May 27, 2016

Envision 2030, the meeting I mentioned in last week’s E-News that is intended to help shape the strategic direction of the North Dakota University System (NDUS) over the next decade and a half (hence the name), took place in Bismarck this past Monday. The preliminary, draft summary slides of the meeting may be found here. I was paired with my colleague Dr. Charles Peterson, dean of the College of Health Professions at North Dakota State University, as the content experts for our breakout session on healthcare. The assembled group was asked to come up with a series of three-year, five-year and 30-year recommendations for the NDUS; we primarily focused on three- and five-year planning, and I was quite pleased with our final list of suggestions. Perhaps most important of all was the recommendation to fully implement all of the provisions of the Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) within the short term (that is, within three years). As you know from my prior columns, the SMHS Advisory Council voted to suspend the funding of the two approved but not yet accredited new residency programs (family medicine based at Sanford Fargo and geriatrics based at Sanford) because of the current budget crunch. Also on the recommendation list were the following laudable suggestions:

Three Years

  • Expand the RuralMed Scholarship Program to include students from the health sciences professions.
  • Create a cross-functional cross-institutional healthcare workforce taskforce.
  • Coordinate health workforce pipeline activities.

Five Years

  • Reduce American Indian health disparities through increases in American Indian healthcare professional opportunities.
  • Increase interprofessional healthcare teams.
  • Expand telehealth.

Thirty Years

  • Develop interprofessional healthcare rural training centers.

I was especially pleased to see that almost all of our group’s suggestions were actionable items rather than simply pie-in-the-sky aspirations. As Rep. Bob Martinson from Bismarck emphasized, for Envision 2030 to be viewed as having been successful, we will need, in his words, to “do something.” I think that our list gives us plenty to do, and I anticipate that most or all of the items on our list will be subsequently endorsed and supported by the NDUS during its June strategic planning session. I will be sure to provide an update after that meeting.

The move into the new building seems to be progressing smoothly. As of today, the following units have completed the move; they are grouped by function:


  • Office of the Dean
  • Office of Administration and Finance
  • Office of Education and Faculty Affairs

Clinical departments

  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry and Behavioral Science
  • Surgery


  • Continuing Medical Education
  • Indians Into Medicine Program (INMED)
  • Northeast Campus (Grand Forks)

The Center for Rural Health is on the docket for moving next week. We anticipate that most units will be repositioned into the new building by mid-July so that classes can begin as planned in early August.

I’m looking forward to the retreat for the medical student curriculum that will be held a week from today. This is an annual event where the faculty and administration look critically at our medical curriculum, make appropriate adjustments and changes, and plan for the future. Coming just after the recent successful completion of the School’s medical curriculum accreditation review, it will be a most appropriate time to optimize the educational experiences of our medical students. I’m looking forward to attending, and hope that you can make it too!

Finally, I’m extremely pleased that the talented faculty at the School have garnered yet another highly competitive large grant. The National Institutes of Health just awarded a $10.7 million grant to a group of scientists based at the SMHS to dig deeper into the many questions surrounding infectious agents. The five-year grant is named “Center for Excellence in Host–Pathogen Interactions.” The principal investigators are David Bradley, Malak Kotb, and Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Brij Singh. The grant is one of several COBRE (pronounced "KOH-bree") grants awarded recently (COBRE is an acronym for Center of Biomedical Research Excellence). The School currently boasts two other COBREs, one under the leadership of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Roxanne Vaughan (studying epigenetics), and the other under the leadership of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Jonathan Geiger (studying neurodegenerative diseases), all in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Profound congratulations to all of the faculty members involved in all of the COBREs! This grant further extends the already impressive biomedical research portfolio of UND and the SMHS, and will further increase the already all-time record level of sponsored (externally funded) research activity at the School. As you may recall from an earlier E-News column, during the prior year the SMHS had its highest level of funding ever; this new award will push the level even higher. Well done! 

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


Recent Educational Policies to Review

Cultural Diversity Tuition Waiver

View all of the School's Policies and Procedures.

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Naomi Bender

     Project Coordinator

Naomi Bender is transferring from INMED to become a project coordinator in the Center for Rural Health, effective June 1. Her supervisor will be Jacque Gray. 

Stephanie Flyger

     Project Coordinator

Stephanie Flyger will begin employment on July 1 as a project coordinator for SHaPE at the North Dakota Simulation, Teaching, and Research Center (ND STAR). SHaPE stands for Supplemental History and Physical Enrichment for third-year medical students. Her supervisor is Amy Malheim.

Madhur Shetty

     Animal Laboratory Technician

Madhur Shetty will begin employment on June 1 as an animal laboratory technician in Biomedical Sciences. His supervisor is Dr. Keith Henry.

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Movement Disorder Review Course is June 4

The University of Kansas Medical Center Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center is sponsoring a review course in movement disorders from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, at the Radisson Hotel, 201 North 5th Street, Fargo, ND. The speakers are leading experts in the field.  

This program is designed for physicians in practice and training as well as other healthcare professionals caring for persons with movement disorders.


Advanced registration is requested. Fees include course materials, continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments, and a syllabus.

  • Physicians...$100
  • Nonphysician healthcare professionals...$50
  • Professionals in training, including residents, fellows, and students...$25

Please note: Residents and students can register for free by contacting Kelly Lyons

There will be no refunds made for this course.

The KU Medical Center Office of Continuing Medical Education designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Other health professionals will receive a certificate of attendance for documentation.

For more information and a registration form, please see the conference brochure.

Kelly Lyons, PhD
Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Center

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Goldade presents at Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting

Second-year medical student Mari Goldade, a native of Williston, N.Dak, presented a poster on May 3 at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Baltimore, Md. Goldade presented along with her coauthor and mentor Kiran Dwarakanath, MD, a neonatologist at Altru Health System in Grand Forks. Goldade received partial support for her travel to the convention from the School's Office of Student Affairs and Admissions, the SMHS MD Class of 2018, and the UND Research Development and Compliance office.

The title of the poster was “90% Reduction of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Neonates of 32 Weeks Gestational Age or Less.” Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a life-threatening illness that occurs in neonates. Dwarakanath and his colleagues changed their protocol in 2012 to maintain oxygen saturations of the neonates at a higher range and noted an anecdotal finding of a decrease in rates of NEC. Goldade and Dwarakanath conducted a retrospective cohort study by reviewing the medical records from 121 patients who were admitted to Altru’s NICU in Grand Forks between 2010 and 2015 who were 32 weeks gestational age at birth or less. The results confirmed the finding of a 90 percent reduction in NEC rates after the oxygen ranges were changed. The study was conducted as part of the Research Experience for Medical Students program at the SMHS, which Goldade participated in during the summer of 2015.

Goldade, a member of the MD Class of 2018, will begin her third-year clinical rotations in Fargo in July. 

Flom-Meland reelected as cochair of APTA Clinical Education Special Interest Group

Cindy Flom-Meland, PT, MPT, PhD, NCS, associate professor and director of clinical education in the Department of Physical Therapy, has been reelected as cochair of the Clinical Education Special Interest Group (CESIG) in the Education Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.

The CESIG serves as a resource and forum for individuals who have a professional concern for the coordination, implementation, and evaluation of clinical education for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The CESIG has created a significant and lasting relationship between members of academic programs and clinical facilities in addressing needs of clinical education from both of these perspectives.

"Reelection as cochair of the CESIG affirms the substantial contributions that Dr. Flom-Meland has provided to the CESIG during her first term," said David Relling, PT, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. "Members of the CESIG frequently stop me at meetings and describe the dedication and hard work that Cindy provides to the group. Cindy's leadership position in the CESIG is a great honor for her and provides a national perspective to the clinical education component of the School's professional physical therapy program."

Writing in Medicine: A Student Group Steps in Stride with Physician-Writers

Physicians who retreat to a writer’s identity confront the challenges of their work with an investigative eye. Writing allows physicians to extend their problem-solving nature to benefit the public through education and entertainment, while relieving their spirits of the difficulties of doctoring.

The University of North Dakota’s Writers Conference has welcomed physician-writers since its initiation in 1970. This year’s event welcomed Dr. Frank Huyler, an accomplished writer and emergency medicine physician, who led the Conference’s Craft Talk workshop. Having previously taught at writing conferences and the University of New Mexico’s MFA program, Dr. Huyler has said that being a doctor is “the best day job that a writer can have.”

The Craft Talk included a discussion with other community writers, from the professional to the recreational, about character creation, story propulsion, voice, perspectives, structure, and the process of editing. Dr. Huyler said that, “Intelligent faculty is different from the creative faculty.” The creative forces that build the visceral quality of storytelling and create story propulsion come through when the writer plunges for the story, setting aside criticalness until finished with a draft.

Dr. Huyler’s published works include The Blood of Strangers, a collection of vignettes on medical encounters from medical school to beyond. The writing challenges television’s stereotypical emergency medicine scenes with the authentic focus on the patient-physician relationship, drawing out an honest perspective that is hidden in drama.

Past physician-writers who have participated in the Writers Conference include internist and prominent poet Rafael Campo and neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of many award-winning books, including, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales. A full list of past participants at the UND Writers Conference may be found at Past Authors A to Z.

Drawing inspiration from this tradition, the School of Medicine and Health Science’s new Writing in Medicine Interest Group extends the benefits of medical writing to the student body. The organization aims to provide an outlet for medical students’ writing and creative work through the School’s quarterly magazine North Dakota Medicine and cultivate discussions on medical fiction and nonfiction. Student work will be published starting in the 2016–2017 holiday issue. 

Houda Abdelrahman, MS II
Class of 2019

"Mind Your Risks and Act FAST to Prevent and Treat Strokes"—CDC Grand Rounds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Public Health Grand Rounds is a monthly webcast created to foster discussion on major public health issues. Each session focuses on key challenges related to a specific health topic, and explores the latest scientific evidence and the potential effect of different interventions. The Grand Rounds sessions also highlight how the CDC and its partners are already addressing these challenges and discuss the recommendations for future research and practice. May's presentation is "Mind Your Risks and Act FAST to Prevent and Treat Strokes." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Move-in day

On our Facebook page, view media coverage of move-in day at the new SMHS building.

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about colon cancer screening and about heart valve replacement in his latest Health Matters column, which can be found in the Grand Forks Herald every other Monday. Please submit any general health-related questions to

You can also get the latest SMHS news by following the School on Twitter

University Letter—New video features commencement highlights

The University held its 128th General Commencement on May 14, 2016, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. A highlights video is available here.

More information about this and other UND news can be found in the University Letter. Published on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is distributed electronically to the University community and is always available online. For more information, contact editor Jan Orvik at (701) 777-3621.

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U.S. death investigators pursue courses through Department of Pathology

Working as the eyes and ears for forensic pathologists, death investigators require special training to reconstruct accident or crime scenes. The Department of Pathology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, along with the Office of Extended Learning, offer a series of online, enroll-anytime courses designed to train a wide variety of candidates. In September 2010, the National Institute of Justice awarded a five-year, just under $1 million grant to the Department of Pathology to develop and deliver the courses. The original goal of the NIJ grant was for UND instructors to reach 1,000 to 2,000 online participants. Although this grant is completed, during the grant, UND had over 15,000 registrations from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, several U.S. territories, and 46 countries, from Antigua to Zambia.

The six courses were expanded and modernized and are now offered through the Office of Extended Learning. They are designed for physicians, rural coroners, aspiring candidates for employment and certification as a death investigator, EMS/first responders, law enforcement, nurses, physician assistant students, other forensic scientists, morticians, and full-time ABMDI death investigators. ABMDI is the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, a voluntary national, not-for-profit, independent, professional certification board that has been established to promote the highest standards of practice for medicolegal death investigators.

In addition to the ABMDI, the courses are approved by the Minnesota Department of Health—Mortuary Science Program, North Dakota Board of Nursing, and meet the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) for Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Tennessee. UND instructors developed the courses based on national principles established by the NIJ, which is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The NIJ recognizes that UND and its forensic pathology professionals possess the expertise, professional standards, and resources that are essential to impart a high-quality education. UND’s Forensic Pathology Facility has earned full accreditation from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). NAME is the national professional organization of physician medical examiners, medical death investigators, and death investigation system administrators who perform the official duties of the medicolegal investigation of deaths of public interest in the United States. NAME is recognized as the premier professional organization of forensic pathologists and death investigators.

UND’s facility is the first to achieve NAME accreditation in North Dakota and South Dakota; it is the sole accredited forensic pathology provider between Minneapolis, Minn., and Spokane, Wash.

UND SMHS professionals at the facility perform full medicolegal death investigations and forensic autopsies for Grand Forks County and eight counties in northwestern Minnesota: Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. In addition, they serve as consultants to North Dakota coroners and perform forensic autopsies for 21 counties in North Dakota.

“We have a great team serving death investigators across the nation,” said Mary Ann Sens, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at the UND SMHS, and past president of NAME. “Everyone, every family, every community needs sympathetic, professional, and high-quality death investigation done with respect, honesty, and completeness. Our justice system, public health system, and families all depend on timely and professional investigations done with integrity and respect.”

Associate Professor and Assistant Medical Examiner Walter Kemp, MD, PhD, leads UND’s effort in teaching the courses. The expertise of Kemp and Sens is bolstered by Associate Professor and Assistant Medical Examiner Mark Koponen, MD, and Assistant Professor and Assistant Medical Examiner Sarah Meyers, MD.

In addition to supporting law enforcement and other agencies, UND trains investigators to recognize issues that affect public health and occupational safety. In particular, UND has made a commitment to train rural and frontier investigators who face a unique set of challenges that their urban counterparts don’t face. Most importantly, students are taught the critical skills professional death investigators need to serve victims’ families at a time of need, personal loss, and tragedy.

“This training is key for all first responders and those charged with the responsibility of death scene response,” Sens said. “With this training, we can ensure the highest standard is met for all North Dakotans and others who need their questions answered and their medicolegal needs met while respecting and informing family members in a time of crisis and loss.”

If you would like more information or to register for Death Investigation Training, please visit the UND Office of Extended Learning’s website

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards UND $10.7 million

New federal COBRE grant recognizes UND’s biomedical science capabilities

Recognizing the already notable reputation of University of North Dakota’s biomedical research enterprise, the federal government just authorized a $10.7 million grant to a group of scientists based at UND’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) to dig deeper into the many questions surrounding infectious agents.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services five-year grant is named “Center for Excellence in Host–Pathogen Interactions.” The named principal investigators are David Bradley, Malak Kotb, and Brij Singh (in photo), all of the SMHS. The grant is one of several so-called COBRE grants awarded recently. COBRE is an acronym for Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence.

“The objective of this COBRE grant is to gain further understanding of devastating infectious diseases including lung infections, neuro-inflammation and parasitic diseases,” said Singh, a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the SMHS.

Five other SMHS scientists will work collaboratively on this COBRE research program (in alphabetical order): Catherine Brissette, Xuesong Chen, Bibhuti Mishra, Jyotika Sharma, and Min Wu.

Students are also an important part of this grant as several will be working alongside each of the SMHS scientists named.

Level playing field

The COBRE program was designed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cultivate research expertise among junior faculty and strengthen the research infrastructure of states that do not receive as much NIH funding as some larger states.

“This COBRE award complements the two other COBRE grants currently active at UND and the SMHS, and will be a powerful engine to speed the development of further discoveries that can be applied at the bedside to help patients with infectious disease,” said Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the SMHS. “We are extremely proud of all of our faculty members who are part of this wonderful award.”

“This is a major coup for UND and a clear testament to the confidence that the Department of Health and Human Services has in our research capabilities,” said Grant McGimpsey, UND vice president of research and economic development.

“This also shows the high-impact research that is done by investigators at the School of Medicine and UND,” Singh said.

This COBRE follows two others recently renewed for research projects at UND’s SMHS:

COBRE Center for Neurodegenerative Disorder Research, $26 million
COBRE Epigenetics Bioinformatics Core, $10.7 million

Legacy of funding

In 2002, the UND SMHS received a $10.4-million, five-year award from the NIH to establish a nationally recognized COBRE.

That grant was renewed in 2007 for another five years at $10.1 million, and in 2012 for another five years at $5.1 million.

UND’s COBRE funding supports collaborative projects promoting research opportunities for biomedical investigators in North Dakota. These projects offer broad potential for understanding and treating pathophysiological and neurodegenerative diseases, and also provided funds to establish imaging and mass spectrometry facilities.

Additionally, the UND SMHS has received an “INBRE” grant—also recently renewed—for $13 million. It’s the NIH’s IDeA program, an effort to expand North Dakota’s research foundation by funding basic, clinical, and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.

In total, the UND SMHS biomedical research enterprise has current COBRE and INBRE grants totaling close to $45 million.

Juan Miguel Pedraza, Writer/Editor
Division of University & Public Affairs

USDA GF Human Nutrition Research Center seeks study participants

The United States Department of Agriculture Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center is seeking participants for three research studies.

  • Whole Egg Intake and the Mediterranean Diet
    This study will evaluate the daily intake of whole eggs in the Mediterranean Diet. We are looking for men and women ages 20–75 to test how the addition of eggs to this diet affects blood lipids and other risk markers for cardiovascular disease. You may be compensated as much as $858.
  • Fish for HEALTH! 
    The purpose of this study is to determine whether eating rainbow trout with different omega-3 levels reduces heart disease risk markers. Receive up to $500 for completing the study.
  • Acute Effects of Fats on Satiety & Energy Needs
    We are looking for female participants to join our study to assess how dietary fat affects
    energy metabolism and feelings of fullness after eating. Receive up to $530, or a 13-month
    individual membership, or a nine-month family membership at Choice Health & Fitness, to be
    paid at the conclusion of the study.

For more information, contact Vanessa Thyne, Biological Laboratory Technician, Dietary Prevention of Disease Research Unit, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, (701) 795-8493.

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Library of the Health Sciences hours for Memorial Day holiday

Library of the Health Sciences hours for Friday, May 27, through Tuesday, May 31, are the following:    

  • Friday, May 27—8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 28—Closed
  • Sunday, May 29—Closed
  • Monday, May 30, Memorial Day—Closed
  • Tuesday, May 31—8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.   

If you have any questions, please contact Kelly Thormodson (701) 777-4129.

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