at work, from testing and contact tracing at the start to data analysis and education later on,” said Vargas. “The team gives us a real-world opportunity that involves mobilizing a team, talking with and getting information from those affected, and then using that information to improve prevention.” USD Faculty and Leadership Present at National Interprofessional Health Conference Three teams of USD faculty and leadership from the School of Health Sciences and the Sanford School of Medicine presented at the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education (NEXUS) annual summit conference. Faculty and leadership presenters were Sabina Kupershmidt, Ph.D., Whitney Lucas-Molitor, OTD, Kory Zimney, DPT, Allison Naber, OTD, Tracy Cleveland, Ed.D., Mandy Williams, Ph.D., Carissa Regnerus, M.A., Chelsea Wesner, MPH and Susan Anderson, M.D. These USD faculty members and leaders representing a variety of programs within the university’s Division of Health Affairs addressed issues related to interprofessional health care in rural settings, assisting critical care and producing impactful interprofessional health care education. Kupershmidt is gaining national recognition, as is USD, in creating and implementing innovative and meaningful interprofessional education in its health and medical programs. The 2020 NEXUS conference was held as a virtual conference. Interprofessional health care involves the use of a multitude of cooperating fields and disciplines to improve health care outcomes for patients. Students Serve South Dakota through New Community Action Response Team