Friday, August 03, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, August 03, 2018

I was off for a few days last week attending AirVenture 2018, the largest aviation event in the world. Sponsored by the Experimental Aviation Association, the event draws some 700,000 participants over the course of a week. It is held in Oshkosh, Wis., and a visit is like a pilgrimage for pilots. One of the highlights of my time there was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. I was pleased and honored to be recognized at the event by Aerospace Dean Paul Lindseth.

Although the nation is facing a pilot shortage that is expected to get worse as many of the current generation of airline and other pilots retire, the dozens and dozens of young smiling faces around the room was proof that the Odegard School is doing its best to help ensure an adequate supply of expertly trained and highly motived pilots in the future. Congratulations to all our colleagues across campus at the Odegard School, and best wishes for the future. By the way, there will be additional activities to celebrate the Odegard School’s 50th anniversary at UND's Homecoming 2018 in September.

Over the summer, there have been two notable—and I’m sure much appreciated—developments regarding the new building. The first is the installation (where needed) of window shades, particularly for exterior-facing windows, in the building. Some areas were so flooded with sunlight that it was difficult to see computer screens or conduct video-conferencing. And a few offices simply were too warm. The shades are a welcome addition. But perhaps even more appreciated is the imminent completion of a new parking lot to the southwest of the new building. Previously a gravel lot that held overflow parking, the space has been upgraded to a more appropriate concrete and asphalt lot that will open just in time for the influx of students after the summer lull. It looks beautiful, especially compared with the old gravel lot on a rainy or snowy day.

And our efforts to increase the health care workforce for the state have been buttressed by a hot-off-the-press story in Medscape, a widely read website launched in 1995 that provides access to medical information for physicians and other clinicians. Medscape ranked each state in the country as far as desirability for physician practice. The assessment looked at both work-related factors like compensation and burn-out, and home life factors like quality of life, taxes, average life-span, and cost of living. Based on these and other factors, a ranking was created of the 25 best and the five worst states to practice in 2018. And take a guess as to which state came out on top as the most desirable state for physician practice in the entire U.S.? Yup—good ol’ North Dakota! Among the practice-related factors that were highlighted include excellent compensation, low malpractice and burnout rates, and high-quality health care overall. The non-work related factors cited included a high sense of personal well-being, low taxes, excellent educational opportunities, and very low unemployment overall.

Of note is our relatively low doctor “burnout” rate, which was characterized in the article as a sense of “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion.” It turns out that North Dakota has the fifth lowest burnout rate for physicians in the country; interestingly, all four of the states with even lower burnout rates also have significant rural (and even frontier) regions. And even though we have a relatively low physician burnout rate, it still is 33 percent, meaning that one in three of our physicians is struggling. Now that’s not like Kentucky, for example, where the rate is one in two, but it’s still something about which we (and others) are concerned. There are various programs around the state that are helping to address the burnout problem.

But the bottom line is that according to even outside observers North Dakota is the most desirable state in which to practice medicine. This fact buttresses the many ongoing efforts of the UND SMHS and other institutions to ensure an adequate health care workforce now and in the future for all regions of the state, urban and rural.

Finally, it was an absolute pleasure to wander through the summer undergraduate research poster session held yesterday at the School. Thirty undergraduates, many from UND, presented the results of the summer research they conducted in conjunction with their mentor scientists from the UND Department of Biology, the SMHS Departments of Pathology and Biomedical Sciences, and Cankdeska Cikana Community College. Topics included the role cadmium plays in cancer development, the gut microflora of honeybees, and the genetics of depression. Not only does this exceptional program serve as a “pipeline” program helping us recruit students from rural and tribal colleges for future participation in UND graduate research programs, but it helps us identify students who might make great future medical students. Thanks to all the faculty who helped make this event happen.

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

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Save the Date: American College of Physicians poster competition

The American College of Physicians North Dakota Chapter will hold its annual meeting in Bismarck, N.D., October 3-5, 2018. The annual poster competition associated with the meeting will be held at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo on October 3, 2018, and the main NDACP meeting will be at the Bismarck Event Center on Friday, October 5, 2018. All UND medical students and Internal Medicine residents are invited to participate. Abstracts for the poster competition will be due on September 14, 2018. Additional details about the competition will be available in August.

The meeting brochure can be found here.

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 at the SMHS 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®.

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Class of 2022 medical students to don white coats on Aug. 10

Seventy-seven first-year medical students, members of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Class of 2022, begin their journey next week to become physicians at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (UND SMHS).

Medical students’ first week is dedicated to orientation, including an introduction to UND’s nationally recognized, four-year, patient-centered curriculum where biomedical and clinical sciences are taught in the context of an interdisciplinary educational setting. Special emphasis is placed on students’ new roles and expectations of them as health professionals.

Orientation concludes with the White Coat Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 10 in the Alerus Center Ballroom, 1200 S. 42nd St., in Grand Forks where students receive their first white coats, the physician’s traditional garment, which have been donated by the North Dakota Medical Association. Students will also recite the Oath of Hippocrates, a vow physicians have been taking for more than 2,000 years to uphold basic ethical principles of the medical profession. Each student will receive a lapel pin, donated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, engraved with the phrase “Humanism in Medicine.”

Susan Zelewski, MD, assistant dean of the UND SMHS Northeast Campus in Grand Forks and a pediatrician with Altru Health System, will give the ceremony’s Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Lecture. Dr. Zelewski’s presentation is entitled “More than just pockets.”

“I am excited to be able to participate in this important day with our incoming medical students,” Dr. Zelewski noted. “This is a great opportunity for students to be able to start their clinical journey focusing on what the white coat truly means.”

After the ceremony, the School will host an indoor picnic for students, family, and friends at the Alerus Center.

The 38 women and 39 men, ranging in age from 21 to 37 years, come to medical school with experience in an array of fields and academic degrees, including: anthropology, athletic training, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, electrical engineering, forensics, genetics, kinesiology, microbiology, music, neuroscience, nursing, psychology, radiologic-tech, and zoology. Students’ undergraduate minors include Latin, agribusiness, marine biology, Spanish, German, botany, crop science, art, Scandinavian studies, math, wellness, and health care informatics.

Many students already hold advanced degrees, including master’s degrees in biomedical sciences, music, public health, nursing, and anatomical & translational sciences. Four students already hold doctoral degrees.

“The donning of the white coat symbolizes the very special social contract that exists between society and health care providers,” commented Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, vice president for health affairs at UND and dean of the UND SMHS. “Although much has changed in medicine since I was a medical student years ago, one thing that has not changed—thankfully—is that sacred relationship between doctor and patient. The white coat remains a tangible symbol of the trust that patients bestow in their doctors. And the White Coat Ceremony is a reminder that that trust must be earned—and re-earned—each and every day by every health care provider.”

MD Class of 2022 Names and Hometowns:

Ali Al Saegh, Fargo, N.D.

Eric Leveille, Marlette, Mich.

Haaris Ali, Fargo, N.D.

Jared Magnuson, Fargo, N.D.

Matthew Amundson, Grand Forks, N.D.

Xiaowei Malone, Shijiazhueng, China

Seth Arntz, Thompson, N.D.

Lalangi  Marasinghe, Grand Forks, N.D.

Tiffany Azzarello, Minot, N.D.

Erika Mojica, San Juan, Philippines

Jordan Barth, Bismarck, N.D.

Sean Montgomery, Fargo, N.D.

Ashley Bartlett, Sartell, Minn.

Jessica Mooberry-Carruth, Benson, Minn.

Sweta Boban, Bismarck, N.D.

Destiny Nguyen, Eyota, Minn.

Hayden Brodersen, Newfolden, Minn.

ThuyTien Nguyen, Bismarck, N.D.

Andrew Brown, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Edmond Njua, Bamenda, Cameroon

Christopher Brown, Bismarck, N.D.

RaMae Norton, Minto, N.D.

Andrew Carman, Bismarck, N.D.

Marcus Osman, Fargo, N.D.

Celeste Colegrove, Wasilla, Alaska

Andrew Pasek, Billings, Mont.

Bradley Conant, Fargo, N.D.

Tanner Piper, Grand Forks, N.D.

Margarita Consing, Grand Forks, N.D.

Sarah Pippin, Williston, N.D.

Marcus Cooley, Provo, Utah

Zachary Podoll, Velva, N.D.

Allison Cregg, Hoyt Lakes, Minn.

Austin Promersberger, Fargo, N.D.

Hannah Drazenovich, Maple Grove, Minn.

Sarah Rasmussen, Hazen, N.D.

Jesse Ewaldt, Minnetonka, Minn.

Anna Reinholz, Fargo, N.D.

Emily Falcon, Belcourt, N.D.

Ann Renner, Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Kemin Fena, Duluth, Minn.

Lynn Reynolds, Dillon, Mont.

Mikayla Forness, West Fargo, N.D.

Casey Ricker, Hickson, N.D.

Bethany Freeland, Mayville, N.D.

Nora Rimatzki, Minot, N.D.

Casey Fugleberg, Grand Forks, N.D.

Joshua Robak, St. Cloud. Minn.

Ashley Gao, Fargo, N.D.

Mitchell Sand, Andover, Minn.

Kirsten Hager, Roseau, Minn.

Anne Sandstrom, Bismarck, N.D.

Donald Hamm, Power, Mont.

Jared Schommer, Munich, N.D.

Veronica Harrison, Mesa, Ariz.

Nolan Schwarz, Bismarck, N.D.

Alexandra Hopkins, Bismarck, N.D.

Rachel Silkey, Dickinson, N.D.

Hunter Huff Towle, Bismarck, N.D.

Tanner Simonson, Crosby, N.D.

Abby Jessell, Stillwater, Okla.

Signe Thorpe, Eau Claire, Wisc.

Katrina Johnson, St. Joseph, Minn.

McKenzie Titus, Fargo, N.D.

Mariah Jorda, Dickinson, N.D.

Daniel Todorovic, Grand Forks, N.D.

Luke Keller, Bismarck, N.D.

Ryan Toledo, Silver Spring, Md.

Adam Kemp, Williston, N.D.

Kalisi Uluave, St. George, Utah

Matthew Kretschmar, Ashley, N.D.

Makayla VanDerostyne, Canby, Minn.

Christina Krieger, Galesburg, N.D.

Jonah Warwick, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Samantha Lambert, Cody, Wyo.

Abby Wilmer, Warroad, Minn.

Francis Landman, Fargo, N.D.










Second MPH student awarded a stipend from Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center

Another University of North Dakota Master of Public Health student has been awarded a stipend from the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center for a project she will complete this summer.

Second-year MPH student Alison Traynor will receive a stipend of $1,500 that supports field placements and collaborative learning projects. Traynor is among 20 students from several other colleges in the region selected for project proposals that address rural, medically underserved, and/or disadvantaged communities.

For her project, Traynor, a native of Bismarck, N.D., and the Suicide Prevention Program Director at North Dakota Department of Health, is pursuing a project entitled “North Dakota Suicide Prevention – Capacity Building Project.” Traynor’s project goals include: “[1] Analyze available ND Healthcare or community-level data to better understand the nature of suicide-related behaviors and death in North Dakota; [2] Build and facilitate ND Suicide Prevention Coalition working groups across ND to address six core projects identified through the strategic planning process and surveys; and [3] Develop and implement evidence-informed and culturally competent YouTube videos that inspire hope, suicide prevention, and intervention.”

The Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center (RM-PHTC) is one of 10 regional Public Health Training Centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the regional PHTC Program is to improve the nation’s health system by strengthening the technical, scientific, and managerial and leadership competencies of the public health workforce. The RM-PHTC serves the six states of Health and Human Services Region VIII: Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The four legislative requirements of the PHTCs are to (1) establish or strengthen field placements for students; (2) facilitate faculty and student collaborative projects; (3) designate a geographic area to be served; and (4) assess health personnel needs of the area to be served and develop training to meet such needs.

Sim Center and Sports Medicine teams partner with Altru for on-site simulation with Fellowship residents

On Friday, July 20, the UND SMHS Simulation Center partnered with the Department of Sports Medicine for on-site simulation with the Sports Medicine Fellowship residents from Altru Health System. Four scenarios were set up at UND's Athletics High Performance Center. Learners took part in situations involving a dislocated knee, heat stroke, head injury, and use of different backboards for various sports/athletes.

To see photos of the simulation, check out the UND SMHS Simulation Center facebook album. Or click here to watch a recap of the day.

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New Great Plains IDeA-CTR funding opportunity

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network is pleased to announce an opportunity for pilot funding through an NIH/NIGMS grant for clinical and translational research.

The network is requesting a Letter of Intent (maximum of two pages) for research proposals due Friday Sept. 7, 2018. For more information at on the specifics of the LOI, contact Jonathan Geiger ( or Bonnie Kee (

Those invited to submit full applications will be notified by September 28, 2018. Solicited applications will be due November 16, 2018. The requirements for invitees are detailed below. Please email your LOI and NIH biosketch as a single PDF document to the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Office at If you have any questions, contact Heather Braddock at or 402.559.9870.

GP IDeA-CTR research priority areas are:

  • Behavioral health including, mental health, substance abuse (e.g., opioids and alcohol), and violence as a public health issue
  • Obesity treatment and prevention
  • Aging and Age-related cognitive impairment
  • Injury prevention
  • Technologies and models to improve health access including the evaluation of new or existing tools (e.g., telehealth) with a focus on rural populations
  • Connecting clinical care and community services (e.g., schools, food banks, YMCA’s)
  • Addressing health disparities based on social determinants, race, ethnicity, and geography

Highest priority will be given to the strongest science and those projects most likely to lead to successful extramural funding. In addition, projects that make an impact on medically disadvantaged, underrepresented minority, and/or geographically or clinically isolated populations—and can introduce or evaluate new tools or technologies useful in these populations—are of high interest.

Interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches: To increase the likelihood of a strong scientific proposal, applicants are encouraged to engage in new or existing interdisciplinary collaborations, inter-institution proposals, and to develop links to other existing IDeA programs (INBRE and COBRE) in the participating Great Plains region.


  • Current full-time faculty appointment at a participating institution
  • Eligible to apply for NIH funds (i.e. US citizen or a permanent resident)
  • Has a focus on relevant clinical, clinical-translational, or community-translational research
  • GP IDeA-CTR faculty with pilot funding with projects that are competitive and have demonstrated good progress on the current award are eligible
  • Note: You are not eligible if you currently have funding from any IDeA-CTR program

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR (GP IDeA-CTR) is a collaboration of 8 eligible institutions which include: Boys Town National Research Hospital, North Dakota State University, University of Nebraska Kearney, University of Nebraska Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska Omaha, University of North Dakota, and University of South Dakota.

The goal of the Pilot Program is to provide support to the most promising and novel clinical and translational research (CTR) projects, and help investigators obtain preliminary data necessary for successful investigator-initiated extramural grants. Successful applicants will receive up to $50,000 in direct costs for a one year project, as well as access to resources of the GP IDeA-CTR to support their research efforts.

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