Friday, December 15, 2017

From The Dean

Friday, December 15, 2017

As the fall semester comes to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you—faculty, staff, students, colleagues, community members, and legislators—for your efforts and contributions during the first half of the 2017-'18 academic year. I’ve had a chance to visit and say “thank you and season’s greetings” to many of you at the four campus receptions that the School hosted over the past two weeks, and at our annual Holiday Luncheon held in the new building last week. It has been a most productive first six months of the school year and I’m looking forward to the next six, especially as we begin to prepare for the next legislative session that will start a mere one year from now. As you undoubtedly are aware, North Dakota is one of only four states that has a biennial legislature (the others being Montana, Nevada, and Texas).

As we look forward to the remainder of the academic year and the upcoming legislative session, it’s good to look back and gauge some of our accomplishments. Of the many activities and contributions of the School, perhaps none is more visible and important than our health care workforce efforts. So I was very pleased to hear recently about the success of one of the physician training programs that the School sponsors in conjunction with the North Dakota Legislature and our community partners. As part of our Healthcare Workforce Initiative, the School partners with local institutions to provide additional residency (post-MD degree training) slots. And since many physicians (especially in primary care) end up practicing in a location near where they did their residency, I was excited to learn that one of our partners—CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, N.D., under the direction of S. Shiraz Hyder, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer—has sponsored a one-year training opportunity in hospitalist medicine (for physicians who practice only in hospitals and take care of in-patient admissions). Since the start of this program in 2012, 11 physicians have completed the program, and seven of them now practice in North Dakota. The fact that about two-thirds (64 percent) of this program’s graduates have remained in-state to practice clinical medicine is noteworthy since this figure is well above the national average of 45 percent.

Congratulations thus are in order to Dr. Hyder and St. A’s, not only for the success of the program, but also for analyzing their data and sharing their results so others might learn from their findings. Dr. Hyder and Mary Amundson, a former faculty member at the SMHS, recently published these results in an article titled “Hospital Medicine and Fellowship Program in Rural North Dakota” in the medical journal WMJ. I think the authors were spot-on in the subtitle they gave their article: “A Multifaceted Success Story.” By not only designing and managing a successful program that benefits the people of North Dakota, but also relying on data analytics to evaluate the program and sharing their findings with others by publishing a scholarly article, Dr. Hyder and Ms. Amundson are to be triply congratulated for this “multifaceted success story.”

Special thanks are in order to Ralph Levitt, MD, who is retiring at the end of this month after a decade of service here at the School. A hematologist/oncologist, Ralph has helped guide and shape the first two years of our medical curriculum. He has reviewed or re-written every one of the patient cases that the first- and second-year medical students study and learn from each week. All the best in the future, Ralph—and enjoy the grandkids!

Finally, here is a brief update on our search for the next assistant dean for administration and finance, the position previously so ably filled by Randy Eken. We’ve identified five semi-finalists and are in the process of interviewing them. I anticipate developing a list of about three final candidates who will visit the campus in early- to mid-January. I’ll make a decision soon thereafter, once I get feedback faculty and staff.

Susan and I wish you all season’s greetings, Merry Christmas, and best wishes in the new year. My column will resume on January 5, 2018. Talk with you then!

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

Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Next Java with Josh to be held on Wednesday, Jan. 17

You are invited to join Dean Joshua Wynne for complimentary coffee or tea at Java with Josh from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, in the Tello-Skjerseth Atrium in the east wing (across the hall from the Family and Community Medicine and Population Health suites) at the SMHS building in Grand Forks.

Dr. Wynne will discuss what’s new at the School and take any questions you may have.

To ensure adequate seating, we ask that you RSVP to Kristen Peterson by Monday, Jan. 15.

We hope to see you there.

Zen in 10 returns

Zen in 10 focuses on stretching, breathing, and having fun with coworkers. Go back to work with less stress, more energy, and better body functioning.

The next sessions will be held from 10:40 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19 and Thursday, Dec. 21 in Classroom W201 of the SMHS.

Services provided by Kay Williams, Certified Yoga and Relax and Renew Instructor®.

39th annual Frank Low Research Day is Thursday, April 19

Save the Date!

The 39th annual Frank Low Research Day is Thursday, April 19, 2018, at the SMHS in Grand Forks. This year’s guest speaker is Rosanna Peeling, PhD, professor and chair of Diagnostics Research and Director of the International Diagnostics Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Students and faculty in the basic sciences, health sciences, and clinical departments are encouraged to participate in the poster presentations. More information, including a call for abstracts, is forthcoming. Please contact Lori Sannes with questions at 701.777.2516.

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Holiday issue of SMHS quarterly magazine North Dakota Medicine available

The Holiday 2017 issue of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences quarterly magazine North Dakota Medicine is available now in print and online.

This issue features stories on: radon awareness, SMHS alumni in professional athletics, state and federal loan repayment programs for health providers, faculty research, Primary Care Week, and profiles on SMHS students, faculty, and alumni.

Subscribers can expect a paper copy of the magazine (if you do not already have one) in your mailbox by early next week. If you would like to receive a free subscription to the print magazine, please complete the form here.

Thanks for reading!

Help the SMHS Learning Communities give back to the Northlands Rescue Mission

The Learning Communities housed within the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) are partnering with the Northlands Rescue Mission (NRM) on its Backpack Program.

While many children who do not have enough to eat at home can get multiple meals per day in the school setting, these same children often go hungry on the weekend. Committed to ending hunger in the Grand Cities, the Northlands Rescue Mission’s Backpack Program provides food-filled backpacks for such children on Fridays so they have food on days away from school.

To assist the NRM with its goal of providing food to families in need, health professions students in the SMHS Learning Communities—including medical doctor, physician assistant, physical and occupational therapy, athletic training, and master of public health students—are coordinating a “Learning Communities Challenge.” In the challenge, students assigned to each of the eight interprofessional collaboration/study spaces in the School will collect nonperishable food items from faculty, staff, and students, with the hope of collecting the greatest number of items.

“Many students involved in the learning communities have wanted to see a competition like this donation drive for some time, including me,” said medical student Erica Nelson, Learning Community Higher Council President. “The benefit of faculty participation will bring in more items for the children who need it most.”

SMHS faculty, staff, and students interested in donating items for the challenge can deliver them to the Leaning Community of their choice until Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Food items will be delivered to the NRM on or shortly after that date. The Learning Community collecting the most items will win pizza for the group.

For more information, contact Michelle Montgomery, MSW, LCSW, wellness advocate with the SMHS department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science at 701.777.5485 or

Women needed for Human Nutrition Research Center weight loss study

The Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center is seeking female volunteers to participate in a 16-week weight loss study to determine if when protein is eaten during the day can improve a woman’s ability to stay ‘on track’ with her weight loss goals.

You may qualify for this study if you are:

  • Between age 20 and 44 (you may be older if you have regular monthly periods)
  • Overweight
  • Eating animal products (meat, eggs, dairy)
  • Not taking medications known to affect appetite, weight, or food intake (including steroid-based medications)

The study requires that subjects:

  • Eat a research specific diet (food provided)
  • Come to the Center to pick up food daily
  • Attend weight loss classes
  • Stay at the Center for 24 hours on three separate occasions

You may be compensated up to $820 for your participation.

Sign up for this exciting opportunity online or call 701.795.8385 or 1.800.562.4032.

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Thomas M. Hyde, MD, PhD, presents Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Dec. 20

Dr. Thomas Hyde, Chief Medical Officer at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, will give a presentation titled “Postmortem Human Brain Studies of PTSD: Interaction of Genes and Environment” on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, from 12:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. at the UND Southeast Campus auditorium. Dr. Hyde manages the Lieber Institute’s postmortem human brain repository, the world’s largest collection of human brains for the study of neuropsychiatric disorders, in Baltimore, Md. He is an associate professor in the Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The objectives of his talk are the following:

  • Discuss the clinical criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD
  • Explain how genetics and environment influence the risk of developing PTSD
  • Describe clinical genetics in identifying risk factors for psychiatric disorders

This Psychiatry Grand Rounds Conference, sponsored by the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, is broadcast via videoconference to sites throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. Please contact Betty Jo Tostensen at 701.293.4101 or at if you would like information on how to attend/view.

The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Evidence-Based Teaching Group Topic Requests for 2018

The Evidence-Based Teaching Group (EBTG) hosts meetings discussing teaching topics as determined by its members. We’ve held several meetings this year on topics like ADA compliance in teaching, moderating effective online discussions, active learning, and an analysis of teaching strategies used by faculty while teaching in the SCALE Up rooms.

Because the EBTG is open to everyone, we encourage you to join us for any and all meetings (no RSVP needed—just show up).

As we prepare for 2018, we’d like to know what educational topics you would like to see at the future meetings! Please take a minute and complete this survey to tell us.

You can find current and previous EBTG sessions on our website. Please watch your email and E-News for more details about our first meeting of 2018!

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Library Notes

Holiday hours at SMHS Library Resources

With the holidays approaching, the SMHS Library Resources team is amending its hours until the New Year. Please note the following December hours of operation for the Library Resources staff/desk:

Friday 12/15, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 12/16, Closed
Sunday 12/17, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Monday 12/18, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday 12/19, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday 12/20, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday 12/21, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 12/22, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 12/23, Closed
Sunday 12/24, Closed
Monday 12/25, Closed
Tuesday 12/26, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday 12/27, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Thursday 12/28, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday 12/29, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday 12/30, Closed
Sunday 12/31, Closed

SMHS Library Resources to launch new website!

As part of the university-wide website redesign project, the SMHS Library Resources team will be making a number of changes to its pages on the SMHS website. The transition will happen in two phases. The first change will be the launch of our new Library Resources site at the end of December 2017. We do not yet have an exact date for the migration, but it will happen sometime during the holiday break. We will share the web address for the new site at the time of launch. A redirect will also be put in place so that traffic to our old web address will be forwarded to the new page. The second transition will occur in June 2018 when the entire SMHS site will migrate to the new university-wide system.

We’ll be sharing more information as we get closer to the launch date for the new website, but if you have any initial questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your library liaison, clinical campus librarian, or the Library Resources Information Desk (701.777.3993).

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we navigate this transition!

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