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USD School of Health Sciences Names Inaugural Director for New Nurse Anesthesia Program

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Shauna Rich Jacobson Shauna Rich Jacobson has been named the inaugural director of the new Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program at USD.
VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences has named the inaugural director for its new nurse anesthesia program, the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP), a post-baccalaureate degree to prepare registered nurses to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA).
Shauna Rich Jacobson is a doctoral prepared CRNA with 28 years of experience in the nursing profession, 18 of those in nurse anesthesia. She holds a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice and Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from Mount Marty University, as well as a paralegal certificate from the Center for Advanced Legal Studies in Houston, Texas.
Jacobson will begin her duties at USD on May 9, 2022. As program director, Jacobson will be responsible for the overall operations and management of the program. “I look forward to developing the DNAP program by forging relationships, securing faculty and solidifying a sound curriculum,” Jacobson said. “I am excited to prepare a new generation of nurse anesthesia providers. In addition, I am honored to share the profession that I love. I love this profession and I am honored to prepare a new generation of nurse anesthesia providers.”
Most recently employed with Sanford Medical Center, Jacobson was anesthesia in-service coordinator, facilitating annual approval from the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA), clinically mentoring new CRNAs and assisting in the development of student nurse anesthetists. As a practicing CRNA, Jacobson worked with patients of all ages in the areas of general surgery/trauma, orthopedics, ENT, cardiovascular, OB/GYN, interventional radiology and pediatrics. She also holds the unique credentials of having paralegal training in medical malpractice.
“The School of Health Sciences is poised to provide much-needed services with this new doctoral program and Shauna leading it,” said Haifa Abou-Samra, Ph.D., dean of USD’s School of Health Sciences. “She is profession-centered and promotes team approached, evidence-based patient care with the heart of a student and enthusiasm for education.”
USD will launch the DNAP degree program in Sioux Falls in spring 2023 to help meet the continued need of growing and building South Dakota’s health care workforce. Nurse anesthetists are the sole provider of anesthesia care in 83% of South Dakota counties, demonstrating the need to elevate the quality of care in the emerging health care systems and to strengthen CRNA leadership skills. USD will be the only public university in the state to offer the DNAP degree.
The program is currently undertaking a capability review and planning for accreditation decision in October 2022. Program offering will begin in the spring 2023 . For more information, visit
USD’s School of Health Sciences is a national leader in interprofessional health sciences education. South Dakota’s comprehensive School of Health Sciences develops scholars, practitioners and leaders in health and human services, including addiction counselors, dental hygienists, health science practitioners, medical laboratory scientists, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, physician assistants, public health practitioners and social workers.
Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News


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