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WEBSITE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Interim Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

125 Years of Health in South Dakota - Health Pioneers

 

Fellow South Dakotans,

     As we celebrate the 125th year of statehood for South Dakota, it is important to reflect on those individuals who, through the decades, have helped make this a great state. At the Department of Health we are particularly interested in noting those who have played key roles in advancing the health of the citizens of our state. In the coming weeks we will be featuring some of those individuals and health milestones on this site. Any such listing will inevitably be incomplete but it is our hope that these brief snapshots will introduce South Dakotans to some of the health pioneers whose efforts have helped create the quality of life we enjoy today.

Doneen Hollingsworth

Secretary of Health

 

Ted Hustead

Theodore Hustead

Pharmacist

1902 - 1999

  • Started Wall Drug in 1931, along with his wife Dorothy, which would become the largest drug store in the United States

  • Served on the State Board of Pharmacy

 

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Arthur Spiry

Dr. Arthur Spiry

Medical Doctor

1905 - 1987

  • Worked his first two years in Mobridge at the Lowe Clinic

  • Opened the Spiry Clinic in Mobridge as its only physician

  • Appointed district surgeon for the Milwaukee Railroad stationed in Mobridge in 1938

  • Practiced medicine and surgery in Mobridge for 40 years

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


George Mortimer

George Mortimer

U.S. Postal Worker

1909 - 1999

  • Lived in Belle Fourche and served as a state legislator for 20 years where he chaired the Health and Welfare Committee

  • Worked toward the establishment of a four-year medical school in the state

  • Served as a key figure in starting the physician assistant program in South Dakota

 

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Harriet Montgomery

Harriet Montgomery

Community Activist

1910 - 2001

  • Pursued a lifelong quest for clean safe drinking water for farms and cities

  • Became an expert on the topic of clean drinking water

  • Understood the necessity of preserving the original documents involved with water development issues in South Dakota from the 1930s on

  • Donated her documents to Northern State University’s library

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Chester McVay

Dr. Chester McVay

Surgeon, Anatomist and Educator

1911 - 1987

  • Founder of the Yankton Clinic
  • Professor and chairman of surgery at USDSM
  • Became recognized internationally as an expert in the anatomy of the inguinal region
  • Was an innovator in the surgical repair of hernias
  • Authored many journal articles and textbooks

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Florence Atkinson

Florence Atkinson

Nurse

1913 - 2001

  • Served as a public health nurse with the South Dakota Department of Health, 1947-1973
  • Contributed to the improvement of thousands of children with special needs during her 27 years of service in South Dakota
  • Assisted children with special needs and their families in diagnostic treatment and referrals
  • Received the Federal Security Agency U.S. Public Health Service’s “Award for Meritorious Service” for her wartime contributions
  • Received a “Meritorious Service” award from the United States Surgeon General in 1946

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Robert Van Demark

Dr. Robert Van Demark, Sr.

Orthopedic Surgeon

1913 - 1995

  • Served on the faculty of the USDSM

  • Traveled around the state providing free assessments for children with disabilities

  • Edited the South Dakota Journal of Medicine from 1958-1991

  • Wrote 138 published professional articles

  • Served as a compassionate doctor caring for children with disabilities

  • Pioneered surgeries of the hand

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Paul Hohm

Dr. Paul Hohm

Medical Doctor

1914 - 2006

  • Served as a member of the original board of directors which purchased and operated the Huron Regional Medical Center and practiced there many years

  • Served on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska-South Dakota Regional Medical Program which was organized to plan for regional health care

  • Served as the chairman of the South Dakota Comprehensive Health Planning and Regional Medical Program

  • Served on the State Health Coordinating Council

  • Was a charter member of the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Foundation of Medical Care

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Brooks Ranney

Dr. Brooks Ranney

Obstetrician, Gynecologist

1915 -

  • Became the first fully trained obstetrician-gynecologist in the region

  • Served as the clinical professor and functional chair of the Ob/Gyn Department at USDSM for 25 years

  • Helped establish the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and served as the chair of the South Dakota section

  • Appointed to be the first commissioner of the Ob/Gyn Practice for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and also elected vice president and later president

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. Herbert Ortman

Dr. Herbert Ortman

Chiropractor

1916 - 2013

  • Served as a doctor of chiropractic at the Ortman Clinic in Canistota for 48 years

  • Served as the chair of the Public Health Committee when serving as a state representative

  • Worked to rewrite the laws relating to nursing education and practice

  • Served on the National Council of Chiropractic State Licensing Boards

  • Served on the National College of Chiropractic Board

 

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)


Dr. David Dahlin

Dr. David Dahlin

Surgeon and Author

1917 - 2003

  • Born to farmers near Beresford and graduated from high school in Centerville
  • Served as the chair of the Department of Surgery at the Mayo Clinic from 1970-1981

  • Became world renown for his expertise in bone tumors

  • Wrote a definitive text on bone tumors entitled, Bone Tumors: General Aspects and an Analyst of 2,276 Cases

  • Spoke about bone tumors to medical groups around the world

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)