From The Dean

  • Friday, January 12, 2018
  • From The Dean

First, a couple of reminders about two upcoming events next week:

  • The next Java with Josh will be next Wednesday, January 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the Tello-Skjerseth Atrium (across from the departments of Family and Community Medicine and Population Health office suite). Please join me for a conversation about matters of interest regarding the School over a cup of coffee or tea. Faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend.
  • The very next day—Thursday, January 18—I will present the annual SMHS "State of the School Address" in the Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (Room E101). I would like to invite all faculty members to attend this Faculty Assembly, which will begin at 3:30 p.m. (CST) and will be broadcast to our campuses in Bismarck (Room 2108), Fargo (Room 219), and Minot (Northwest Campus Conference Room–Trinity Location) via videoconference.

I hope to see you at both events! But for those of you unable to attend the Faculty Assembly (either in person or virtually), I’ll post my presentation slides on our website following the talk and provide the URL in next week’s E-News column.

In February, I will be traveling to Chicago for the quarterly meeting of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the accrediting body for medical schools and medical school curricula. As a new member of the LCME (I’ve been a member of the LCME for under a year), I’m still learning about the LCME, but I continue to be impressed by the professionalism of its staff. The following month I’ll be chairing an LCME survey team visit to a major West Coast medical school. Both of these trips remind me that our next LCME accreditation visit is “only” four years away (likely in March 2022). But unlike our prior visits, we are not waiting until two years or so before the visit to start getting ready; rather, we have been preparing continuously since the last visit under the oversight of Steve Tinguely, MD, assistant dean for medical accreditation and chief medical accreditation officer. Our ongoing preparation undoubtedly will involve a final preparation push in 2021 and 2022, but should be much less arduous than previously. More importantly, the process of continuous quality improvement (CQI) has become an industry standard and best practice. And I’m proud to say that our School has implemented a process for CQI and preparation for our next accreditation visit. In fact, the LCME only recently adopted a requirement for CQI—but we’ve been doing it since our last accreditation visit in 2014.

Finally, I recently had the opportunity to meet with some people who are actively involved in efforts to deal with the opioid and substance abuse problem in the state, including our own Andy McLean, MD, clinical professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science; and Pam Gulleson, vice president for public affairs and government relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND). As you know, misuse and overdose of opioids have become a serious public health problem in North Dakota and throughout the United States. I was pleased to learn that the BCBSND Caring Foundation has partnered with Prairie Public Broadcasting, Bell Bank and Dakota Medical Foundation to produce a 30-minute documentary about how North Dakota is addressing this problem. The documentary spotlights not only some of the things North Dakotans, opioid users, affected families, health care professionals, educators, businesses, and community members need to know about the opioid epidemic, but, most importantly, how they can take action in helping solve the problem. Here is a link to the video documentary. As you will see, it is quite powerful and compelling. I urge you to view it soon.

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs

Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences