YANKTON — For the third consecutive year, Huron is welcoming health professions students for a four-week rural health experience.
They are Julianna Certa-Werner of Superior, Wis., and Isis Insua of Iroquois, Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) nursing students, and South Dakota State University (SDSU) Doctor of Pharmacy Student Shannon Katz from Huron.
These three will follow providers at Huron Regional Medical Center in July.
Huron joins five other South Dakota communities selected to participate in Rural Experiences for Health Professions Students (REHPS).
REHPS communities must have populations under 14,000 people and house a critical access hospital. The program is designed to bring health professions graduates to rural South Dakota for rewarding careers.
In its 10th year, REHPS hoped to bring 32 students to 15 South Dakota communities. However, due to COVID-19 concerns, 15 students received on-site placements with the additional students participating in an online experience.
Students who received community placements came from two different areas of healthcare and were selected through a competitive process. The REHPS program began in 2011, when three communities welcomed six students. Students are inspired by the experience, due in large part to the host communities, and their professionals’ mentoring skills.
The 2020 REHPS communities are in Bowdle, Huron, Martin, Redfield and Scotland. The REHPS program connects interprofessional groups of students enrolled in clinical psychology, family nurse practitioner, medical, medical laboratory science, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and social work programs at DWU, SDSU and USD.
“When selecting a site to host REHPS students, we look for a facility interested in the education of health professions students along with an understanding of the importance of giving them a first-hand look at how rewarding a career in rural medicine can be. We are also looking for vibrant and active communities who will welcome students and hopefully entice them to return when they are finished with their education,” said Cheri Buffington, REHPS Program Director.
REHPS receives funding from the Office of Rural Health/South Dakota Department of Health and is managed by the Southeast South Dakota Area Health Education Center.