Friday, February 23, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, February 23, 2018

I enjoyed attending last night's Founders Day Banquet. As I mentioned last week, two of our faculty members and an SMHS department were honored with awards:

  • Sarah Nielsen, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, was awarded the UND Foundation/McDermott Faculty Award for Graduate or Professional Teaching Excellence
  • Colin Combs, professor and chair of Biomedical Sciences, was awarded the UND Foundation/McDermott Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Research
  • The Department of Biomedical Sciences at the SMHS received the UND Award for Departmental Excellence in Research

In addition, recent UND retirees and 25 years-of-service honorees were recognized for their contributions to the University and the community of North Dakota over the years. Congratulations and well done to all!

And speaking of Dr. Combs, I’m very pleased to announce that after getting very strong and positive feedback from the faculty members in his department, I've reappointed Dr. Combs as chair of the department for our usual five-year term. He really has done an exceptional job of leading the department, carrying out his own research, and excelling as a teacher and mentor.

Last week I attended the quarterly meeting of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national accreditation body for medical schools in the U.S. and Canada. As I mentioned before, I am a member of the LCME, and we, on behalf of the LCME, evaluated various reports and determined the accreditation status of about four dozen medical schools. One of the issues that we and other accrediting bodies struggle with is how to balance a school's educational processes—the pedagogical effort a school makes—with the school’s actual outcomes (especially regarding the production of competent, caring, and compassionate health care providers).

The importance of trying to balance process vs. results was highlighted by an article that I read recently by Dr. Ashish Jha. Dr. Jha, an internist at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and the Harvard T.H. Chen School of Public Health, analyzed the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) that is part of the Affordable Care Act. The HRRP was designed to reduce the frequency with which Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after an initial admission for certain specified conditions (like heart failure). The premise underlying the program was simple—if patients got better care during their initial hospitalization, they’d be less likely to be readmitted subsequently. And the initial data appeared to show a significant reduction in 30-day readmission rates shortly after the program was initiated about five years ago. However, further analysis suggested that about two-thirds of the apparent reduction in readmission rates simply was due to a change in how the admissions were coded—the real reduction in readmission rates was considerably smaller than first thought. Regardless, there appears to have been an unintended consequence of the HRRP focus on readmission rates: overall mortality rates of patients in the program appear to have increased since the inception of the program!

Thus, the HRRP may be a cautionary tale regarding the interdependence of process and outcome measures. The HRRP focused on improving the process of care, but perhaps the single most important outcome measure (patient survival) actually may be worse. So whether we're discussing medical schools' accreditation or providers' actual health care delivery, how you do something is important, but what you achieve is even more so.

Finally, congratulations to the Lamoureux twins for their two goals that won Team USA the gold in women’s hockey at the 2018 Olympic Games. It has been 20 years since our last gold medal in women’s hockey, and the win—on a Lamoureux goal in a game-ending shootout—could not have been more dramatic. Talk about Leaders in Action!

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

Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Welcome: Courtney Thorp

Courtney Thorp is the new ND Simulation Education Coordinator in the SMHS Simulation Center. Courtney earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of North Dakota. Prior to this position she worked in the Emergency Department at Altru Health System. When not working, Courtney enjoys any outdoor activity, including hunting, fishing, and riding motorcycle.

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Welcome reception for Laura Block to be held at 2 p.m. today

Everyone is invited to a welcome reception for Laura Block, the new Associate Dean for Administration and Finance (ADAF) and Chief Operating Officer at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). In her new role, Block, who is assuming the role held previously by Randy Eken, will oversee all non-academic operations and procedures at the SMHS and reports to the Vice President for Health Affairs at UND and Dean of the SMHS, Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH.

The reception will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today (Feb. 23) in the West Atrium on the first floor of the SMHS and will include brief comments from Block and Dr. Wynne.

We hope to see you there!

Inaugural meeting of Heartstrings group on Monday, Feb. 26

Please join members of the Wellness Committee as it launches Heartstrings, a new discussion group/social gathering for faculty, staff, and students of all disciplines and departments at the SMHS. The inaugural Heartstrings gathering will be held from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26 in the SMHS East Atrium. The goal of Heartstrings is to promote community and camaraderie throughout the SMHS by sharing our time and ideas in a non-academic setting, outside of the classroom. We hope to see you there!

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

Biomedical Sciences seminar to be held on Feb. 28

Save the date for the next UND Biomedical Sciences seminar: "Splitting Hares and Tortoises: Decoding Neuronal Immediate Early Gene Transcription."

Sponsored by the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Epigenetics-Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE) team, the seminar will be held at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Room E101 (Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium) at the SMHS. The guest speaker for this seminar is Ramendra Saha, PhD, assistant professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Unit of the University of California - Merced.

Everyone is welcome!

March 22 Dean's Hour features Martin S. Maron, MD

Martin S. Maron, MD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Institute at Tufts Medical Center, is the speaker for the next Dean's Hour, to be held at noon on Thursday, March 22 in the SMHS Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (E101) in Grand Forks. Dr. Maron will give a Dean’s Hour presentation titled "Does Pre-participation Screening Save Competitive Athletes' Lives?”

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

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. Maron’s presentation online here.

Dr. Maron’s research interests are the diagnosis and management of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, including the role of cardiovascular magnetic resonance in assessment of patients with HCM and novel drug therapy to modify disease. Dr. Maron has co-authored over 140 original publications on HCM and has been published in New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Circulation, and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Maron during his brief visit at the UND SMHS, please contact Jeanette Gratton (, 701.777.2514).

Health Professionals' Diabetes Workshop to be held in Grand Forks on April 11

Mark your calendar for the Health Professionals' Diabetes Workshop to be held at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on April 11, 2018.

This one-day workshop, presented by the Altru Diabetes Center, is geared toward the health professional who cares for people with diabetes. Its purpose is to provide best practice recommendations to improve diabetes care in a culturally sensitive way.

Presenters include:

  • Marilyn Gardner, RN, BS, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • William Zaks, MD, Altru Health System
  • James Brosseau, MD, MPH, Altru Health System
  • Tara Feil, PhD, CHI St. Alexius
  • Eric Johnson, MD, University of North Dakota and Altru Health System

A detailed brochure for the event can be found here. The registration fee for Altru employees and students is $25; the fee for non-Altru employees is $80.

To register, go here and: 1) Select "2018 Diabetes Conference," and 2) input username "Diabetes" and password "2018Conf." Pre-registration required by April 2, 2018. Lunch will be included for pre-registered participants only.

Providers--this workshop counts toward your Continuing Medical Education requirements:

  • Dietitians/Dietetic Technicians: This program has been submitted to the Commission on Dietetic Registration for continuing education approval.
  • Nurses: This activity has been submitted to Montana Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. The Montana Nurses Association is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation for approving continuing nurse education.
  • Physicians: Altru Health System is accredited by the Minnesota Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Altru Health System designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 6 hours AMA PRA Category 1 credits. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Contact for more information.

Rosanna Peeling, PhD, is Frank Low Day keynote and Dean's Hour speaker on April 19

Rosanna Peeling, PhD, will be the keynote speaker at this year's Frank Low Research Day on April 19, 2018. Dr. Peeling is currently professor and chair of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and director of the International Diagnostics Centre. Her talk is entitled "The Global Crisis of Antimicrobial Resistance: Be part of the Solution!"

Before assuming her current positions, Dr. Peeling was research coordinator and Head of Diagnostics Research at the World Health Organization's Special Program on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva, Switzerland, and was chief of the Canadian National Laboratory for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Her work at the World Health Organization focused on the evaluation of diagnostics to inform policy and procurement decisions in developing countries. Dr. Peeling’s work at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine spans from facilitating test development and evaluation to translation of evidence to policy, appropriate placement of new diagnostic technologies into different health care settings to ensure maximum impact, and innovation in the uptake of testing by marginalized populations. In 2014, she was awarded the George MacDonald Medal by the Royal Society of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for contributions to tropical medicine, becoming the first woman to receive this honor.

The topic of her talk "The Global Crisis of Antimicrobial Resistance: Be part of the Solution!" is an important one locally and globally. Related to this issue she is currently serving on the Expert Advisory Panel for a new Global Fund, and spoke on this topic at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly in New York, the 2017 World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, and at the World Health Assembly convened by the World Health Organization in 2017. She is currently working with the newly established Africa Centre for Disease Control on their Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network and is putting together a Massive Open Online Course on the role of diagnostics in the global Antimicrobial Resistance response.

If anyone has interest in meeting with Dr. Peeling during her short time at the UND SMHS, please contact Dr. Jonathan Geiger, Department of Biomedical Sciences at or 701.777.2183.

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

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

The talk is also available at your desktop here.

For additional information, contact Lori Sannes at 701.777.2516.

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Center for Rural Health staffers awarded UND Grand Challenges seed grant

Eric Souvannasacd and Collette Adamsen from the UND Center for Rural Health and Courtney Souvannasacd from American Indian Student Services have been awarded $3,200 from the UND Grand Challenges program to support research concerning Indigenous people in North Dakota. Their proposal, "Helping Rural Communities Solve Their Unique Health and Social Problems," envisions the creation of a tribal research review board and research network in collaboration with North Dakota Tribal College leaders, faculty, staff, and research experts.

Furthermore, Shawnda Schroeder from the UND Center for Rural Health also received a $3,200 UND Grand Challenges seed grant under the category
Helping Rural Communities Solve Their Health and Social Problems." This funding will be used to propose research and seek additional financial support to study fluoride varnish application among pediatric patients in rural and urban North Dakota. The results of the research will help inform health care providers and encourage widespread application of varnish, improving oral health for pediatric patients in North Dakota.

The goal of UND Grand Challenges is to generate opportunity for the state by diversifying its economy and addressing societal grand challenges through cutting-edge research. The seed funding opportunities are a continuation of a series of awards designed to support Goal 4 of the One UND Strategic Plan, specifically to help build research activity in the Grand Challenges.

Nominate a faculty member for the 2018 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award

Each year, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards are presented to a graduating medical student and faculty member (MD or DO) at over 150 of the nation’s medical schools. This award is given to those who best demonstrate the Gold Foundation’s ideals of outstanding compassion in the delivery of care; respect for patients, their families, and health care colleagues; and clinical excellence.

Please consider nominating an SMHS faculty member (MD or DO) and/or a fourth-year medical student (chosen from the ten medical students below) for the 2018 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Nominations are due Friday, March 9, 2018.

It is suggested that you consider the following criteria for identifying awardees, specifically the acronym "I. E., CARES"— Integrity, Excellence, Compassion, Altruism, Respect, Empathy, Service--

Medical School Faculty Member (MD or DO):

  • consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy in the delivery of care to patients
  • serves as a role model—illustrates professional behavior by example
  • approachable and accessible to students
  • welcomes opportunities for teaching and one-on-one mentorships with students
  • exhibits enthusiasm and skill in professional and personal interactions with students
  • shows respect for everyone
  • demonstrates cultural sensitivity in working with patients and family members of diverse backgrounds
  • displays effective communication and listening skills
  • understands patients’ need for interpretation of complex medical diagnoses and treatments and makes an effort to ensure patient comprehension—shows respect for the patient’s viewpoint
  • sensitive to the patients’ psychological well-being
  • effectively identifies emotional concerns of patients and family members
  • engenders trust and confidence
  • adheres to professional and ethical standards
  • committed to reflection and objective self-evaluation of his/skills
  • displays competence in scientific endeavors

Faculty award recipients from the previous five years are not eligible: Jennifer D. Raum, MD (2017); Michael LeBeau, MD (2016); David A. Billings, MD (2015); Roger Schauer, MD (2014); and Charles E. Christianson, MD (2013).

Similar criteria for the medical student awardee are as follows:   

Graduating Medical Student:

  • consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy in the delivery of care to patients
  • illustrates professional and ethical behavior by example
  • shows respect for everyone
  • demonstrates cultural sensitivity in working with patients and family members of diverse backgrounds
  • displays effective communication and listening skills—good rapport with patients
  • understands patients’ need for interpretation of complex medical diagnosis and treatment and makes an effort to assure patient comprehension—shows respect for the patients’ viewpoint
  • helps to articulate the patients’ concerns to attending physicians and others
  • sensitive to the patients’ psychological well-being
  • cooperative, easy to work with—engenders trust and confidence
  • willing to help others and, when necessary, willing to seek help from others
  • displays concern for the general welfare of the community and engages in volunteer activities
  • seeks and accepts criticism, using it to improve performance
  • committed to reflection and objective self-evaluation of his/her skills
  • displays competence in scientific endeavors

The awardee must be chosen from the fourth-year students who were inducted as student members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society on June 19, 2017:

Grace Carson Adria Johnson
Eric Christensen Seth Kalin
Michael Gilchrist Anna Kozlowski
Jason Greenwood Cameron MacInnis
Nabeel (Syed) Hyder Vanessa Stumpf

All nominations should include a brief statement of no more than one page describing the nominee’s qualifications. Faculty and students are encouraged to submit nominations. Nominations must be received by March 9, 2018. The recipient will be chosen from among nominations using a committee process. The award includes a personalized certificate and $1,000 to be presented at the School's Commencement Awards Luncheon on May 13, 2018.

Please send nominations to:
Cindy Stromme
UND SMHS Student Affairs
1301 N. Columbia Road Stop 9037
Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation initiated the Humanism in Medicine Awards in 1991 to recognize a graduating medical student and a faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. These awards were intended to spur dialogue, debate, and activities at medical schools committed to training physicians who are as compassionate as they are scientifically proficient. Over 100 medical schools currently participate in this program, now officially named for its benefactor: The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Turn North Dakota Blue for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month on March 23

March is the American Cancer Society's Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. To help raise awareness for colorectal cancer, and to encourage screening and prevention, the North Dakota Cancer Coalition (NDCC) is sponsoring a "Turn North Dakota Blue for Colorectal Cancer Awareness" photo contest.

Health providers, area businesses, and other organizations are being asked to submit a photo of their members wearing blue to the Coalition by the end of March. One winning image will be selected from each submission category (hospitals, nonprofits, businesses, educational institutions, etc.) by a panel of NDCC judges.

To that end, a photo shoot has been scheduled at the Grand Staircase in the SMHS building in Grand Forks for 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 23.

Faculty/staff/students interested in being part of the shot should arrive at the staircase by 10:30 wearing BLUE for colorectal cancer awareness.

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Evidence-Based Teaching Group to meet March 6

The next Evidence-Based Teaching (EBT) group meeting will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, March 6 in SMHS Room W202. You are invited to attend!

The meeting topic is "Active Learning: Evidence-based Teaching for Good Precepting" and will be led by Makoto Tsuchiya, Sports Medicine, and Devon Olson & Annie Nickum, Library Resources.

The formal education of health professionals includes learning in clinical settings as well as classrooms, yet these environments and the faculty who teach in them are often very different. This means that the teaching approaches will look different, even when using the same strategies. In many cases, preceptors lack the tools to teach effectively in the clinic or office and may not always recognize opportunities to apply effective teaching methods “just-in-time.” Good precepting is a critical asset to health care education. This session will help preceptors apply evidence-based teaching strategies within the constraints of time and space in clinical settings.

The Evidence-Based Teaching group meets monthly at the same time. This group will host topics as determined by expressed interest of 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,

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Great Plains IDeA-CTR seeks respondents for research survey

Greetings, Researchers!

The University of North Dakota is a partner with the University of Nebraska Medical Center on an NIH grant to support clinical and translational research (CTR) across the Great Plains Region.

Your research may fit the broad definition of "clinical and translational research." Clinical Research is conducted with human subjects (or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens, and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator (or colleague) directly interacts with human subjects. Translational research is about moving health-related treatments, diagnostics, and prevention measures from pre-clinical work to population level impact (i.e., moves fundamental discovery into health applications, health applications into evidence-based practice, evidence-based practice into broad guidelines, and evidence-based strategies into policy and population health regimes).

We are requesting your help in identifying resources we should support and/or develop to facilitate this work. Your feedback is essential to our ability to serve your research and that of others.

To that end, would you please complete this CTR survey, which should take only about 10 minutes? Respondents who complete the survey have an opportunity to enter a drawing for one of five $100 gift cards.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

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