We are extremely proud of our students who typify the North Dakota ethic of hard work, dedication, fairness, and helping our neighbors and friends when needed. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was having a casual conversation with a former emergency medicine residency program director from a neighboring state. While talking about summer vacation plans, what our kids and grandkids were up to, and so on, he re-directed the conversation to our medical school graduates, whom he lauded for being well-prepared for residency. He went on to indicate that they make excellent residents, and he was sure that they would continue to represent UND well for the rest of their careers in medicine.
If that were not nice enough, I just learned that Michael Storandt, a second-year medical student at UND, recently attended the Special Olympics USA Games as a coach of the Unified Flag Football team for North Dakota and was bestowed the honor of reciting the Coaches’ Oath during the Opening Ceremony. The ceremony was broadcast live on ABC, and the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash., was full of spectators and more than 4,000 athletes. “It was amazing, and kind of nerve-wracking,” he told UND Today about briefly leading the ceremony. “There’s 20-30,000 people staring back at you, but it was a cool opportunity.” Mr. Storandt has been a Special Olympics volunteer for the past seven years, although he would say that he isn’t volunteering but doing something he loves. The impact of his Special Olympics efforts extend into other aspects of his life—recently he gave a talk about how these experiences inform his approach to his medical training and how it has impacted his life. Impressive indeed, don’t you agree? And Mr. Storandt is just one example of the caliber and qualities of our students, albeit a truly outstanding one!
Finally, I’m very pleased to report that Dr. Casey Ryan of Altru Health System and a member of the State Board of Higher Education is recovering beautifully after a recent serious illness (I have Casey’s permission to discuss this). Casey was out jogging near his lake home with his nine year-old grandson when he suffered a major life-threatening cardiac event. Because of a number of fortuitous circumstances, he is now recovering at home and on the path to a full recovery. I know that you will join me in wishing Dr. Ryan all the best.
But his experience highlights a number of important messages. First of all, Casey is in superb shape, so the trauma of what he went through was in the setting of an otherwise very healthy individual. He watches what he eats, keeps his weight under control, doesn’t smoke, and exercises regularly—in fact, even when I was jogging frequently before back and knee problems slowed me down, I never could stay close to Casey when we jogged together! Second, it is important for all of us—lay public as well as medical professionals—to be well-versed in CPR. Third, we need to ensure that devices to shock the heart back into regular rhythm (called automatic external defibrillators or AEDs) are widely available. And finally, we must have a well-established system of cardiac care that makes sure patients are rapidly transported to hospitals that can provide appropriate state-of-the-art care around the clock. Fortunately, the state of North Dakota has such a system.
The important bottom-line message is that what we do inside hospitals is important, but what is done outside of the hospital walls often matters even more. And thanks to a good mixture of all of these ingredients, Casey is now on the road to a full recovery. How simply fantastic! All the best to Casey and his family.
Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Tass Wood is the new administrative assistant for the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Office of Administration and Finance. In this role, she will serve as an administrative support for Laura Block, Associate Dean for Administration and Finance/COO, and Susan Carlson, Associate Director of Records and Information Management. Prior to her current position, she worked as an administrative secretary at the Center for Innovation at UND. Tass lives in Grand Forks with her husband and two children.
At noon on Wednesday, July 25, Liise-anne Pirofski, MD, will give a Department of Biomedical Sciences COBRE Host-Pathogen mentor presentation entitled "Antibody therapy for pneumococcal pneumonia revisited." The presentation will be held in the SMHS Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (Room E101).
Dr. Pirofski is chief of the division of infectious diseases at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She received her BA from the University of California and her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She trained in Internal Medicine at Bellevue Hospital and NYU Medical Center, and in Infectious Diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, after which she did post-doctoral training at Einstein.
Dr. Pirofski is a physician-scientist whose research programs are focused on immunity to encapsulated microbes and have advanced understanding of vaccine and antibody immunity. She is a member of the American Association of Physicians and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is an editor of the journals mBio and Infection and Immunity, and has served on numerous advisory committees, task forces, and NIH study sections, including as chair, and was IDSA chair of the inaugural IDWeek meeting.
Dr. Pirofski is deeply devoted to biomedical education, mentoring, and teaching. She has received the American Society for Microbiology William Hinton Mentoring Award, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Faculty Mentoring Award, the Harry Eagle Award for Outstanding Basic Science Teaching at Einstein, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Alumni Association.
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.
After a short break this month, sessions will be held at the School from 10:40 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays from July 31 through August 30 on the East Patio, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, Zen in 10 will meet in the SMHS auditorium (E101).
Services provided by Kay Williams, Certified Yoga and Relax and Renew Instructor®.
On Friday, June 29, Michael Storandt, a second-year medical student at the SMHS, recited the Coaches' Oath in front of 30,000 people and a television audience of many more at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash.
Since coaching a youth basketball team in high school, the Moorhead, Minn., native has spent the past seven years working with the Special Olympics organization and its athletes. At UND, he’s been a trailblazer in developing competitions for the collegiate age group of athletes.
A full UND Today story on Micheal can be read here.
In a few short weeks, 53 physical therapy students, members of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Class of 2020, will start the clinical studies portion of their journey to become doctors of physical therapy at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The students received their white coats at the Entrance Into Professional Service Ceremony on Thursday, July 12, at the Alerus Center.
The students, 33 women and 20 men, range in age from 21 to 42 years, with the average age of 23. Many are from North Dakota, and most completed their pre-PT coursework at UND.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Dr. Philip Johnson, owner of Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists of Fargo, N.D. Dr. Johnson received his bachelor of science in physical therapy and Doctor of Medicine degrees from the University of North Dakota. He went on to complete a residency in orthopedic surgery at Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies in Michigan and a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Dr. Johnson is a member of multiple national and state medical societies and is currently the team physician for Team USA Hockey.
“The ceremony emphasized to the students the professionalism required in the clinic and within the physical therapy profession,” said David Relling, PT, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy.
After completing their first year of the professional component of the physical therapy curriculum, the students have to pass an intense, comprehensive examination of their knowledge before they begin their clinical studies. The first three years of the curriculum are considered to be pre-physical therapy (pre-professional). The professional component of the DPT requires three academic years and two summer sessions following completion of the 90-credit pre-physical therapy entrance requirement.
Clinical experiences are a crucial component of the UND physical therapy curriculum and take place at more than 300 clinical sites across the nation, the majority of which lie outside the Greater Grand Forks area. These experiences meld academic information with hands-on clinical experience. Students participate in direct delivery of physical therapy services in a variety of settings under the direction and supervision of one or more clinical instructors.
“Students are making the transition from being a student to being a health care professional,” Relling said. “With that transition comes a great deal of responsibility and accountability to themselves and to their patients. For many students, this will be the first life experience they will have had that requires such a high level of professionalism and responsibility. We have trained them well, they have worked hard, and we anticipate they will do a great job working within a comprehensive, interprofessional health-care team.”
The students and their hometowns are the following: