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Sanford Health Pediatric Residency Program

Available at our Sioux Falls location only

Mission / Vision Statements

The Sanford Pediatric Residency Program at Sanford Children's Hospital, the Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota is a unique and vibrant educational community dedicated to developing the finest pediatric leaders in the world.

We invest in children and their families by improving local, national and global pediatric healthcare.


The Sanford Health Pediatrics Residency Program, officially accredited by the ACGME on July 1, 2010, is an exciting new training program accommodating six residents per year in a three-year training curriculum. Our first-year residency class began in the summer of 2011. Each subsequent year we will recruit another new first year class, achieving a full complement of first-, second- and third-year residents in July 2013. This makes the 2011 entering class unique; first-year residents will have considerable input toward the development of the residency curriculum while interacting with faculty on a one-on-one basis.

Sanford Children's Hospital will serve as the center of training for our residents; yet the program will take advantage of the distinctive characteristics of health care in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota, including rural pediatrics and the unique aspects of caring for Native American children. Our residents can take advantage of the exceptional training and research opportunities by the national and international Sanford Health children's clinics currently being developed (sites established in Oklahoma, California, and Oregon), as well as additional research opportunities at the Sanford Children's Health Research Center. In addition, our residents will work side by side with medical students from the Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota, family medicine resident and other healthcare trainees from the region.

The faculty, along with residency program director, Joseph Zenel, Jr., MD, see this residency as an opportunity for learning how to be a leader in pediatrics. Our immediate goal is to enhance the care of the children of the Upper Midwest, by training specialists in children's health who will populate our communities, both large and small. Just as important, residents will receive a foundation of pediatric medicine that can serve as the basis for the most rigorous subspecialty fellowship programs.

Pediatric Residency Overview

The Pediatrics Residency Program of the Sanford Children's Hospital, Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota trains medical school graduates to practice General Pediatrics. Because of the rural nature of South Dakota, a strong emphasis is placed on residents obtaining the intellectual and procedural skills necessary for preventive and primary pediatric care and for advocating and caring for all children with behavioral, developmental and or complex multi-system disease, in the inpatient, outpatient and community settings. For those residents interested in pursuing a career in clinical research, there is ample opportunity to participate in the Sanford Children's Research Center, a two-site campus at Sioux Falls, SD and La Jolla, CA, dedicated to develop translational research for pediatrics.

The program consists of 36 months of training in Pediatrics leading to eligibility to sit for the certifying examination administered by the American Board of Pediatrics. The program is an integrated program with rotations at Sanford Children's Hospital, Sanford USD Medical Center, Children's Care Hospital and School and other facilities throughout the region and world. Graduates of the residency program will be able to practice General Pediatrics, pursue further training in a Pediatrics Subspecialty and/or develop a career in academic medicine.

Pediatric residents are required to care for a group of children over a period of time in a specific, outpatient setting, frequently called "continuity" clinic. In general, residents spend one half day per week in a continuity experience where they see a "sufficient number and adequate variety" of well children and children with chronic illnesses of all ages from birth through young adulthood. This clinic serves as a medical home, in which residents learn to provide ambulatory care within a network of nurses, social workers, nutritionists, interpreters and physical, occupational and speech therapists. Patients are recruited from schools, the newborn nursery and the hospital wards. Frequently these are patients who do not have a pediatrician or assigned medical home.

If you are intrigued by the idea of building a new residency program whose mission is to train leaders in pediatrics, visit us at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine Pediatrics Residency. For further information about the Sanford Health residency program, Sanford Research and the Sioux Falls area, please visit these resources:

Contact Information

Pediatric Residency Clinic
Ann Berdahl Hall, 4th floor
Phone: 605-312-7197
Fax: 605-312-7198