Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Health Science

First Advisor

DenYelle Kenyon, PhD

Second Advisor

Damon Leader Charge

Third Advisor

Meghann Jarchow, PhD


Service-learning, Cultural Immersion, Native Health Disparities, Rural Physician Retention

Subject Categories

Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health


Rural health disparities are an ongoing issue in the state of South Dakota (SD), specifically within rural and Native American communities. An explicit goal of the Sanford School of Medicine (SSOM) is to improve health care for the citizens of the state with an emphasis on rural and Native communities. Many initiatives have been undertaken by SSOM to address these disparities; however, few opportunities exist for undergraduate premedical students to contribute. A well-designed cultural immersion program has the potential to influence the career paths of pre-professional students. The ultimate goal of the program is to facilitate relationship-building between medical pre-professionals and their potential patient populations to influence future generations of SD medical professionals to address rural health disparities. Specific goals for individual program participants include engaging in critical self-reflection, learning Native history, and developing cultural humility. The program goals are to be accomplished through a variety of theoretical frameworks and best practices established through a comprehensive literature review. Discussion includes relevant theories, methods, logistical considerations, evaluation tools, practical applications, and other considerations for accomplishing the previously stated goals of an undergraduate cultural immersion program.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.