Friday, May 25, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, May 25, 2018

Although the flurry of activity surrounding commencement has ended, we have been busy getting the School’s budget set for fiscal year 2019 (which begins on July 1, 2018). Such work has entailed conferences with all department and unit chairs/directors, and included newly appointed Associate Dean for Administration and Finance/Chief Operating Officer Laura Block and the appropriate academic dean (either Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research Marc Basson or Associate Dean for Health Sciences Tom Mohr). I think that we are in pretty good shape for FY19, and we hope to finalize the budget very soon. One of the reasons that we are not expecting major financial issues for FY19 is that it is the second year of the biennium, meaning we already have adjusted our spending to be in line with the two allotments (budget reductions) that occurred earlier. Thus, there have been and should be no major issues, or “shocks” as economists might say, for FY19.

On the other hand, the FY20/21 biennial budget still is a work in progress. Associate Dean Block has been coordinating with the UND budget folks (led by Vice President for Finance and Operations Jed Shivers), as well as the North Dakota University System staff (led by Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs/Chief Financial Officer Tammy Dolan). Because the North Dakota Legislature and Governor Doug Burgum have the final word on our state appropriation for the coming biennium, we won’t know the “bottom line” until about a year from now. So the upcoming biennial budget remains very much a work in progress. To use a phrase I’ve used before, “stay tuned!”

And speaking of the upcoming legislative session, one of the joint tasks of the School and its Advisory Council is the preparation of a biennial report on the state of health, healthcare, and the healthcare workforce in North Dakota. Under the overall guidance and supervision of Associate Dean Tom Mohr and Senior Research Analyst Mandi-Leigh Peterson, we have been hard at work on the fifth iteration of this report; here is a copy of the Fourth Biennial Report on Health Issues for the State of North Dakota we prepared and distributed just prior to the most recent legislative session. The fifth edition will feature a much expanded analysis of nursing workforce and care delivery issues, more information on American Indian health issues, and more detailed data and analysis about the impact our various workforce programs (like the Indians into Medicine [INMED] program, the Rural Opportunities in Medical Education [ROME] program, and the Healthcare Workforce Initiative [HWI]) are having on the state. I think that this upcoming edition will be our best yet. It will be available for distribution in December. As we did for the last edition, we’ll only print and distribute the executive summary. The rest of the report—all the data, charts, analysis, and discussion—will be available online. Look for it in December.

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Welcome: Sonja Bauman

Sonja Bauman is the new research specialist at the Center for Rural Health, located within the UND SMHS. In this role, Sonja coordinates and facilitates data collection and analysis, prepares written reports of data findings, collaborates with statewide partners, and disseminates information to rural health stakeholders. She will likely also work on workforce projects. Originally from Duluth, Minn., Sonja earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of St. Scholastica (also in Duluth) and her master’s degree in forensic psychology from UND. Prior to her new position she was a graduate teaching assistant for the Psychology Department at UND. She is also a member of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology. Her supervisor is Mandi Peterson.

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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!

Welcome reception for new 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.

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 through 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.

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

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Nechaev receives first installment of major multiyear grant from National Science Foundation

Sergei Nechaev, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), has received the first installment on a five-year award worth $1.25 million for a project entitled “CAREER: Organization of Global Transcriptomes by Stepwise control of POL II activity at gene promoters.” The grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation.

According to Nechaev (right), despite decades of cutting-edge research, the question of how the activity of genes is organized into specific patterns, called transcriptomes, that give rise to all possible cell types in the organism remains unanswered.

“This issue is important not only for health researchers,” Nechaev said, “but any scientist exploring the fundamental questions about how simpler components—whether genes, neurons, or human-designed switches—can drive highly complex processes that include cell differentiation, brain organization, and possibly artificial intelligence.”

According to Nechaev, the new grant focuses on how the human genome can “encode” stable patterns of gene expression by exploring a poorly understood process called “Pol II pausing.” The goal of the project supported by the grant is to determine how proteins involved in the control of Pol II pausing regulate transcription of genes genome-wide. By the end of the grant, the laboratory hopes to understand better how genes organize into networks. Expanding the grant’s impact is the fact that high school, undergraduate, and graduate students will have the opportunity to engage in cutting edge research at the SMHS that combines molecular biology, bioinformatics, and mathematical modeling.

Nechaev conducts research in a field known as epigenetics. Researchers studying epigenetics explore the mechanisms that regulate gene expression and the activation and deactivation of specific genes. Understanding better how the human body can turn genes on and off during growth, aging, and in response to its environment has important implications for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, and diabetes.

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Next Evidence-Based Teaching Group meeting is 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 grant writing workshop to be held at SMHS on June 18

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.

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Library Notes

Memorial Day weekend and summer hours for Library Resources Information Desk

Beginning next week, and continuing throughout the summer, the Library Resources Information Desk hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday only--no weekend hours. It will expand its hours again for the fall semester on Monday, August 13. The Information Desk will be closed on Monday, May 28, 2018, for the Memorial Day holiday.

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