UND commencement last weekend went off without a hitch, thanks to the hard work, care, and attention to detail by a variety of staff and faculty members—especially those in the Office of the Dean. I attended ten different graduation-related events between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon—UND graduate degree graduation; UND undergraduate degree graduation; medical student graduation and awards brunch; physical therapy and physician assistant hooding ceremonies; receptions for graduating master of public health, occupational therapy, and medical laboratory science students; and the President’s Commencement Luncheon. Susan was able to attend some of the events with me, but she had to miss others due to her clinical responsibilities—I’m not the only cardiologist in our family!
At the medical student awards brunch and at commencement on Sunday, we thanked and honored several volunteer clinical faculty who generously donate their time and experience to help educate our students. Here is a list of the faculty so honored; if you know any of them or are under their care, please tell them “thank you” for us. We wouldn’t be able to educate our students without their help and support, and we are deeply appreciative. This is why recognizing and thanking them in person at the brunch and commencement was a real privilege for us. By the way, we also recognize their efforts by running ads in their local newspapers with our thanks. And the commencement speaker at graduation, Dr. Ralph Levitt—who was selected by the graduating medical students—did a marvelous job, entertaining us all with stories of his past experiences with real patients that explored with sensitivity and insight the often-complicated doctor-patient relationship.
UND had several other noteworthy events this past week; on Wednesday, we welcomed two new individuals to UND. Associate Dean for Administration and Finance Laura Block and I spent some time with UND’s new Vice President for Finance and Operations (VPFO) Jed Shivers during his first day on campus. And on the same day, the school welcomed Donald Warne, MD, our new Director of the Indians into Medicine program and the inaugural Associate Dean for Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity. You may recall that I outlined Dr. Warne’s background and responsibilities here at UND in my E-News column a few weeks ago.
Our meeting with Jed was quite positive, and we even had time for a quick tour of the new building. In case you're wondering, outgoing VPFO Alice Brekke will continue to serve UND until mid-August, when her retirement starts, although no longer as the VPFO. This degree of overlap between the outgoing and incoming VPFOs is very desirable, given the challenges of preparing budgets for the upcoming legislative session, optimizing operations throughout the university, and assisting academic units in their compliance with the MIRA budgeting process (MIRA is the acronym we use for the Model of Incentive-based Resource Allocation).
Finally, a brief update on our continuous quality improvement efforts regarding the medical student curriculum and program. As you may recall, we maintain a fully-accredited status from our accreditation body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), and our next review will not occur for another four years. Nevertheless, we have established a process of constant and recurring attention to and assessment of our compliance with each of the 12 standards (and the 93 sub-standards called “elements”). Under the overall leadership of Chief Medical Accreditation Officer Steven Tinguely, MD, the School systematically reviews our compliance with all of the elements and standards. And just to make sure that we aren’t missing anything, we arranged for a visit next month by Kevin Dorsey, MD, the recently retired dean of the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine. Why Kevin? Because during his tenure as Dean at SIU, the School received two consecutive citation-free LCME accreditation visits—that is, not one citation over sixteen years! That accomplishment is virtually unprecedented, so we are looking forward to Dr. Dorsey’s visit as we try to replicate—or at least come close to—his outstanding track record.
Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
UND Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences