Friday, June 08, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, June 08, 2018

Forgive me if this week’s E-News column starts on a personal note, but bear with me—the theme relates to medical education and health care delivery. This past Tuesday night, Susan and I were pleased and honored to be invited to the opening of an exhibit of my brother Rob’s artwork in the prestigious Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit, entitled FLOAT, had his pieces embedded among the more classical artwork in the Museum’s collection. Although I’m hardly impartial, the show was spectacular! If you happen to travel to New York, I think that you’d find a visit to Brooklyn interesting. The exhibit runs through January 6, 2019.

At a dinner in his honor after the opening, Rob was interviewed by the curator of the museum where he talked about his evolution as an artist. He indicated that when he attended Pratt Institute years ago as a young artist, he was an abstract expressionist, as were most of his fellow students. But because he didn’t feel that style of art allowed him to tell his story adequately, over the past two decades he evolved his style to use glass objects as part of an installation (typically installed on the wall of a gallery or home). Some of his pieces use provocative phrases (for example, “Masquerade”) to highlight the theme and feelings that he’s exploring. At the dinner conversation, Rob explained that his current style allows him to tell his story better than his prior approach.

So what does this have to do with medical stuff? His answer got me thinking about the power and importance of language in what we do—especially in health education and taking care of patients. In this era of electronic health records, increasing automation, and other frankly dehumanizing elements in medicine and health care, the value of precise language and good communication skills is more obvious than ever. One of the areas where we see a real opportunity to expand the components of health care delivery is in telemedicine, where a computer or other electronic variant is used to connect patient and provider—a virtual visit, if you will, where we bring the clinic to the patient, rather than have the patient go to the clinic.

This is especially important in rural areas of North Dakota, and offers the promise of augmenting and expanding our ability to bring high-quality health care to both rural and otherwise less-than-mobile patients. But to use telemedicine effectively requires the employment of optimal language and communication skills. Interrupting a patient who is explaining her problem after only 12 seconds (the average length of time it took before residents in a recent study interrupted patients) certainly doesn’t promote good communication. And it is especially tempting for interlocutors of all types to interrupt each other over a screen, when they’re not even in the same room as each other.

We take this problem seriously at the UND SMHS and try to mitigate the tendency to interrupt during our practice sessions with students. But interrupting remains a challenge, even for me, with decades of experience as a clinician.

What is clear, then, is that whether you are a cardiologist or an artist, language matters, and genuine communication is founded not on monologue but dialogue and language skills.

As we labor to improve and optimize our medical and health sciences educational programs and offerings—especially as we dip our toes deeper into telehealth—we need to remember and reinforce the importance of language and communication skills.

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

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Welcome: Kimberly Leonard

Kimberly Leonard has joined the UND Center for Family Medicine in Minot as Business Office Supervisor after five years serving as a practice coordinator with Trinity Health in Minot. She holds an MBA degree with a concentration in Health Care Administration. A longtime Michigan/Ohio resident, Kim relocated to the Minot area in 1995, via the U.S. Air Force, where she lives with her spouse of 34 years, two very spoiled dogs, mother, and a 16-year-old child. Kim is a grandma to two perfect little girls from her first born son. Her hobbies include painting, beading, and cars. Her supervisor is Becky Bina.


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Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health is next week!

The 33rd annual Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health is next week! We hope you will find the presentations, exhibits, and networking opportunities a valuable experience that will strengthen the work you do in your community.

If you haven’t already purchased your banquet tickets, we recommend that you do so now; it is always a great time celebrating with the very deserving award recipients who will be recognized at the banquet. Also, if you plan to attend the ND Public Health Association Pre-Conference, Flex/CAH Pre-Conference, or ND Rural Health Association meeting, please go online and register for them. If you don’t remember what you registered for, send Julie Reiten an email.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Handouts are only available online! In an effort to become more environmentally friendly, we have chosen to not print and distribute handouts for the conference presentations. Handouts may be found here.
  • Jeans Day: Conference attendees (including exhibitors) are asked to participate in Jeans Day to benefit Red River Valley Community Action (RRVCA). Wear your jeans on Friday, June 15 and donate to this cause. If you wear jeans on Friday, please stop by the registration desk any time during the conference to make a donation.
  • Exhibits will be available in the Aurora Ballroom 4 during the “Visit Exhibits” times listed on the schedule. Please take time to learn about what these exhibitors have to offer and thank them for supporting the conference.
  • The Reception will be held on Wednesday from 4:10 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in Aurora Ballroom 4. Please join us while we visit with the exhibitors over appetizers and a cash bar.

Zen in 10 this summer

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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OT students talk SMHS building at Society for College and University Planning: Pacific and Regional Conference in Los Angeles

Two student representatives of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy—Erika Moderow and Ashley Prososki, MOT—joined representatives of Steinberg Hart, the principal architect of the new SMHS building, and Whittier College in presenting at the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Pacific and Regional Conference at UCLA recently. Both UND and Whittier had new learning spaces constructed by Steinberg Hart. The presentation, “Student Experience in Active Learning Spaces,” contrasted the schools’ previous learning environments with their new spaces and highlighted how the new active learning environment has positively impacted student learning.

As the team's poster notes, before the new building opened, the occupational therapy program was housed in UND’s Hyslop Sports Center. Occupational therapy (OT) students spent all of their time in one classroom—Hyslop 360. The classroom bordered a weight room, the bathrooms were antiquated, and there was no daylight. The classroom set up was stagnant, and students only interacted with each other, not other health sciences or medical students.

"Needless to say, OT students were thrilled when the new SMHS building opened in 2016," said Prososki. "The new building featured not only sunshine but freedom to move between classes, bathrooms that worked, access to professors, kitchens to use, and the opportunity to interact with students from other professions. The change was profound."

According to Prososki, who graduated in May 2018, over 80 people attended the presentation and the response from the attendees was overwhelmingly positive. People inquired about the flexibility of the furniture in the SMHS learning spaces, the open classrooms, and the learning communities. They asked about the functionality of the space, what works, and what does not work.

"The experience of being a presenter at the SCUP conference was an excellent opportunity," added Moderow. "We were able to network with other professionals that ranged from architects and geologists to university personnel. We gained perspective on other spaces, learned the ins-and-outs of what the SMHS has to offer, and were able to attend other presentations on active learning spaces. And we were able to share how the new SMHS building has enhanced our learning experience and were able to showcase the forward thinking of UND."

Abe Sahmoun invited to speak at 12th Annual World Cancer Congress in Osaka

Abe E. Sahmoun, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been invited to speak at 12th Annual World Cancer Congress in Osaka, Japan.

"It´s our honor and pleasure to invite you to attend to the 12th Annual World Cancer Congress (WCC-2019) Converging New Discoveries and Achievements of Cancer Research that will be held in Osaka, Japan, May 15-17, 2019," wrote Vicky Zhang, WCC Coordinator, in a letter to Dr. Sahmoun. "I cordially invite you to give an oral presentation about your research."

The three-day Annual World Cancer Congress (WCC) is a well-recognized international conference in the field of cancer research. Previous Congresses resulted in fruitful collaborations and rewarding experiences for the delegates who left the events with concrete tools and solutions that helped them enhance their work practice and impact.

Dr Sahmoun is welcome to propose any topic, activity, or scientific program he would like to see covered during the conference.

The WCC-2019 Scientific Program will be comprised of a keynote forum and breakout sessions on the topics of:

  • Recent Advances in Cancer Research
  • Next Generation Cancer Diagnostics
  • Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery
  • Research Fronts in Clinical Oncology
  • Advanced Cancer Therapeutics
  • Cancer Prevention, Detection and Nursing


More information on the conference can be found online.

North Dakota high schooler wins major scholarship at International Science and Engineering Fair

Award winners have been announced for Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) that was held in Pittsburgh, Penn., recently. Among the winners was Cavalier, N.D., native Alyssa Kemp, the Senior Division’s third place winner at the 68th Annual North Dakota State Science and Engineering Fair, held in the UND Memorial Union in April.

In Pittsburgh, Kemp won two very generous scholarships from Arizona State University and Drexel University—the Intel ISEF Scholarship and Full Tuition scholarship, respectively—for her poster Buffering the Bloom: The Effect of Nutrient Management Practices on Pond Eutrophication.”

Kemp’s trip was aided by the North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), which is administered by the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and coordinated the State Science Fair that sent Alyssa to Pittsburgh. The immediate goal of INBRE is to build biomedical research capacity by serving research universities, baccalaureate institutions, and tribal colleges within the state. This will ultimately increase the number of North Dakota students entering the technical, educational, and health professional workforce pipeline in the state.

Kemp and fellow North Dakotans Abigail Post and Juliann Spilman were among the approximately 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories who were awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for on average $4 million in prizes at the ISEF. The three students were the overall top three in North Dakota out of twelve qualifying students in the state.


Cathy Perry Retirement Celebration on June 27

Cathy Perry, long-serving administrative officer with the SMHS Department of Medical Laboratory Science, is retiring! A celebration will be held in her honors from ___ to ___ on Wednesday, June 27 in the _______.

Cathy has been with the department for 40 years. 

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RefWorks "Write-N-Cite" no longer automatically available in SMHS classrooms

Any faculty who plan to teach RefWorks and its accompanying Microsoft Word add-in this summer or fall semester should be aware that "Write-N-Cite" will no longer be deployed automatically on SMHS classroom computers. Please contact Information Resources prior to your class in order to have the platform installed. Or you can call your librarian liaison to request alternatives, such as updated screenshots or video tutorials, or to schedule a librarian to teach the program to your class.

If you don’t know the name of your librarian, please call 701.777.3993.

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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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