Friday, January 19, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, January 19, 2018

It has been a fun and exciting week—with more to come!

On Wednesday, I attended a dinner sponsored by President and Mrs. Kennedy to honor all UND faculty who had been promoted or tenured this past year. The SMHS boasted four such faculty members: Gwen Halaas (now retired) – professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine; Stephen Tinguely –  professor of Pediatrics; Catherine Brissette – associate professor of Biomedical Sciences; and Jacqueline Gray – research professor in the Department of Population Health. I’m sure that you’ll join me in extending congratulations to our colleagues for their important academic achievements!

Yesterday I delivered the State of the School address at the annual Faculty Assembly. During the presentation, I outlined the accomplishments of the School’s faculty, students, and staff in the realms of education, discovery, and service, and I reviewed the status of the Healthcare Workforce Initiative. I also addressed the goals of the SMHS in the future, and how those goals complement OneUND, UND’s new strategic plan. If you didn’t have a chance to attend the Faculty Assembly, the slides are available here.

Following the Faculty Assembly, many of us headed to the Alerus Center for the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks Chamber’s annual meeting and dinner featuring Gov. Doug Burgum. The governor discussed, among other topics, his ideas about diversifying the state economy, creating 21st Century jobs, and revitalizing North Dakota’s main streets. It also was a great opportunity to network with colleagues and partners from Grand Forks, the region, and across the state.

And later tonight, Susan and I will join prospective matriculates of the medical student Class of 2022 as part of Pre-Med Day for INMED (Indians into Medicine) students. I look forward to welcoming these future doctors, and I can’t think of a more exciting time to be joining the healing profession. Especially in Indian Country where there are marked health disparities, the opportunities to do good and improve the lives of our fellow citizens has never been greater.

Susan and I will finish off the week of celebrations when we attend the annual SMHS Recognition and Awards Banquet, hosted by our current medical students. It’s always a fun event, and gives us a chance to interact with the students in a relaxed atmosphere. We’re looking forward to it and hope to see you there!

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

Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Welcome: Laurel Carr

Laurel Carr is the new Brain Research Technician and Autopsy Assistant in the Department of Pathology the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. In this role, Laurel will organize, triage, and accomplish brain donation and technical preparation for the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD), an SMHS partner institution located in Baltimore, Md. In addition, she will provide autopsy and death investigation assistance. Laurel recently relocated to Grand Forks upon completion of her master’s degree at New Mexico Highlands University located in Las Vegas, N.M. Her research there included correlation of anthropogenic antibiotic resistance and introduction of treated waste water into the environment. Her supervisor is Dr. Mary Ann Sens.

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Zen in 10 in the New Year

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.

Sessions will be from 10:40 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from Jan. 9 to March 1 in Classroom W201 at the SMHS in Grand Forks. (Note that Zen in 10 will not be held on Tuesday, Jan. 30 or Thursday, Feb. 1.)

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

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American Diabetes Association names Dr. Eric Johnson Primary Care Advisory Group Chair

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has named Eric L. Johnson, MD, associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), its Primary Care Advisory Group chair for a three-year term starting January 2018. In this role, Johnson will lead the association’s efforts to develop effective strategies to engage primary care providers; Dr. Johnson recently completed a three-year term as the group’s vice-chair.

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and an additional 86 million American adults have what is considered “prediabetes.” Primary care providers such as Dr. Johnson treat 90 percent of patients with diabetes.

For this reason, Johnson’s work with the Primary Care Advisory Group has focused on accelerating outreach to primary care providers through several initiatives, including the national one-day Diabetes Is Primary program at the ADA’s scientific sessions.

Dr. Johnson and his colleagues recently developed the association’s abridged version of the Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. This important document packages the ADA’s annual guidelines into a manageable article for busy primary care providers. Furthermore, he both has been involved in the publication of several articles in professional journals that feature key guidelines from the Standards, and has been appointed to the editorial board of the ADA journal Clinical Diabetes.

“Diabetes presents a huge burden to patients, providers, and health care systems,” noted Dr. Johnson, who will help oversee several key initiatives in 2018, including the expansion of the Diabetes Is Primary program to other markets. “Getting the right information into the hands of primary care providers can improve the quality of diabetes management and patients’ quality of life.”

Dr. Johnson is the director of the SMHS Interprofessional Education Program and medical director of the School’s Physician Assistant Studies Program. He is also assistant medical director for the Altru Health System Diabetes Center, president of the American Diabetes Association North Dakota Affiliate, and president of Tobacco Free North Dakota.

Dr. Alberto invited by ACP to conduct workshop in Panama City

Neville Alberto, MD FACP, hospitalist with Sanford Health and program director for the SMHS Transitional Year Residency Program in Fargo, has been invited to organize and conduct a workshop in Point of Care Ultrasound at the American College of Physicians–Central America Chapter meeting. The event will be held in Panama City, Panama, January 25 and 26, 2018. Congratulations to Dr. Alberto on his selection. A conference poster is available here.

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Great Plains IDeA-CTR Institutional Coordinator to speak at Biomedical Sciences Seminar Jan. 31

You are invited to the next Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series event, featuring Ted R. Mikuls, MD, MSPH, vice chairman of Research and Umbach Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Mikuls will present a talk titled “Biorepositories in Clinical Translational Research” at the SMHS Department of Biomedical Sciences Seminar Series on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, at noon in SMHS Room E101. For more information about Dr. Mikuls’s biography, see his CV here.

Dr. Mikuls is also the Institutional Coordinator for the Great Plains IDeA-Clinical Translational Research (CTR) grant. The Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network is a collaborative effort between nine institutions in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota (including the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences), and Kansas to reach the medically underserved populations in these states and transform health delivery and outcomes in the Great Plains region.

Everyone is welcome.

Evidence-Based Teaching group to meet at 11 a.m. on Feb. 6

The Evidence-Based Teaching (EBT) group will meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6 in SMHS room W202.

The meeting topic for this session is "Active Learning Applied: Simple Strategies for Complex Content." The session will be led by Richard Van Eck & Adrienne Salentiny, Education Resources, and Devon Olson, Library Resources.

Do any of these teaching problems sound familiar to you?

  • Students can memorize facts but can’t see the big picture.
  • I don’t know how to get students to master concepts and apply them.
  • What I’m teaching is often too complex for my students, but they have to master it.
  • Students seem to “get” what I’m teaching, but then fail parts of some tests.
  • My students always want to know the “right” answer, but sometimes it’s not that simple!

These and many other problems can be addressed through evidence-based teaching strategies like Active Learning, which has been shown to be effective. For many, however, active learning is synonymous with flipping the classroom. While a flipped classroom can be effective, there are dozens of much simpler active learning strategies for solving individual teaching problems.

In this interactive session, we’ll show you techniques that anyone can use without overhauling the entire course! Whether you’ve experienced the problems above or have your own concerns to share during the session, join your colleagues to hopefully leave with at least one potential solution!

The Evidence-Based Teaching group meets monthly at the same time. This group will host topics as determined by its members. It is free and open to anyone—no RSVP needed! If you are interested in anything related to Evidence-Based Teaching (assessment, online learning, precepting, active learning, simulation, ADA compliance, or any topic you see fit), join us and let us know what you’d like to see at future meetings. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Adrienne Salentiny at 701.777.4272 or

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Great Plains IDeA-CTR develops Practice-based Research Networks directory

Practice-based Research Networks (PBRNs) are networks of clinicians and practices collaborating to answer health care questions that turn research findings into practice. While still treating patients as a typical clinician or practice would, PBRNs have taken the additional opportunity to explore issues related to improving patient care. Some PBRNs conduct research in specific areas such as rheumatology or mental health while others are more generalized and study quality improvement activities or access to care. Regardless of the area of study, PBRNs have integrated practice and research to address major issues in the realm of health care.

Over the last decade, the number of PBRNs in the U.S. has grown substantially to help meet the needs of an ever-changing health care environment. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is a national organization tasked with providing evidence to “make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable." This mission includes reporting on PBRNs, providing tools and resources, hosting events, and maintaining a registry.

As part of the Great Plains IDeA-CTR's charge to improve the research infrastructure in the Great Plains region, we seek to increase the visibility of folks on the frontline of health research and support their work. For this reason, we have developed a PBRN directory to discover local PBRNs, find out what kind of work they do, and track their progress. And of course, there are opportunities for collaborations with these networks as well; most of our PBRNs have their contact information included in the directory.

For more information about the Great Plains IDeA-CTR or its PBRN directory, see the network's newsletter here.


Great Plains IDeA-CTR calls for proposals for three grant programs with a deadline of Jan. 31

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR, a coalition of nine research institutions that includes both the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University, has posted calls for proposals connected to three clinical-translational research programs: Cancer Related Research, the Biomedical Informatics Big Data Pilot Program, and the Community-Academic Partnership Program. Each of the grant programs have a submission deadline of Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. More information on the specifics of each proposal can be found by clicking on the links below.

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 in the center’s history. Funding for the network is provided through the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program and the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Studies. The network 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.

UND Center for Host-Pathogen Interactions calls for research proposals due Feb. 15

In anticipation of the third year funding, the Center for Host-Pathogen Interactions at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences invites applications for pilot studies to support research that fits well within the scientific theme of our NIH funded Center For Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE). This competition is open to all full time, tenured, tenure-track, research-track, and/or clinical-track faculty at UND. The goal of this Pilot Project Program is to promote new research in the field of host-pathogen interactions and extend the current research into novel directions with high potential for future COBRE projects and for acquiring R-grant type extramural funding support. It is expected that this program will attract investigators into the research area of host-pathogen interactions, foster new collaborations among new and existing investigators, and promote the utilization of flow cytometry, imaging, human cell core, and histopathology core facilities supported by COBRE.

Applications due February 15, 2018, for an anticipated project start date of June 1, 2018. For more information, see the full call for proposals here.

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