Nov 28, 2021  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Health Sciences Department

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June Larson, Chairperson
School of Health Sciences
Lee Medical Building #302E
Phone: (605) 658-6500   



June Larson, Nursing

Assistant Professors:

Musheera AnisAbdellitif, Medicine, Child Psychiatry


Amy Nelson, Occupational Therapy
Audrey Ticknor, Dental Hygiene
Jamie Turgeon-Drake, Health Sciences
Becky Wolff, Nursing and Complementary Therapies


Brad Beauvais, Health Policy and Administration
Alycia Brantz, Paramedic
Lucien Costley, Education Leadership, Management and Policy
Gerald McGraw, Physician Assistant
Cassity Gutierrez, Public Health
Melissa Hendricks, Physical Therapy
Jonelle Hook, Physical Therapy Assistant, Education
Heidi Johnson-Anderson, Nursing, Educational Leadership
Kristi Leisinger, Health Services Administration
Deborah Letcher, Nursing, Paramedic
Ann Mollman, Nursing
Travis Spier, Nursing, Paramedic
Rob Stowe, Quality Improvement
Margaret Walker, Nursing


Audrey Ticknor, Dental Hygiene
Travis Ahlers, Education


Health Sciences, B.S.




Health Sciences 
Public Health
Interprofessional Disabilities Services

The University of South Dakota is the only university in the Regental system to offer a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences. This dynamic major is interdisciplinary in nature and provides flexible options that allow students to prepare for many kinds of careers related to health. This major is appropriate for any student planning to enter graduate health programs. The major also provides the opportunity for students with a general but unfocused interest in the health professions to explore the many opportunities in the field and to gain foundational knowledge, values and interpersonal skills necessary to work with patients, communities, and populations in today’s healthcare environment. The Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences will qualify students for:

  • Entry into graduate programs in a specific health profession.
  • Entry-level employment in health care or health care-related positions.
  • Career mobility and advancement for individuals with a healthcare background.

Pathway One: Pre-Professional Studies

The pre-professional pathway provides a foundation for study in a health profession program. In addition to the major courses, these students will take coursework needed for entry into an undergraduate or graduate health sciences program. USD offers the health sciences majors listed below. Please refer to the program page in the catalog or their respective websites.

Baccalaureate Degree Programs  

Catalog Link Webpage link
Addiction Studies Dept  
Medical Laboratory Science
Dental Hygiene Department  
Health Sciences  
Nursing Department  
Social Work Department  

 Graduate Degree Programs 

Catalog Link Webpage Link
Addiction Studies ( - select graduate) 
Occupational Therapy ( - select graduate)
Physician Assistant ( - select graduate)
Physical Therapy ( - select graduate)
Social Work ( - select graduate)


In addition to USD’s Health Science programs, pre-professional studies students can take coursework that prepares them for entry into graduate programs offered at other universities, including pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, medicine, chiropractic medicine, public health, mortuary science, etc.

Pathway Two: Health Care Studies

This pathway is for individuals who desire a career in the health care industry rather than in a clinically-based profession. The student’s course of study will build a solid academic foundation in humanities, math, science and health care. The student will be encouraged to earn up to two minors in addition to the Health Sciences major to create a unique program that will be geared toward individual goals and to increase marketability when seeking employment. The graduate will be prepared for entry-level employment in healthcare or health-related careers.

Pathway Three: Health Career Advancement Studies

The Health Sciences Major at the University of South Dakota provides health career advancement for individuals who are already health care workers and who hold an AA, AS, or AAS degree and wish to advance in their current positions or in a related area of health care. After completing this degree, the graduate may go on to pursue graduate work in a specific area of health sciences if desired. Graduates of community colleges who have completed an AAS or AS in a healthcare field can complete the BSHS.  Articulation agreements provide for ease of transfer to complete the degree. Graduates of South Dakota technical institutes who hold an AAS in a health-related field can complete the BSHS through program-to-program articulation agreements. 

Pathway Four: Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research includes working with scientists in basic biomedical research, health disparities, clinical or translational research and data methodologies, biostatistics, and epidemiology.   Individuals who choose research as a career choice have job opportunities in a variety of roles.  Medical research scientists may be involved in studies to increase the body of scientific knowledge on topics related to medicine.  They develop new, or improve existing, drugs, treatments or other medically related products. They may work in research centers/institutes, hospitals, universities, pharmaceutical companies that may be a private industry as well as the public and nonprofit sectors.  The level of research may be basic and involve investigating the underlying basis of health or disease or it may be more applied and include conducting clinical research, investigating methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disorders.

The field of medical and health care research is expanding dramatically as evidenced by medical research occurring in our own state.  Through academic partnerships, USD campus and University Center Sioux Falls students have the opportunity to work alongside a research scientist and develop the knowledge, skills and attitude to contribute as a research assistant in exciting biomedical research.   This experience is valuable in determining if medical research is the career option to pursue.  Medical researchers in Sioux Falls are seeking to cure Type 1 Diabetes,  various cancers, the effectiveness of an investigational medication at slowing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on memory and daily activities, human genetics, and personalized medicine to name a few. 

Pathway Five: Undergraduate Public Health

Public Health Professionals serve local, national, and international communities as protectors of the public’s health.  National concerns such as the obesity epidemic; rise in chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease; disaster management; and the emphasis on wellness have generated new jobs and increased demand for those with public health education.  With the addition of a new minor in Public Health and the joint USD/SDSU MPH, the pathway in Public Health is great start to determine whether or not a student might be interested in continuing their education in this direction. 

A variety of jobs exist within the public health sector.  Generalist positions that graduates with a public health minor might pursue include public health education and health services management.  Health Services Managers, for example, are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating the medical and health services offered in communities and to specific population groups. 

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2015) from 2014 to 2024, employment of health services managers is projected to grow 17 percent and the employment of health educators and community health workers, 13 percent ( These rates are faster than average for all occupations. Continued growth is attributable to efforts to improve health outcomes, reduce health care costs, and expand education to individuals and communities regarding healthy habits and behaviors.

Pathway Six: Undergraduate Clinical Informatics

Clinical Informatics provides the opportunity to gain skill in the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in healthcare. The emphasis of this health sciences pathway is quality improvement with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained by completing these courses applicable to any person interested in a career in any area of health care.  The application of information technology in delivering healthcare services includes everything from system design/implementation to clinical documentation such as visual images.  As a field, use of data systems for information, analytics, and LEAN processes can assist healthcare providers in delivering patient care that is safe, efficient, and timely. Ultimately, this patient-centered care will lower the cost of healthcare and result in better health outcomes. Access to clinical data can also aid in research. The courses in this pathway address content valuable to anyone choosing a career in all clinical care areas of healthcare, healthcare administration, public health, and healthcare services.


Please contact the department for additional information about available scholarships and awards. Also see School of Health Sciences  for school level scholarships.



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