Friday, May 11, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, May 11, 2018

This will be an exciting and busy commencement weekend. The activities kicked off yesterday as our graduating medical school seniors returned to the Northeast (Grand Forks) campus for Senior Colloquium, an annual event during which we try to prepare our soon-to-be physicians with some final activities as they begin the transition to residency training. At the kickoff dinner last night, I discussed the topic of Physician Employment and Contract Negotiations. This topic is important because the majority of physicians in the U.S. now work for a hospital or hospital system, rather than being in independent practice.

Today I’m talking with the group about Health Care Systems and Financing, a topic that is of particular importance to all in the health care realm, especially in this era of uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act. And later today I will attend a variety of other activities at the school for our graduating seniors, including the physician assistant hooding ceremony and a similar event for physical therapy graduates. Hoods are garments that originally were used to keep scholars’ heads warm in medieval times, and now are used as a symbol of achievement for those receiving a graduate (rather than undergraduate) degree. In addition, I’ll be joining the occupational therapy students at their graduation reception, as well as one for our Master of Public Health (MPH) grads.

On Saturday, I’ll attend UND’s commencement activities, first for graduate students and then the larger afternoon event for undergraduates. I’ll also attend a graduation reception for our medical laboratory science students. And on Sunday, we’ll have medical school commencement, with remarks by recently retired clinical faculty member Ralph Levitt, MD. Medical school commencement is preceded by our Commencement Awards Brunch, where we recognize especially outstanding achievements by graduating medical students.

As I indicated last week in my E-News column, the educational cycle keeps turning following graduation. Our new incoming freshman are understandably excited about starting on the path that leads to a health career degree. I recently became aware of some interesting data regarding applications to our own medical school curriculum. This past year we had over 1,400 applicants for our 71 seats (along with seven seats for our Indians into Medicine [INMED] program). Of those 1,407 original applicants, 529 completed the entire application process. We then interviewed 229 applicants, with each candidate meeting with three members of the Admissions Committee. If you do the math, that’s 687 total interviews! Wow! What an effort by our volunteer members on the Admissions Committee! Thank you!

Finally, two comments about non-graduation events that were held this week. On Monday and Tuesday the SMHS sponsored the Fifth Annual University of North Dakota Epigenetics and Epigenomics Symposium. This symposium included presentations by guest speakers as well as local and regional investigators in the field of epigenetics, which involves studying how genes express themselves and cause changes in the body without a change in the genetic code itself. The three guest speakers this year hailed from Princeton University, Manitoba, and Indiana University. I was in and out of the presentations due to other scheduled activities, but I thought that the presentations were just terrific.

And as our graduating seniors are preparing for the next exciting phase in their careers and life, it was sobering to attend the annual Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) Rise and Shine for Peace breakfast yesterday. That there are so many traumatized children and adults in Grand Forks is heartbreaking. The stories of just a few of them were very moving. But even more important is that the Grand Forks community has helped CVIC help these children and adults deal with their physical, sexual, and emotional trauma. So I would urge you to join Susan and me (and many of your fellow North Dakotans) in supporting CVIC. You can get further information here. And for those of you who live outside of Grand Forks County, please consider donating to your local version of CVIC. The need is there—please try to help.

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

Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Celebrate MD Commencement on Sunday, May 13

Please join us for the 2018 MD Commencement activities scheduled for Sunday, May 13, in Grand Forks.

The event's keynote speaker will be Ralph Levitt, MD, professor of Internal Medicine (retired Dec. 2017) for the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The title of Dr. Levitt’s presentation is, “Why do we do it? The intangibles of practicing medicine.”

The Commencement schedule is as follows:

  • 10:30 a.m.—Awards brunch: Alerus Center (1200 42nd Street S., Grand Forks, ND). Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased by calling the Dean’s Office (701.777.2516) or e-mailing Jeanette Gratton.
  • 2:30 p.m.—Commencement Ceremony: Chester Fritz Auditorium, 3475 University Avenue, Grand Forks.

If you have any questions regarding the awards brunch or commencement ceremony, please contact Jeanette Gratton (701.777.2312 or

Java with Josh at SMHS in Grand Forks on May 15

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 Tuesday, May 15 in the Tello-Skjerseth Atrium (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 Friday, May 11.

We hope to see you there.

Y. Peter Di to speak on antibiotic resistance and novel antimicrobials May 16

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Dr. Y. Peter Di will give a presentation at the SMHS titled “The Battle of Infection: Antibiotic Resistance vs. Novel Antimicrobials." The talk will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Room W201.

Dr. Di is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, director of the Inhalation Exposure Facility, and chair of Chemical and Hygiene Safety Committee at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on the cellular and molecular actions of environmental or occupational exposures to toxic chemicals and microorganisms that underlie the pathogenesis of chronic human lung diseases, including asthma, respiratory infection, COPD, sleep disorder, and lung cancer.

Dr. Di’s lab provided influential identification and characterization of a novel lung epithelial cell-specific secretory protein, SPLUNC1, and its roles in respiratory infection and pulmonary diseases. His research program has been continuously supported by multiple funding agencies and private foundations, including the NIH, AHA, and ALA. In addition, Dr. Di’s translational research projects have won several awards, including Pitt Innovator, I-Corp, and the first place Commercialization Award. Dr. Di has contributed significantly to the recent development of natural and engineered antimicrobial peptides to overcome emerging and challenging multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacterial infections.

UND and GF Public Health to host Medication Assisted Treatment workshop May 18

The University of North Dakota, Grand Forks Public Health Department, and Red River Behavioral Health System have officially opened registration for the coalition's Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) 101 workshop.

The workshop, which instructs health providers on evidence-based treatment options for opioid use disorder, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, May 18, 2018, in Columbia Hall (former UND School of Medicine building) on the UND campus in Grand Forks.

The target audience for this workshop includes: primary care providers, case managers, mental health and substance use professionals, nurses, hospitalists and emergency department providers, pharmacists, law enforcement officials, probation and parole agents, and court officials.

A complimentary lunch and five continuing education credits are available for those who attend.

More details and an online registration platform can be found here.


Welcome reception for incoming INMED Director Donald Warne is May 31

A welcome reception for Donald Warne, MD, MPH, new director of the INMED Program and associate dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 31 in the West Atrium of the SMHS building.

Most recently the Chair of the Department of Public Health in the NDSU College of Health Professions, Warne assumes the role of INMED Director long held by Eugene Delorme, JD, who retired in 2017. Joycelyn Dorscher, MD, has served as interim INMED director since last year.

Among other duties, in his new role Warne will support the needs of American Indian healthcare students on the University of North Dakota campus; help provide reservation communities with culturally competent healthcare providers; maintain strong relationships between the SMHS and tribal communities in North Dakota and the surrounding region; and contribute to the School’s scholarly, service, and teaching missions.

Established in 1973, INMED is a national program designed to help support more American Indian health professionals dedicated to practicing in underserved and rural areas, including but not limited to reservations. INMED services include academic and personal counseling for students, assistance with financial aid application, and summer enrichment sessions at the junior high through professional school levels.

Please join us to hear from Dr. Warne and Dean Wynne--and enjoy light refreshments.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Register now for the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health to receive discount rate

The 33rd Annual Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health is taking place June 13-15 in Grand Forks, N.D. The Dakota Conference provides an opportunity for health care professionals, educators, and students to share strategies for building and sustaining healthy communities in North Dakota. It includes three days of sessions, pre-conferences, post-conference workshops, and an awards banquet.

Early Bird Registration and Payment is Due May 11. Register Now to Save!*

Register online here.

The Dakota Conference is coordinated and facilitated by the Center for Rural Health at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and is supported by:

Contact Kylie Nissen at or 701.777.5380 with questions. Visit the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health’s website for more information.

Zen in 10 is back!

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 held from 10:40 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from May 15 to June 28 on the East Patio of the SMHS, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, Zen in 10 will meet in SMHS classroom W201. (Note: the group will meet in rm. W201 on Thursday, May 17 regardless of weather).

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

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School of Medicine and Health Sciences recognizes outgoing health sciences and graduate students

In addition to the 67 new medical doctors graduating from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) on Sunday, May 13, the School will see more than 200 students from its graduate and professional health sciences programs walk across the Alerus Center stage at the UND Commencement on Saturday, May 12.

Representing the School at UND’s Spring Commencement Saturday will be students from not only the SMHS graduate program in the Biomedical Sciences, but those from its professional and undergraduate programs in Medical Laboratory Science (89), Occupational Therapy (57), Physical Therapy (52), Physician Assistant Studies (29), Master of Public Health (10), and Athletic Training (6).

“We want to extend congratulations to all of the graduates of the Health Sciences,” noted Thomas Mohr, PhD, associate dean for Health Sciences at the SMHS. “Most of all we want to recognize the impact that health science graduates will have on the thousands of patients they will work with throughout their careers.”

Now that the School’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) is fully implemented, 16 additional medical students, 30 health sciences students, and a variety of post-MD degree trainees are being educated through the UND SMHS each year, relative to 2011. In addition to expanding SMHS class sizes, the HWI utilizes a number of strategies to help increase North Dakota’s healthcare workforce, including prioritizing accepting students from rural areas of North Dakota, promoting tuition forgiveness for students who commit to practicing in a rural community in the state, and increasing its focus on geriatrics, population health, and public health.

Over the past 50 years, the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences has graduated nearly 10,000 professionals working in the health sciences in North Dakota and around the country.

North Dakota Epidemiological Profile on Key Substance Abuse Indicators is now online

The North Dakota Health Workforce Group at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Center for Rural Health has compiled its Epidemiological Profile on Key Substance Abuse Indicators for the North Dakota Department of Human Services. The Profile identifies alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and the non-medicinal use of prescription drug prevalence, consequences, and modifiable risk factors in North Dakota.

According to the Profile's authors, while the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs have declined generally in the state, use still remains above the national average. As the Profile's Executive Summary puts it, "The state of North Dakota has made progress in the rates of substance abuse and related consequences in recent years. Despite this, North Dakota remains above the national average in many areas, which indicates further prevention implementation is necessary to improve the quality of life in the state."

The Center for Rural Health, the North Dakota Department of Human Services, and the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) partnered on this project.

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Reid and Senn present Psychiatry Grand Rounds on May 16

Jennifer S. Reid, M.Ed., MAC, LPC, LAC, and Patti L. Senn, MS, MAC, LPC, LAC, will present "Recovery from Addiction: The Struggle is the Story” from 12:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at the UND Southeast Campus auditorium in Fargo. Jennifer Reid and Patti Senn are both licensed addiction counselors at First Step Recovery, a Program of The Village Family Service Center. Accompanying them will be persons recovering from substance abuse disorders who will tell their stories and struggles.

Upon completion of this program, the learner will be able to:

  • Summarize the prevalence of substance use disorders
  • Illustrate the many paths to recovery
  • Integrate recovery advocacy into medical care
  • Recognize the physician's role in the recovery process

This grand rounds presentation, sponsored by the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, is broadcast via videoconference to many sites throughout North Dakota and Minnesota, and is also streamed via personal computers. If you want information on how to attend, please contact Betty Jo Tostenson at 701.293.4101 or

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.

Carlos Orihuela to speak on preventable cell death and pneumonia on May 30

The Department of Biomedical Sciences has invited microbiologist and infectious disease specialist Carlos Orihuela, PhD, to give a presentation titled “Preventable cell death in the respiratory tract during pneumococcal infection" from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30. The presentation will be held in the Charles H. Fee, MD Auditorium (Room E101) on the Grand Forks campus.

Dr. Orihuela obtained his bachelor of science degree from Baylor University in 1996. He subsequently earned his PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston where he was a Kempner Scholar. From 2001 to 2005, Dr. Orihuela completed his postdoctoral research training in the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. He returned to Texas in 2005, as an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. While at San Antonio, Dr. Orihuela was promoted with tenure to associate professor and received the Presidential Junior Research Scholar Award, Distinguished Hispanic Faculty Award from the Graduate School, and Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. In 2015, Dr. Orihuela joined the Department of Microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dr. Orihuela currently is a member of the Host Interactions with Bacterial Pathogens Study Section for the NIH, associate editor for the journals PLOS Pathogens and Infection and Immunity, and editor of a recent book on the molecular mechanisms of Streptococcus pneumoniae pathogenesis. His research is focused on the host-pathogen interactions that prevent and enable development of invasive pneumococcal disease.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

Next Evidence-Based Teaching Group to meet on June 5

The Evidence-Based Teaching Group (EBTG) will meet on Tuesday, June 5 from 11 a.m. to noon in SMHS room W201. You are invited to attend! The meeting topic is "Evidence-Based Precepting: Challenges, Opportunities, and Solutions."

Are you a healthcare professional charged with providing high-quality learning experiences for healthcare students in clinical settings while simultaneously meeting your responsibilities as a provider? You are not alone! Many preceptors have demanding healthcare practices, have rarely had formal training as educators, and find it challenging to bring evidence-based teaching practices into the clinical setting. What are the best ways to ensure high-quality precepting under these kinds of constraints?

This SMHS Evidence-Based Teaching Group session will explore evidence-based precepting. We’ll start with a panel of healthcare educators who will share some of their solutions and strategies. For example, contrary to conventional wisdom, the role of feedback, scaffolding, and guidance are just as important on the job as they are in formal learning environments. This will be followed by an interactive discussion of solutions to your precepting questions and challenges.

Panelists, who will be moderated by Richard Van Eck (Education Resources), include Steve Westereng (Sports Medicine), Bryan DeLage (Family & Community Medicine), and LaVonne Fox (Occupational Therapy).

The EBTG hosts events based on topics determined by the expressed interest of its members. The EBTG meets the first Tuesday of every month in W201 or W202; meetings are free and open to anyone—no RSVP needed! Past topics have included assessment, online learning, precepting, active learning, simulation, ADA compliance, and educational scholarship. Many of the past events can be streamed from our website. If you are interested in anything related to evidence-based teaching, join us! If you have any questions, would like more information, or would like to suggest (or lead!) a future meeting topic, please contact Adrienne Salentiny at

Hope to see you there!

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Great Plains IDeA-CTR to host community-based research workshop in Omaha on May 23

The Great Plains IDeA-Clinical and Translational Research (IDeA-CTR) group, of which the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences is a member, will host a community-based research workshop from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23. The one-day event will be held at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Maurer College of Public Health, room 3013, in Omaha, Nebraska.

Invited presenters include:

  • Kenneth Wells, MD, MPH, professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA
  • Loretta Jones, CEO and Founder of the Los Angeles-based Healthy African American Families II
  • Felicia Jones, director of programs for Healthy African American Families II

This workshop has been developed for individuals interested in learning about community-engaged research, finding a mentor, or becoming a mentor for someone who is utilizing community-engaged research approaches from the academic (faculty or staff) or community partner perspectives.

For more information, email Heather Braddock or call 402.552.2260. To register for the event, go here.

Save the Date for Great Plains IDeA CTR grant writing workshop

One Monday, June 18, 2018, the Great Plains IDeA Clinical and Translational Research Network will offer area researchers a Grant Writing Workshop. The workshop will be held in SMHS room W202 from 8 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. and will cover writing for publication, writing grant applications, and speaking for success.

The workshop will be facilitated by Paul Casella, MFA, a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Since 1988, Casella has worked with health professionals to improve the clarity and effectiveness of their manuscripts for publication, formal presentations, grant applications, slides, posters, videos, and other media for scientific purposes. He was writer and primary editor of the funded Great Plains IDeA-CTR grant application.

This workshop schedule is as follows:

8 a.m. to 9:20 a.m.
Writing for Publication--This presentation examines the structures and positions of emphasis in the sentence, paragraph, and sections of the formal study to help authors authorize their claims. The session includes a test of reasoning that authors can apply to the articles they read and the papers they write.

9:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Writing Grant Applications--This session reviews the principles of good grant writing to produce clear, direct, and compelling proposals. It focuses on understanding the psychology of reviewers and the review process, how to engage readers and facilitate understanding, and how to manage the proposal writing process. The session also suggests proposal templates and includes exercises related to specific elements of a scientific proposal, particularly the Specific Aims page.

11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Speaking for Success--This course reviews how adults learn as a means to examine effective delivery techniques to engage scientific and clinical peer audiences. It provides practical information on how to deliver powerful oral and PowerPoint presentations in the classroom, conference room, auditorium, and at regional or national meetings.

Register for the workshop here.

Questions? Contact Jonathan Geiger or 701.777.2183.

Principal Investigators: note changes in Grants Management office

Faculty and staff serving as Principal Investigators for grants/sponsored projects administered through the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) are advised that the Grants Management office will no longer return signed copies of proposals to researchers after proposals have been submitted. Instead, Diane Hillebrand will provide researchers with a scanned .pdf copy of the Proposal Transmittal Form after it has been signed.

Why? This revised process is expected to cut down on copying expenses, saving not only trees but financial resources for the SMHS.

Do researchers need to make any changes to their processes? Not necessarily: PIs can continue providing Grants Management with only one copy of their Proposal Transmittal Form, as they have always done. The difference is that researchers will receive back only an electronic copy of their signed form; the Central Grants office in Twamley Hall will keep the original.

If you have any questions about this change, please contact SMHS Grants Manager Diane Hillebrand, CRA, BBA, at 701.777.2808 or

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