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The South Dakotan

work sustainable,” he explained. “I’ve tried to lay a foundation

so that others can build on it. I want to be purposeful and create

a platform for others to continue improving care, in all areas of

health care, not just ER.”

Pickner’s supervisor is Susan Puumala, Ph.D., scientist in the

Center for Health Outcomes and Prevention Research at

Sanford Research and associate professor at the USD Sanford

School of Medicine in the departments of Pediatrics and

Internal Medicine.

“Wyatt is a very dedicated employee, and so good at so many

things,” Puumala said. “He excels at engaging individuals in

research projects and maintaining connections. Wyatt’s skills,

ability, and work are on a very high level, much higher than

would be indicated by his years of experience. He is passionate

about working to eliminate disparities in health care and to

help the next generation of students to consider health care and

research careers to further this work.”

For all his impressive accomplishments at the young age of

25, Pickner won’t be satisfied with the status quo. He plans to

get advanced degrees—first, a Master of Public Health, then on

for a doctorate in a social and behavioral science. “I want to work

with Native communities, improving health in general, but also

in cancer prevention. I’ve seen families deal with chronic family

experiences. Research has the ability to help combat that. I want

to embrace health promotion—healthy behaviors and habits.”

According to Ticknor, Pickner will go far in this endeavor.

“We are very proud of Wyatt and all that he has accomplished

since he graduated,” she stated. “We expect that he will continue

to do important work for South Dakota to address some of the

long term existing health concerns of the Native populations.”

‘I’ve tried to lay a foundation so that others can build on it. I want to be

purposeful and create a platform for others to continue improving care,

in all areas of health care, not just ER.’

—Wyatt Pickner