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BREATHE-SD SDSU Respiratory Care Program Students Commence Coursework at Three Rural South Dakota Hospitals

The first BREATHE-SD respiratory care program students recently began classes for their professional year at three Northern Plains Health Network (NPHN) affiliate hospitals: Huron Regional Medical Center, Madison Regional Health System and Brookings Health System. The program is part of a $1.5 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant received by the NPHN affiliates in partnership with South Dakota State University (SDSU).

Respiratory care is a high-need clinical care profession, especially in rural areas. The BREATHE-SD program aims to bring respiratory therapy education and public health opportunities to rural health facilities and the communities they serve. Students enrolled in the program attend their first two semesters on SDSU’s campus, completing their pre-requisites. Students spend the second program year on-site at the NPHN affiliate hospitals. During that time, they attend lectures, participate in lab and complete clinical rotations while working with actual patients as overseen by their clinical instructor or another licensed respiratory therapist.

Respiratory care students Jake Odegard, Jaida Klanchnik, Austyn Van Zee, Jenna Eischens and Isabel Roth will complete their professional year at Madison Regional and Brookings Health.

SDSU clinical instructors for the program are Jessica Winterboer, RRT, RPST, who will teach in Brookings and Madison, and Ranae Phinney, RRT, RPST, who will teach in Huron.

Respiratory care teams at each NPHN affiliate hospital will also assist in providing the students with a diverse clinical experience. “I’m so happy to have students here in Madison,” said Mary Hart, RRT and Respiratory Therapy Supervisor at Madison Regional Health System. “We look forward to having more Respiratory Therapists taking care of patients here and all across South Dakota.”

Grant funds are being used by SDSU and NPHN partner hospitals to hire additional faculty and purchase equipment so students can assimilate to the specialized and sometimes life-sustaining instruments in a hands-on environment.

To learn more about the program, visit and