The Vermillion Rotary Club held its weekly luncheon meeting at the Neuharth Media Center on the campus of USD. President-elect John Prescott opened the meeting and led us in the invocation and recitation of the Rotary 4-Way Test. This was followed by a round of singing, introduction of guests, and announcements.
Rotarian John Prescott introduced Brian Kaatz as our speaker for the day. Dr. Kaatz is the Dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota. His presentation centered on a summation of what the School of Health Sciences is and what it does.
He stated that currently the areas included in the School of Health Sciences are: Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, Clinical Lab Science, Dental Hygiene, Alcohol and Drug Studies, Nursing, Social Work, Major in Health Sciences, and Master of Social Work. He stated that South Dakota is the last state to institute a Masters Degree in Social Work.
Student numbers are growing as well as the number of programs coming under the prevue of the School of Health Sciences. The fall enrollment for 2009 totaled 1,103 students. The largest group was in Nursing. He also told us there are 5 different campuses in the state affiliated with USD. The next largest grouping of students is in the area of Alcohol and Drug Studies.
Areas that are maintaining a fixed number of students are Physicians Assistant, Dental Hygiene, and Occupational Therapy. This is because the school receives a fixed amount of funding in these areas. All other areas in the school are growing, as are most areas of the health care field. He told us that the area with the highest demand from employers is the Clinical Lab Sciences area. He also informed us that the school capacity falls short of the demand by student applications.
The School of Health Sciences has plans to expand offerings if funds become available. The school will now offer a BSN in Nursing and a Master of Social Work this fall. With demand for trained people in the Health Care field increasing, the school is looking forward to sustained growth in the near future.