From The Dean

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • From The Dean

We have a number of interesting and exciting events coming up at UND and the School over the next few weeks.

Next Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, UND will kick off its new Eye of the Hawk lecture series for this academic year when Neel Kashkari, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, gives a presentation on the Federal Reserve Bank and what it does. The presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Gorecki Alumni Center, Grand Forks, N.D. For more information, visit

Then on Tuesday, I (and others from UND) will be in Bismarck to join Governor and First Lady Burgum and colleagues from around the state for a symposium focusing on the substance abuse problem in the state (and obviously across the country). As I have mentioned here previously, the meeting, called Recovery Reinvented, will bring together people from across the state who are working to reduce the impact of opioids and other illicit substances on the people of this state, especially our young people. I’ll report back after the meeting.

Next Thursday, Dean’s Hour resumes with a presentation by Paul J. Carson, MD, FACP, professor of Internal Medicine at the UND SMHS, infectious disease physician at Sanford Health, and professor of Practice with the NDSU Public Health Program. As many of you know, interesting and complex things happen when humans change our microbiome with the frequent use of antibiotics—including bacteria’s development of antibiotic resistance. Given that resistance is reaching a crisis point, Dr. Carson will give a presentation titled “Antibiotic Stewardship” to help provide clarity about what health care providers can and should do about bacterial resistance to antibiotics. The presentation will be held at noon on Thursday, Sept. 28 in the SMHS Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (E101) in Grand Forks. Lunch will be provided for those on the Grand Forks campus. If you plan to attend in Grand Forks, please RSVP.

The presentation also will be broadcast to the following UND SMHS campus sites: Bismarck, Southwest Campus, Room 2108; Fargo, Southeast Campus, Room 219; and Minot, Northwest Campus Office, Trinity Location. In addition, you may view Dr. Carson’s presentation online.

Finally, UND Homecoming will be held the first week of October. I’ll have more to say about the events on tap for Homecoming week next Friday, but suffice it to say now that we are thrilled with the number of alumni who have told us they will be attending. We look forward to welcoming all of them back to campus, and giving them a taste of what we’ve been up to since our move last fall. Plus we will be providing tours of our fantastic new building. It should be an exciting week indeed!

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs

Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences


Colin Combs to present on Alzheimer's for UND Faculty Lecture Series on Wednesday, Sept. 27

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Events

Colin Combs, Ph.D., Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and chair in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, will give a presentation titled "The Efforts to Understand the Inflammatory Aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease" for the UND Faculty Lecture Series on Wednesday, Sept. 27. The lecture will be held at the North Dakota Museum of Art and begins at 4 p.m.

As an announcement for the event notes, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in the U.S and the sixth leading cause of death. Based upon the condition's characteristic of progressive cognitive decline, disease therapies typically attempt to address problems in the brain. Dr. Combs's work focuses on defining ways to manipulate the immune system to provide potential benefits against Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Combs has been a faculty member in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences since 2000 and is an acclaimed scientist, teacher, and facilitator.

Funding for the UND Faculty Lecture Series is provided by the Offices of the President and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Combs's lecture is also sponsored by UND's School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Paul J. Carson, MD, FACP, presents next Dean's Hour on Thursday, Sept. 28

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Events

Paul J. Carson, MD, FACP, professor of Internal Medicine at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, infectious disease physician at Sanford Health, and professor of Practice with the NDSU Public Health Program, is the speaker for the next Dean's Hour, to be held at noon on Thursday, Sept. 28 in the SMHS Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (E101) in Grand Forks. Focusing on antibiotic resistance, Dr. Carson will give a presentation titled "Antibiotic Stewardship" to help provide clarity about what health care providers can/should do about bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Lunch will be provided for those on the Grand Forks Campus. If you plan to attend in Grand Forks, please RSVP.

This presentation will be broadcast to the following UND SMHS campus sites:

  • Bismarck, Southwest Campus, Room 2108
  • Fargo, Southeast Campus, Room 219
  • Minot, Northwest Campus Office - Trinity Location

Or, you may view Dr. Carson's presentation online.

For additional information, contact the Office of the Dean at (701) 777-2514.

SMHS Library Resources to offer Medical Library Association webinar on Thursday, Sept. 28

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Events

Save the date! The UND SMHS Library Resources team has arranged for a showing of the Medical Library Association (MLA) webinar “Helping Patients and Health Care Consumers Understand Precision Medicine."

The live webinar will be broadcast to the following SMHS locations on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • Grand Forks: School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Room E226
  • Minot: Center for Family Medicine, Admin Conference Room
  • Bismarck: UND Center for Family Medicine, Classroom 2101C
  • Fargo: Medical Education Building, Room 220

The webinar is sponsored by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Greater Midwest Region (GMR).  

Please contact Kelly Thormodson with questions either via e-mail or phone: 701-777-4129.

SMHS partners with Alumni Association and Foundation for UND Homecoming Week Oct. 4-7

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Events

UND's Homecoming Week 2017 (Oct. 4-7) is just around the corner, and as always the SMHS has partnered with the UND Alumni Association and Foundation on many of the week's events. A website providing more details and online registration options for all events can be found here. Unless otherwise noted, SMHS-related events will be held at the new SMHS building, 1301 N. Columbia Rd., Grand Forks, N.D. Events include:

New Building Tours
The Office of Alumni and Community Relations will provide tours of the new SMHS building from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6. Tours of the new facility start in the main floor lobby and can be arranged here.

Physical Therapy Alumni Reception
A reception for alumni, faculty, and staff connected to the School's Physical Therapy Department will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the SMHS Therapy Lab (room E312, third floor) on Friday, Oct. 6. The Physical Therapy program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. Register for the reception here.

Continuing Education Symposium
Held in the new SMHS building from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, the Continuing Education Symposium will focus on Pain Management, with medical marijuana and opioid abuse receiving special emphasis. Business attire suggested. To register, go here or contact Kristen Peterson at 701.777.4305 or

SMHS Banquet
An SMHS Homecoming banquet will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Grand Forks Hilton Garden Inn, located at 4301 James Ray Drive. Due to limited seating, RSVP is required for the banquet, which will be in the hotel's Buchli/Bahl Banquet Room. Business attire suggested. For more information or to RSVP, go here or contact Kristen Peterson at 701.777.4305 or

2017 Homecoming Parade
And don't forget to attend the Homecoming Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7. The parade route follows University Avenue within the parameters of the UND campus. To enter a float in the parade, see the registration form here.

Inaugural Scientific Meeting of the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network is October 23-24

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Events

The UND SMHS is a member of the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network, which will hold its inaugural scientific meeting on Oct. 23–24, 2017, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Truhlsen Event Center in Omaha.

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network was created by a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (UNMC), the largest grant ever in the center’s history. Funding is provided through the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program and the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Studies. It will focus on developing early career researchers into independent scientists and increasing the infrastructure and other resources needed to support clinical/translational research (CTR) around the region.

Jonathan D. Geiger, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, serves on the leadership team.

In addition to UNMC, the Nebraska institutions involved in the network include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Boys Town National Research Hospital. Other participants are the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, the University of Kansas Medical Center, and the University of South Dakota.

The program will highlight presentations on clinical and translational research and resources, team science, community engagement activities, a mock study review panel, and more!

UND / USD Alumni Reception in Boston on November 4

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Events

In conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a reception will be held for University of North Dakota and University of South Dakota alumni on Saturday, November 4, 2017, in Boston, Mass. The reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Dartmouth Room of Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Ave., in Boston, Mass.

Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. All UND / USD alumni and friends are welcome!

Please RSVP by October 9.

More information on this gathering is available here.

Welcome Our Newest Employees

Michael Skinner

NW Clinical Campus Librarian

Michael Skinner, MLS, is the new Clinical Campus Librarian for the SMHS northwest campus in Minot. Michael comes to us from Longview Regional Medical Center in Longview, Texas, where he worked as a floor nurse on the Surgical Unit. Prior to that, he worked for the University of Texas at Tyler’s Muntz Library as their Nursing and Health Sciences Librarian. His supervisor is Kelly Thormodson.

As Northwest Clinical Campus Librarian, Michael provides research and education needs to the faculty, students, and residents at the NW campus and the Center for Family Medicine. As the director of the Library at Trinity Hospital, he manages a small collection and aids physicians and health care workers in the clinical setting with their information needs. NW clinical campus faculty, students, and staff are encouraged to contact Michael if they need to arrange training sessions or assistance with literatures searches.

In addition to his experience in health sciences librarianship, Michael has worked in other academic library contexts including Baylor University Libraries where he served as their Religion, Theology, and Philosophy Librarian for three years. He holds undergraduate degrees in Nursing and History, as well as dual master’s degrees in Library Science (Kent State University) and Theology (Brisbane College of Theology, Australia).

When not working, Michael likes to relax by playing his acoustic guitar, cooking, or reading stuffy old books on theology, history, and metaphysics. He also enjoys recreational walking and hiking. He has two grown sons and a granddaughter who all live overseas. Michael has lived in the rust belt (having grown up in eastern Ohio) so he knows his way around cold weather and snow.

Brenda Haugen

Communications Specialist

Brenda Haugen is the new communications specialist at the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks.

In this position, Brenda promotes the activities of the CRH and the Rural Health Research Gateway through media relations, social media, exhibiting, and special events. Along with spreading the word about the CRH, Brenda also helps maintain the Center's connections with the 11 federally-funded Rural Health Research Centers across the country. Her supervisor is Marv Leier.

A native of Wyndmere, N.D., Brenda graduated from UND with a degree in journalism. An award-winning journalist, she worked as a reporter, editor, and managing editor at newspapers in Williston, N.D., and Burnsville, Minn., for more than 14 years. After leaving the newspaper business, Brenda served as a senior editor with Capstone Publishers, a children’s book publisher headquartered in Mankato, Minn. Along with editing hundreds of books, she has written more than 50 biographies aimed at middle school-age readers. She has also done freelance work, including writing stories for UND’s Founders Day program for 11 years.

"I know first-hand the challenges rural folks have in accessing health care that may be many miles away," said Brenda. "Because of this personal experience, the educational mission of the Center for Rural Health immediately felt like a good fit for me.”

Established in 1980, the CRH is one of the nation’s most experienced rural health organizations. It has developed a full complement of programs to assist researchers, educators, policymakers, healthcare providers, and, most important, rural residents to address changing rural environments by identifying and researching rural health issues, analyzing health policy, strengthening local capabilities, developing community-based alternatives, and advocating for rural concerns.

Adrienne Salentiny, Ph.D.

Instructional Designer

Adrienne Salentiny, Ph.D., began employment on August 14 as an instructional designer in Education Resources, where her primary duties will involve curriculum design and teaching consultation for all SMHS programs. Her supervisor is Dr. Richard Van Eck. Adrienne has over a decade of experience as an instructional designer across the UND campus, including with the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, the Division of Continuing Education, and the Center for Instructional Learning Technologies (CILT). Most recently, she managed the UND Environmental Training Institute, where she supervised the design, delivery, and evaluation of government-regulated emergency health and safety outreach training. She has taught as an adjunct professor in the fields of instructional design, learning design, and education at UND and other higher education institutions. Adrienne earned her B.S. in political science with a minor in computer information technology from the University of Oregon (’05) and her M.S. ('07) and Ph.D. ('12) in instructional design and technology from UND. Her husband, Dustin, is head of development at Iteris, Inc. The couple has one daughter.


Public Health Service Financial Conflict of Interest Education -- NEW DATE: Wednesday, September 27

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Announcement, Research

U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) requires that all PHS grantees, or those considering submitting grant applications to PHS, complete a mandatory education class. According to the policy, all grantees working on research funded by PHS agencies must be trained in Conflict of Interest every four years. UND's Division of Research & Economic Development will conduct a PHS Conflict of Interest session on the following date:

  • Wednesday, September 27 at 2 p.m., Memorial Union, President’s Room (NOTE the new date, which replaces the session previously scheduled for Monday, Sept. 18)

PHS grantees only need to attend this session if you have not attended one in the past four years.

PHS agencies include:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Indian Health Services (IHS)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Sessions will be coordinated by Barry Milavetz, Ph.D., Associate Vice President for Research & Economic Development.

Foster awarded multiyear grant from NIH

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Announcement, News

Jamie Foster, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), has won a two-year award in the amount of $417,000 for a project titled “Dopamine Transporter Palmitoylation.” The grant was awarded by the National Institutes of Health (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) through a program that promotes the inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students in research.

Palmitoylation is a reversible cellular process wherein lipids (fatty acids) are attached to proteins for the purpose of adjusting protein function and activity. Dr. Foster and his colleagues have identified the dopamine transporter (DAT) as a palmitoylated protein. Dopamine is a chemical “messenger” that sends signals between neurons (nerve cells) and is highly regulated by the dopamine transporter, which transports dopamine back into the neuron from which it was released. Any irregularities that emerge in this process may result in one of several dopamine-related disorders of the central nervous system.

“The proposed research is especially relevant to public health because the dopamine transporter is essential for normal neurotransmission,” explained Dr. Foster. “Defects in transporter regulation may be involved with psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders such as schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, Parkinson’s, and cocaine and methamphetamine addiction. So figuring out how these processes work in neurons will help us determine how to better treat, if not prevent, these conditions.”

Dr. Foster’s previous research studies have found that DAT transport activity is controlled by palmitoylation. Specifically, palmitoylation has been shown to increase DAT activity and can be modified in animals in the presence of addictive drugs such as amphetamine. Dr. Foster’s latest study is expected to substantially advance human understanding of the role of this previously unknown DAT lipid modification on transporter function, and may provide insights into how problems of DAT regulation can lead to neurological disease, including drug abuse.

Mary Aaland, MD, educates 80 rural N.D. residents for "Stop the Bleed" event

  • Friday, September 22, 2017
  • Announcement, News

Mary Aaland, MD, FACS, associate professor of Surgery, director of Rural Surgery, and director of Clinical Research at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, recently conducted an American College of Surgeons (ACS) "Stop the Bleed" training in rural Adams County, North Dakota. Eighty participants, ranging in age from 9 to 80 years, took Dr. Aaland's course at West River Health Services in Hettinger, N.D., this month.

Massive bleeding from any cause, whether a gunshot wound or accident trauma where a response is delayed, can result in death. This is of particular concern to rural residents where professional medical treatment can be an hour or more away and victims can die from uncontrolled bleeding within five to ten minutes. Similar to how the general public learns and performs CPR, the public must learn proper bleeding control techniques, including how to use their hands, how to apply dressings, and how to tie tourniquets. The event's first 50 registrants received a free kit, courtesy of the ACS Foundation. The kit included gauze, clotting compound, a tourniquet, and an instructional pamphlet.

The SMHS Department of Surgery is committed to improving access to rural surgical and trauma care. Additional training sessions in other communities are planned, with information on these events forthcoming.