The SD AHEC Scholars Rural Health Leadership Program is a national honors program for health professions students interested in supplementing their education by gaining additional knowledge and experience in rural and/or underserved settings. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary team-based approach to address health disparities in your communities. The SD AHEC Scholars Rural Health Leadership Program enhances healthcare knowledge in clinical and community settings, while participating in enhanced training experiences related to health care delivery impacting underserved communities. 

Program Duration is two years, and each year includes the following for a total of 160 hours:

  • 40 hours community-based, hands-on, or clinical training in rural and/or underserved areas
  • 40 hours classroom education (focused on the nine Core Topic Areas)

Core Topic Areas

The curriculum complements existing coursework through education in the nine core topic areas of the program. This program focuses on preparing students with skills in professional development, public health, and patient care to be transformational leaders in their field and communities. 


Core Topics

Professional Development

(1) Interprofessional Education

(2) Leadership

(3) Practice Transformation

Public Health

(4) Community Integration & Resources

(5) Cultural Humility

(6) Social Determinants of Health

Patient Care

(7) Behavioral Health Integration & Resiliency

(8) Current & Emerging Health Issues

(9) Telehealth & Virtual Learning

Eligibility Criteria:

Students should have a current interest in rural or underserved healthcare and be currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program and be approximately two years from program or degree completion. Potential Scholars should have an interest in providing healthcare services to rural and/or underserved communities and able to commit to active participation as an AHEC Scholar for the duration of the program while concurrently working towards your degree.


Students should fill out the application link below. All fields must be fully completed. Any application that is missing fields or attachments will not be considered for acceptance.

For more information contact:

Southeast SD Area Health Education Center

Yankton, SD 57078

(605) 655-8285