A Newsletter of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine | September 2021
M.D. Update
From the Dean
In these historic and challenging times the medical school continues to serve South Dakota and the nation by educating excellent physicians. Our leadership, faculty and staff work in concert to make this happen. I am grateful to serve alongside this dedicated team. We appreciate your support as we pursue our mission – putting the needs of our students and South Dakota’s communities as our priorities. Enjoy our newsletter, identifying some of our successes and acknowledging a few of those who make or have made a difference in the school.

Tim Ridgway, MD, FACP, FASGE
Vice President/Dean
Class of 2025 Demographics
There were more than 1,000 applicants for the medical school’s Class of 2025. Ultimately, 71 applicants were admitted, including 37 women and 34 men. Five members of the newest class are American Indians and 25 are from communities with fewer than 10,000 residents. Eighty-three percent of this class possesses South Dakota residency. The Class of 2025 began their formal medical training in July 2021.
Hsu named Gutch Chair in Medicine

Dr. Jennifer Hsu has been selected to serve as the medical school’s Dr. Charley F. and Elizabeth Gutch Chair in Medicine. This three-year appointment commenced July 1, 2021. Hsu, 3an infectious disease specialist, also serves as assistant dean of medical student education, Pillar 2 director and is an associate professor in our Internal Medicine Department. Dr. Gutch was a longtime Sioux Falls physician and worked as a professor of internal medicine and an associate dean at the medical school. He was recognized for his expertise in kidney function and dialysis, and he instituted acute hemodialysis in Sioux Falls. He was named emeritus professor at the medical school in 1988, and he died in 2008. His wife, a Pierre, SD native, died in 2014. It is through their generosity that this chair of medicine has been endowed.
Simmons honored as Sall Professor in Medicine

Dr. Matt Simmons has been named the medical school’s John C. Sall, M.D. Professor in Medicine. This three-year appointment commenced July 1, 2021. Simmons, a Rapid City-based neurologist, serves as associate dean of the medical school, managing the institution’s Rapid City campus. Dr. Simmons is a Gold Humanism Honor Society Faculty inductee, and in 2009 he was selected as the Anton Hyden Distinguished Professor Award by medical students in the Class of 2009. Dr. Sall, a graduate and devoted supporter of the medical school, was a founder and partner of the Central Plains Clinic in Sioux Falls. He died in 2010 at age 63. The Sall professorship, established in 2015, was the first endowed professorship in the history of the medical school.
Rapid City Art Show Celebrates Kindness
The medical school partnered with the Rapid City Arts Council and the Dahl Arts Center to sponsor a community art exhibit titled The Art of Kindness. The medical school’s emphasis on kindness in medicine and the role of kindness in health care were central factors in creation of the exhibit. Approximately 40 submissions portray kindness in varying ways. The art is displayed at the Dahl Arts Center until November 5, 2021.

New Chair of Pediatrics Announced
Dr. Michelle Baack, a Pierre, SD native, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics. She is a 1995 graduate of the medical school, practiced as a pediatrician in her hometown from 1999 to 2008, and has served as a neonatologist at Sanford Children’s Specialty Clinic and as a physician scientist at Sanford Research, both in Sioux Falls since 2011. She is currently an associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at the medical school. “Dr. Baack’s experience and expertise in pediatrics as a physician, a researcher and as an educator, make her the ideal appointment for this important leadership position,” said Tim Ridgway, M.D., medical school dean and vice president of USD’s Division of Health Affairs.
Student and Parry Center Director Create Online Simulation Program

Anja Cucak, Class of 2023 (left), and Dr. Valeriy Kozmenko, director of the Parry Center of Clinical Skills and Simulation, have created an interactive online interface that allows medical students to remotely work with health care simulations. Cucak and Kozmenko began exploring options for remote simulation and distance learning last spring. “It is important as the state’s only medical school, to find any chance to innovate and create new education opportunities for our medical students,” Cucak said. “The better the access students have to education, the better we can prepare them for their future careers.”
Student Receives Avera Health
American Indian Scholarship
Jerica Muzik, Class of 2025, is the 2021 recipient of the Avera Health American Indian Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship is awarded to an American Indian medical student who is an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe located in South Dakota or the upper Midwest. Muzik is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in western South Dakota. She graduated from Kadoka High School. Muzik was inspired to pursue a career in medicine because she wants to provide care to the people of her reservation. “I saw how my community and the surrounding communities were desperately in need of more physicians to practice rural medicine,” Muzik explained. “After graduation from medical school and after completing a residency,” she said, “I plan to return home and practice at the Indian Health Service or in a rural clinic.”
Center for Disabilities Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Established as part of a national network of federally designated centers intended to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families, the Center for Disabilities at the Sanford School of Medicine has successfully fulfilled its mission for 50 years. Serving people in South Dakota, the center provides community education, clinical services, interdisciplinary training, technical assistance, research, information dissemination and policy/advocacy work. To learn about the various events highlighting this impressive milestone, visit the center’s web page at https://www.usd.edu/medicine/center-for-disabilities.

Kay Austin, director of student records and registration officer, is retiring after 40 years of service to the University of South Dakota, including 30 years of service at the medical school. She has worked with five different medical school deans.

Joseph Zenel, Jr., M.D., FAAP,  is retiring from his medical practice and from his position as interim chair of pediatrics at the school of medicine. Dr. Zenel, a pediatrician, has served a variety of leadership and service roles. In addition to his work as professor and interim chair of pediatrics, he served as the inaugural program director for the pediatrics residency program as well as executive director of medical education at Sanford Health.

Doug Martin, Ph.D., a professor and researcher in the school of medicine’s basic biomedical sciences division, has retired. He was appointed Professor Emeritus upon retirement.
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