Dakotas America Invests In The Health of Rural Communities

Posted on December 8, 2016

Paula Jensen
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The need to recruit and retain rural practitioners is a huge part of solving our rural healthcare provider shortage.

Dakotas America is working to be a part of that solution.

Thanks in part to the help of Dakotas America, pre-medical students from rural North and South Dakota have another avenue for a high-quality education. The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), with its three campuses, is one of the most innovative medical colleges in the country, with cutting-edge technology, facilities, and experienced faculty.

Dakotas America attracted private investment through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program to help fund the construction of the newest 16 acre VCOM branch campus located in Auburn, Alabama, which opened for its inaugural class in July 2015. Students accepted into the program are asked to maintain VCOM’s mission of becoming community focused, globally minded osteopathic physicians who desire to meet the needs of rural, medically underserved areas, promote research and improve human health.

“There are currently nine students from North and South Dakota taking advantage of the opportunities available to them through VCOM, and it is our hope that these students return to serve our rural communities,” says Lin Van Hofwegen, Managing Director of Dakotas America.

One of those students, LeShea Quade, from Milbank, South Dakota, just completed her first year of medical school at VCOM’s Carolinas Campus and hopes to return to the Midwest to practice medicine in a small town after she completes her residency.

“It’s a great school. The coolest part is that they push for you to go back to rural communities and practice medicine. I am looking forward to taking a mission trip to help serve underserved countries and see patients that really need our help. I love that the school cares about that,” says LeShea.

Dakotas America serves disadvantaged rural communities across the country by providing NMTC-enhanced financing to help spur job growth and long-term sustainability, with an emphasis on health care and education. Since its inception in 2005, the organization has been awarded NMTC allocations totaling $255 million. The unique medical school partnership with VCOM is just one example of how these dollars are benefitting rural South Dakota.

Dakota Resources proudly shares office space and a common rural vision with the Dakotas America team, including: Lin Van Hofwegen, Managing Director; Dustin Ludens, VP of Portfolio Management; and Jay Headley, VP of Finance. Find out more at dakotasamerica.com.

Dakotas America has made a national impact in the following ways:

  • $255 MM invested in low-income communities through 4 NMTC Allocation Awards
  • Over 2,200 newly created jobs and over 1,100 retained jobs
  • Vital new healthcare services for over 160,000 persons
  • New education opportunities for over 10,000 students
  • Over 300 medical students serving underved rural areas and public health programs
  • Critical goods and services access for over 2,300 low-income persons
  • Access to fresh, healthy foods for over 300,000 people
  • Expanded and consolidated services by federally qualified healthcare centers
  • Skills for new Americans
  • Access to quality jobs in rural areas
  • Medical and public health research
  • Over 1,160,000 square feet of real estate constructed or rehabbed



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