Friday, September 07, 2018

From The Dean

Friday, September 07, 2018

We had a nice turnout yesterday for Java with Josh on the Northeast (Grand Forks) campus. I updated the attendees on some of the recent developments at the School, many of which I’ve discussed in recent E-News columns. But more importantly, I was available to answer questions from faculty and staff. We hold these discussion groups periodically and have held them as well at the other regional campuses. And we are in the advanced planning stages of our “Quarter in Each Quarter” road trips, where a bunch of us will travel by van to visit one quarter of the state every quarter of the year. We plan to visit the anchor cities hosting our four campuses around the state (Grand Forks, Fargo, Bismarck, and Minot), but we’ll also be visiting smaller towns throughout each region of the state. Further details on our first trip are forthcoming in the next few weeks.

The other fun event yesterday was Joggin' with Josh, a 5k/10k/one-mile run/jog/walk around the neighborhood for all UND faculty, staff, students, and the Grand Forks community. Because of a second herniated disc in my back, I took a rain-check on running or even walking the course. I traveled around the course in UND's GEM car to encourage the participants, though. So for me it wasn’t Joggin' with Josh or even Walking with Wynne—it was more like Driving with the Dean! But it looked like all enjoyed the exercise.

Next Tuesday is another important day for us as we reconvene the UND SMHS Advisory Council. The most important item on the agenda will be a review of our budget request for the upcoming legislative session that starts in January. As I reported here previously, I outlined our three priorities recently to the Interim Higher Education Committee of the North Dakota Legislature. They are: to maintain a sufficient level of state appropriations so we can continue our important work and ensure the continued success of the Healthcare Workforce Initiative; to provide merit increases to high-performing faculty and staff as well as to those at the lowest end of the salary scale (since those individuals are most vulnerable to even the current low level of inflation); and to support UND’s Grand Challenges in research, especially the School’s initiative in clinical and translational research.

The idea behind our proposed Grand Challenge in the health arena is to build on the foundation provided by the recently awarded Clinical and Translational Research (CTR) grant. This award to Dr. Marc Basson, senior associate dean for Medicine and Research at the SMHS, seeks to form a network that will connect researchers and care providers throughout North and South Dakota so that they can better study (and then treat) various cancers. One of the largest (if not the largest) biomedical research grants ever awarded to UND, the CTR award will lead to the formation of the Dakota Cancer Collaborative on Translational Activity (DaCCoTA) that will use clinical research methods to study the link between cancer and the environment and pave the way to develop unique ways to combat cancer in the Dakotas. You can see Dr. Basson discussing the grant, which was awarded by the National Institutes of Health, here.  

We will build upon this success and the resources of the DaCCoTA network through the clinical and translational research Grand Challenge to study not only cancer but three other important health issues: opioid use disorder; virtual care delivery (including telemedicine), where clinical services are brought to the patient rather than requiring the patient to go to the clinic; and analysis (using machine language and artificial intelligence methods) of the large repository of health information that now is part of the electronic health record in an effort to learn more about predicting adverse health events in people before they occur so that we can intervene earlier.    

Finally, we are looking forward to Homecoming 2018, which is just two weeks away. In addition to the events sponsored through UND, the SMHS will host several other activities. First up on Friday Sept. 21 will be a Continuing Education Symposium focusing on infectious disease. Then we will direct tours of the SMHS building from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. that same day. Building tours will coincide with tours of the SMHS Simulation Center as part of second annual National Healthcare Simulation Week. And we’ll close out the day’s festivities with a Homecoming Banquet that will recognize in particular all SMHS milestone and biomedical sciences alumni. The event starts at 5 p.m. If you haven’t yet signed up for any of these activities, please contact Kristen Peterson if interested at 701.777.4305,, or via the RSVP form.

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

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Simulation Center Open House to be held on Friday, Sept. 21

The Simulation Center at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) will host an open house on Friday, September 21, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event, in which guests can participate in self-guided tours and experience simulation in action, is open to everyone.

Simulation, or the creation of realistic circumstances in order to teach skills and enhance competencies, is rapidly changing the face of healthcare education. For this reason, the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, of which the SMHS Simulation Center is a member, is sponsoring the second annual Healthcare Simulation Week, to be held September 17-21, 2018. The purpose of Healthcare Simulation Week is to raise awareness about the importance of healthcare simulation in improving performance and reducing errors in patient care.

The SMHS Simulation Center is a hands-on simulation training facility for multidisciplinary healthcare providers. The state-of-the-art space offers a clinical setting where healthcare professionals can actively apply their knowledge in simulation, observation, and debriefing of real-life patient scenarios, with the goal of improving patient safety and care. The innovative facility is the only one of its kind in North Dakota; its mission is to use interactive simulation in teaching, educating, and providing an arena for research in healthcare.

A Simulation In Motion-North Dakota (SIM-ND) mobile education unit—a custom built, 44 foot-long learning lab on wheels—will also be on-site for tours and to provide information regarding the SMHS state-wide simulation program. SIM-ND units bring simulation education to all third-year medical students training on SMHS campuses away from Grand Forks. Units also provide healthcare education to rural areas of North Dakota so emergency responders and other providers can upgrade their skills closer to home rather than leave their service area for training.

The open house will be held at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 1301 N. Columbia Rd. Simulation Center staff will be available to answer questions and provide an interactive experience during guests’ self-guided tours.

UND Homecoming 2018 events at the SMHS in September

UND's Homecoming 2018 (Sept. 17-22) will soon be here, and as always the SMHS is involved in many of the week's events. Unless otherwise noted, SMHS-related events will be held at the new SMHS building, 1301 N. Columbia Rd., Grand Forks, N.D. For more information on any of the days' events, contact Kristen Peterson at 701.777.4305 or To register for any of the following events, please visit the SMHS website here.

Continuing Education Symposium
Held in room W202 of the SMHS building from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, the Continuing Education Symposium will focus on Infectious Disease. Presenters include physicians from area health systems and SMHS faculty-researchers. Business attire is suggested.

New Building Tours
The Office of Alumni and Community Relations will provide tours of the new SMHS building from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21. Tours of the new facility start in the main floor lobby.

Simulation Center Tours
The Simulation Center at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) will host an open house on Friday, September 21, 2018, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The event, in which guests can participate in self-guided tours and experience simulation in action, is open to everyone. The open house will be held at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 1301 N. Columbia Rd. Simulation Center staff will be available to answer questions and provide an interactive experience during guests’ self-guided tours.

SMHS Banquet
An SMHS Homecoming banquet will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Grand Forks Hilton Garden Inn's Buchli/Bahl Banquet Room, located at 4301 James Ray Drive. Milestone and Biomedical Sciences alumni will be recognized at the event. Business attire is suggested.

2018 Homecoming/Potato Bowl Parade
And don't forget to attend the joint Homecoming/Potato Bowl parade, which starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. The parade route will again be in downtown Grand Forks.

16th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference at SMHS on Saturday, Oct. 20

The 16th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference (AIHRC) takes place Saturday, October 20, 2018, at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks. The conference offers opportunities to discuss research directions, partnerships, and collaboration in health research focusing on American Indians.

Rodney Haring, PhD, MSW, assistant professor of oncology in the Department of Cancer Health Disparities Research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, is the keynote speaker. Haring’s presentation will address Roswell Park’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Health Service (IHS) and how Roswell’s cancer research intersects with IHS outreach, student development, and patient care. Haring is a member of the Beaver Clan and an enrolled citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians based in western New York.

The 2018 AIHRC will also feature speakers from the: American Indian Cancer Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Indian Public Health Resource Center at North Dakota State University, and Minnesota Department of Human Services. Register online here.

Connected to this conference, nominations are now being accepted for the Dr. Alan J. Allery Health Research Award. This award is presented to two American Indian students, one graduate and one undergraduate, in recognition of conducting research dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Native Americans. The deadline to submit nominations is October 5.

Registration now open! NDMA/ACP combined annual meeting

The North Dakota Medical Association (NDMA) is collaborating with the North Dakota Chapter of the American College of Physicians (ACP) for a combined annual meeting on Friday, October 5, 2018, at the Bismarck Event Center. The combined effort allows both groups to share educational sessions and increase peer networking opportunities. Meeting details can be found in the NDMA or ACP brochures.

An annual poster competition associated with the meeting will be held at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo on October 3, 2018. All UND medical students and Internal Medicine residents are invited to participate. Poster abstracts will be due on September 14, 2018.

Register today with the NDMA (or with ACP for members).

We look forward to seeing you in Bismarck!


Zen in 10 in September

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 throughout September (except Sept. 13) on the East Patio, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, Zen in 10 will meet in the SMHS auditorium (E101).

Note: If we are indoors on Sept. 25, Zen in 10 will be held in the Tello-Skjerseth Atrium.

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

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UND Host-Pathogen Interactions CoBRE Symposium set for September 25

The Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE) for Host-Pathogen Interactions is inviting UND faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students to attend the Annual Host-Pathogen CoBRE Symposium to be held at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences on Tuesday, September 25, 2018. The Symposium will bring together experts investigating both microbial infectious agents and host responses to those infectious agents.

Confirmed Speakers for the event are:

In addition, investigators from the University of North Dakota will present their research related to infection and immunity in both oral and a poster sessions.

This event aims to promote interaction and collaboration among researchers in the area and provide opportunities for learning about cutting-edge tools, approaches, and resources to advance their research in broad areas of infection and inflammation.

Researchers investigating host-pathogen questions are encouraged to submit an abstract for poster presentation (to be held in the afternoon on Sept. 25) to Kim Dickman ( by Friday, August 31. Prior on-line registration is appreciated.

The Symposium will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Complimentary continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences is located at 1301 North Columbia Road in Grand Forks, N.D.

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.

Request for Applications: Great Plains IDeA-CTR Superstar Competition

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR network is excited to announce a funding opportunity: the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Superstar Competition.

The GP IDeA-CTR group is requesting a brief research pitch (2 pages maximum) to include: project title, principle investigator(s), participating institution(s), study aims, hypotheses, methods (brief overview of design, study sample, measures, budget and statistical analysis plan), one year deliverables, a statement addressing how the project advances CTR, and a lay summary. In addition, we ask that applicants provide a biosketch for PI and all key personnel.

The grant will be awarded at the GP IDeA-CTR Annual Scientific Meeting on October 10, 2018. Funding will be awarded to an innovative research project based on criteria delineated in the full application. 

The goal of this opportunity is to raise awareness of CTR by promising scholars who are developing innovative tools and methods for medical research. The winning investigator/team will receive a pilot grant award to catalyze cutting-edge research that may translate to a sustainable product or a larger federal grant. 

The winner will receive up to $20,000 for one year, and access to resources of the GP IDeA-CTR to support these research efforts.

The application deadline is September 24, 2018 (5 p.m.). For more information or to find a full application, see the GP IDeA-CTR website.

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