VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - Dakota-based Sanford Health and the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine are partnering to launch a general surgery residency program.

USD medical school dean Mary Nettleman says the program to begin in 2014 will combine diverse surgical training opportunities with the expertise of teachers and physicians. The five-year program will include rural surgery at community-based and federal hospital systems in Sioux Falls, Yankton and at the VA.

The skill set will include cardiac and thoracic, head, neck and endocrine, neurocritical care, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic, pediatric, plastic, transplant, trauma acute care, vascular, urology and surgical critical care.

Sanford Health will financially support the program and develop a surgical simulation laboratory located in Sioux Falls.

The first residents are scheduled to begin next summer.

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