Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

David Posthumus

Second Advisor

Jamie Turgeon-Drake

Third Advisor

Gerald Yutrzenka


Diversity, Education, Curriculum, Natives

Subject Categories

Medical Education


My honors thesis will explore the curriculum at the USD Sanford School of Medicine (SSOM). I plan to examine the curriculum for cultural competence and diversity education, specifically on Native (American Indian/Alaskan Native) peoples. My primary goal is to increase the educational importance the Sanford School of Medicine places on the culture of all groups, especially, Native peoples. My topic is important because diversity and inclusion are essential parts to creating a unified team. Furthermore, this topic is especially relevant here in South Dakota due to the number of Native peoples in the state. South Dakota has the fourth highest percent population of American Indian or Alaska Natives at 9.0% (United States Census, 2018).

There are two major parts to my study. The first was to do a wide range of research on the disparities of Native peoples and the curriculum of the SSOM. Furthermore, my research included meeting with staff and faculty at the SSOM to see what opportunities to better understand the health care needs of Native people are offered to medical students. The second was to send out a survey to the current medical school students to see what curriculum is being taught regarding Native peoples and their knowledge and retention of the information that is presented. Also, in the survey, medical

students had the opportunity to suggest topics and experiences they would like to implement to interact more fully with diverse peoples. With the information from the survey I will report upon what material is being taught relating to Natives and diversity in the medical school. Additionally, I compiled the medical students’ suggestions and show some common themes, topics, and experiences students had and perhaps propose implementing some of these suggestions for future medical students.



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