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Health Department Highlights Health Pioneers For SD’s 125th

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Barb Buhler, (605) 773-3361 


Health Department Highlights Health Pioneers For SD’s 125th


PIERRE, S.D. – As South Dakota celebrates 125 years of statehood this year, the Department of Health is highlighting health pioneers and health-related milestones at a new website, doh.sd.gov/news/healthpioneers.aspx.


The site offers a chronology of significant health events from the date of the last reported smallpox case in the state (1952) to the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009-2010. The listing of health pioneers at the site includes such notables as Dr. Charles Eastman, the first licensed American Indian physician to practice in the state and Dr. Julie Gerberding, South Dakota native and former director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Samples of other highlights found at the site include:

  • Dr. Abbie Jarvis, 1854-1931, the first woman licensed to practice medicine in South Dakota, was honored with a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating her contributions to the medical profession.
  • In 1877, more than 10 years before statehood, the first hospital in what would become South Dakota was established in Lead.
  • In 1891, the South Dakota legislature made its first appropriation to the State Board of Health, the department’s precursor – a total of $1,000.
  • In 1900 the average lifespan in the state was just 33 years. 


Information and photos for the site were obtained from the South Dakota State Historical Society, the South Dakota Hall of Fame and the University of South Dakota Library Archives.  


From now until November the department will also be featuring highlights from the site on its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SDHealthDepartment.    


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