South Dakota State Medical Association members have many opportunities to shape policy and select leaders.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body of the association, which acts as the legislative and business body. It is comprised of 11 members: the president, president-elect, vice president, immediate past president, secretary-treasurer, senior American Medical Association (AMA) delegate, policy council chairperson, three at-large directors elected by the Policy Council from the membership of the association, and the alternate AMA delegate elected as such by the Policy Council. The alternate AMA delegate serves in a non-voting capacity.

Robert J. Summerer, DO
Medical school: Des Moines University
Residency: Des Moines General Hospital
Specialty: General Surgery
Current practice: Madison Regional Health System

 Benjamin C. Aaker, MD - President-Elect
 Medical school: University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha
 Residency: University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
 Specialty: Emergency Medicine
 Current practice: Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton


 Kara L. Dahl, MD - Vice President
 Medical school: Ross University School of Medicine, Portsmouth, Dominica
 Residency: University of South Florida - Tampa
 Specialty: Emergency Medicine
 Current practice: Sanford Clinic, Aberdeen


 Jessica A. Claussen, MD - Secretary-Treasurer
 Medical school: Loma Linda University of Medicine, Loma Linda, California
 Residency: University of Missouri Mason Eye Institute, Columbia, Missouri
 Specialty: Ophthalmology
 Current practice: Avera Medical Group - Ophthalmology, Mitchell


 Christopher T. Dietrich, MD - Immediate Past President
 Medical School: University of South Dakota School of Medicine
 Residency: Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education
 Specialty: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
 Current practice: The Rehab Doctors, P.C., Rapid City


 Mark L. Harlow, MD - Policy Council Chair
 Medical school: Medical College of Wisconsin
 Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin
 Specialty: Orthopedic Surgery
 Current practice: Oyate Health Center, Rapid CIty


 Susan M. Anderson, MD - At-Large Director
 Medical school: University of South Dakota School of Medicine
 Residency: Sioux Falls Family Medicine Residency Program
 Specialty: Family Medicine
 Current Practice: Sanford Clinic - USD Family Medicine, Sioux Falls 


 Robert C. Marciano, DO - At-Large Director
 Medical school: Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
 Residency: Medical Center of Independence, Missouri
 Specialty: Family Medicine
 Current practice: Mobridge Medical Clinic


Stephan J. Miller, MD - At-Large Director
Medical school: University of South Dakota School of Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Specialty: Emergency Medicine
Current practice: Regional Health Rapid City Hospital


 Mary S. Carpenter, MD - Delegate to the AMA
 Medical school: USD School of Medicine
 Residency: University of Oklahoma, Tulsa Medical College
 Specialty: Family Medicine
 Current practice: State Health Department and Social Services Department


 Robert L. Allison, MD - Alternate Delegate to the AMA
 Medical school: University of Nebraska School of Medicine, Omaha
 Residency: University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha
 Specialty: Internal Medicine
 Current practice: Avera Medical Group Pierre

Policy Council

The Policy Council is made up of 51 members including the Board officers, elected representatives from each district medical society, one representative from each specialty society, one representative appointed by the dean of the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, and one representative each from the medical student and resident physician sections. The Policy Council adopts position statements and establishes the general policy of the association and has the sole power and authority to amend the articles of incorporation and the bylaws of the SDSMA. The Council meets twice annually, including during the SDSMA annual meeting. 

If you are interested in serving on the Policy Council, please contact your district or specialty society, or Terry Marks, Administrative Services Coordinator, at or 605.336.1965.

 Policy Council Chair - Mark L. Harlow, MD

SDSMA committees