September 23, 2016

I hope that you had a chance to attend yesterday’s kickoff of the 2016–17 Dean’s Hour program that featured Dr. Donald Hensrud, associate professor of preventive medicine and nutrition at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Dr. Hensrud’s topic was “Innovations in Healthy Living,” and he spoke about the simple things we all could do to lead healthier lives. His clinical work and research have focused on how healthy lifestyle habits in nutrition, physical activity, and other areas can decrease the risk of developing diseases, improve weight management, and enhance the quality of life. Dr. Hensrud has authored or coauthored more than 60 academic articles and more than 20 book chapters and books. If you didn’t have a chance to attend in person or virtually, the presentation is available here.

I hope to build on the successful start of the Dean’s Hour program yesterday by presenting a discussion at next week’s Dean’s Hour on “Healthcare Financing.” In this era of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), how we pay for healthcare through insurance and other mechanisms is important to all of us. As a cardiologist who still sees patients in the clinic, I have been involved in the clinical side of medicine for my entire medical career. But it wasn’t until I completed a Master of Public Health degree about 15 years ago that I became more fully aware of the major importance of health system management and policy. So I hope that you can join me Thursday, Sept. 29 at noon in the Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (Room E101) in the new building for lunch and my presentation during the next installment of Dean’s Hour. I think that the presentation will be of interest not only to all health professions students but indeed to all interested students, faculty, and staff on campus. After all, we all participate in the healthcare delivery system either as providers or patients. I’m looking forward to it, and hope that you can join me for the discussion.

And after Dean’s Hour, why don’t you put into practice some of the concepts that Dr. Hensrud discussed yesterday by participating in the rescheduled Joggin’ with Josh event? As you may recall, we decided to reschedule the event two weeks ago because of inclement weather. So come on out for a 5K or 10K run, walk, jog, or crawl with me and other friends from the UND and Grand Forks community. We’ll assemble in the new building at 4 p.m. on Sept. 29 and then start out on the course around the neighborhood at 4:30 p.m. We’ll have a nifty T-shirt for participants, and refreshments along the course and at the finish line. I hope to see you there. Maybe some of our friends from the State Board of Higher Education and the North Dakota University System will be able to join us as well. We will be welcoming the SBHE to UND and the new building for their next meeting that will take place that same day. Here’s hoping that the schedule allows them to join us.

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


Recent Educational Policies to Review

Standards of Capacity (for medical students)

View all of the School's Policies and Procedures.

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Doctoral examination for Jamie Van Gieson is September 29

The doctoral examination for Jamie Van Gieson, a candidate for the PhD degree with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Biomedical Sciences, is set for 10 a.m. on September 29 in Room E224 at the SMHS in Grand Forks. Her dissertation title is "The Impact of Anterior Gradient 2 (AGR2) Expression in Models of Arsenite and Cadmium Induced Breast and Bladder Cancers."

Seema Somji, PhD, is the committee chair.

The public is invited to attend.

—Grant McGimpsey, Dean, School of Graduate Studies

Joggin’ with Josh rescheduled for September 29

Please note: Because of forecast inclement weather, Joggin' with Josh has been rescheduled to September 29.

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, University of North Dakota vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, invites the community and all students, faculty, and staff at the School and the University to advocate healthful lifestyles by joining him for Joggin' with Josh, an informal 5K or 10K walk, jog, or run on Thursday, September 29. This is a free public event. Everyone is welcome to participate, so please bring your family and friends.

A sign-up table will be in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences' East Atrium; sign-up and T-shirt pickup starts at 4 p.m. The dean will speak to the group before the event, which starts at 4:30 p.m. To get a head start on your fellow participants, please complete the sign-up form and bring it with you to the SMHS. Forms will also be available in the East Atrium before the event. 

Walkers, joggers, and runners are asked to gather on the patio outside the East Atrium before taking off on a route along the outskirts of campus. A water station will be located at the halfway point of the 5K, and water and healthful snacks will be available after the event.

David Sande Memorial Golf Scramble is September 30

You are invited to play in a charity golf scramble to be held Friday, September 30, at Valley Golf Course in East Grand Forks.

This lighthearted scramble is held in memory of David Sande, longtime Grand Forks oral surgeon. Proceeds go toward the Valley Community Health Center’s Grand Forks dental clinic. Cost is $75 per individual and $300 for a team of four. Hole sponsorships are also available for $100.

To register, contact Ann Sande at or call (701) 213-5296.

Jurivich will present at NPCAD on October 19

Eva L. Gilbertson, MD, Distinguished Chair of Geriatrics Donald Jurivich, DO, will be a speaker at the Northern Plains Conference on Aging and Disability to be held on October 19 and 20 at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo, N.Dak.

Jurivich's presentation titled "A Prescription for a Healthy Lifespan" will review causes of aging and current research to slow or reverse the aging processes.

For more information and to register for the conference, please read more.

14th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference is October 20

The 14th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference (AIHRC) will take place October 20, 2016, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. The conference offers opportunities to discuss research directions, partnerships, and collaboration in health research focusing on American Indians. The keynote speaker is Dr. Michael J. Yellow Bird, professor of sociology and director of the Tribal Indigenous Studies program at North Dakota State University. Yellow Bird’s teaching, writing, research, and community work focus on indigenous peoples’ health, leadership, and cultural rights. For his keynote presentation, he will discuss mindfulness and neurodecolonization.

Numerous posters and exhibits will be on display at the conference along with sessions focusing on health risk and health promotion among Native American communities.  For more information or to register for the conference, visit or call Kenneth Davis at (701) 335-3072. There is no registration fee for this conference.

The 14th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference is sponsored by the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health, North Dakota IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (ND INBRE), UND’s Seven Generations Center of Excellence in Native Behavioral Health, and the UND Chapter of the Society of Indian Psychologists.

Nikki Massmann, BS
(701) 777-4205
Communication Coordinator
Center for Rural Health

ND INBRE Research Symposium is October 20

You’re invited to the annual ND INBRE Research Symposium on October 20 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

ND INBRE is the North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, which focuses on health and the environment with research projects that include undergraduate students.

The highlight of the morning session will include a keynote presentation by Dr. Dwight Bergles, professor of neuroscience and otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Bergles is the director of the Multiphoton Imaging and Electrophysiology Core at the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience. His research focuses on synaptic physiology, in particular glutamate transporters and glial involvement in neuronal signaling. Bergles is a new member of the ND INBRE External Advisory Committee. 

The program will conclude in the afternoon with a poster session highlighting the outstanding research of our undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The format will strive to provide a friendly atmosphere conducive to open discussions and exchange of ideas on science and training. 

No registration fee! Continental breakfast and lunch provided!  See schedule of events and register here today.

Kim Hansen
Administrative Officer
Department of Pathology/ND INBRE

American College of Physicians ND Chapter Meeting

The North Dakota American College of Physicians Chapter Meeting will be held on Friday, October 21, at the new UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences building, 1301 N. Columbia Road in Grand Forks.

Please click here to view the program.

Register online today!

Or you may print page 6 of the program and mail your payment to the following:

American College of Physicians
190 N Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1572

*Note: Medical students and nonmember residents are unable to register online. Please register via postal mail at the address above or by contacting Customer Service at 800-523-1546, ext. 2600 in order to get the correct registration rate.

We invite you to join us at this excellent meeting to enjoy a day with internal medicine colleagues from across the state of North Dakota.

Neville Alberto, MD, FACP
Governor—ACP, North Dakota Chapter

Step Out to Stop Diabetes walk is October 22

Most of us know someone with diabetes. Join Team UND on October 22 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks for the one-hour Step Out to Stop Diabetes walk.

Registration or check-in on October 22 is at 7:30 a.m.; the Concourse Walk begins at 9:30 a.m.

There is tons of fun for the kids—inflatables and face painting! Register or sponsor a UND walker or family at

UND Primary Care Week 2016 is October 25–29

National Primary Care Week is an annual event to highlight the importance of primary care and bring healthcare professionals together to discuss and learn about generalist and interdisciplinary healthcare, particularly its effect on and importance to underserved populations.

The School has scheduled four days of events.

For more information on any of the events, please e-mail

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Ward recognized at national conference

Jody Ward was presented the Values Recognition Award at the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health’s (NOSORH) annual conference in Boston on September 7. Ward is a senior project coordinator for the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, located at the Minot campus. (In the photo, Jody Ward (center) accepts the Values Recognition Award from NOSORH President Scott Daniels. Lynette Dickson [left], CRH associate director, nominated Ward.)

The Values Recognition Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated commitment to NOSORH’s values, including health equity for rural Americans, collaboration, trust in the capacity to make a difference, inclusiveness, and accountability. Recipients of this award apply forward thinking and lead efforts to envision and implement initiatives in rural health such as telehealth and quality improvement. Ward has worked for the Center for Rural Health since 2008 and was instrumental in establishing the North Dakota Critical Access Hospital Quality Network.

Lynette Dickson, associate director at the Center for Rural Health, nominated Ward for this award and said, “She is an exemplary team player—respectfully listening to ideas and thoughts of others, blending them with her own to create successful quality improvement and patient-safety projects. As a result of her clinical knowledge, as well as her positive and approachable style, she is viewed as a trusted liaison to rural and urban partners statewide. She has evolved into a respected leader with vision and creativity. She sincerely thrives on learning from and contributing to her Flex and State Office of Rural Health colleagues across the country.”

Ward said, “I feel fortunate to have a profession that supports rural communities and their critical access hospitals with resources and education on providing patient safety and quality of care.”

Nikki Massmann, BS
Communication Coordinator
Center for Rural Health

Call for Nominations—Dr. Alan J. Allery Health Research Award

Call for nominations due October 3, 2016!

The Center for Rural Health is now accepting nominations for the Dr. Alan J. Allery Health Research Award. This prestigious award is presented to two ambitious American Indian students, one graduate and one undergraduate, in recognition of conducting research dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Native Americans throughout the country.

To make your nomination, please visit the American Indian Health Research Conference website.

For more information, contact Kenneth Davis or (701) 335-3072.

Call for Presentations: 2017 Dakota Conference

Rural and public health professionals are encouraged to submit abstracts for the 2017 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health. Both oral and poster presentations should feature community or research projects that use creative strategies, facilitate the collaboration between rural and public health entities, can be replicated, and have an emphasis on education and developing partnerships. Abstract submissions must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Monday, October 10, 2016. Visit the Dakota Conference website for details on submitting an abstract.

The Dakota Conference is coordinated and facilitated by the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Supported by the following organizations:

Contact Kylie Nissen or (701) 777-5380.

Food drive

Area food banks are running seriously low on nonperishable food items, and it is approaching their busiest time of the year.

UND Staff Senate will have boxes set out in an area near you for you to drop off a canned good or some other nonperishable food item until the end of September. Drop off locations at the SMHS are the two faculty and staff lounges and also by Room W423.

Social Media—Health Matters

On our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about a blood clot in the lung 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—UND final fall enrollment check

The University of North Dakota continues to attract and enroll a more diverse and academically prepared student body.

As of September 19, the official census day for the fall semester, UND has once again enrolled its most ethnically diverse and academically prepared first-year class, based on average high school GPA (grade point average) and ACT scores. With an average high school GPA of 3.46 and average ACT score of 24.0, this year’s first-year class exceeded last fall’s, which touted a then-record 3.42 GPA and 24.0 ACT average. This compares with a 3.33 GPA and 23.5 ACT average only four years ago for the fall 2012 entering class.

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.

"Newborn Screening for Hearing Loss and Critical Congenital Heart Disease"—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. September's presentation is "Beyond the Blood Spot: Newborn Screening for Hearing Loss and Critical Congenital Heart Disease." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

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NIH funds $1.5 million study of transgenerational threat from amphetamines

If your mother or father were addicted to amphetamines, does that increase your risk of becoming addicted? An answer to that question is a focus of a $1.5 million, five-year grant to the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study, titled “Amphetamine Causes Transgenerational Effects,” will be led by Associate Professor Lucia Carvelli, PhD, in the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

“Although addictions show no clear pattern of inheritance, family history represents one of the greatest risk factors for drug addiction,” Carvelli said. “Numerous family, adoption, and twin studies have shown that an individual’s risk to develop addiction tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relative. In other words, parents with a history of addiction are more likely to have kids that will develop an addiction as well.”

Although social studies support that addiction can be inherited, no one knows what the mechanisms are that cause this inheritance.

“A common characteristic among all addictive drugs is that they directly or indirectly increase the activity of dopamine in the brain,” Carvelli said. “Dopamine is one of the main chemicals promoting neural signaling in those areas of the brain that are responsible for the reward system. In animals, including humans, the reward system is activated every time we perform an action that is important for our own survival, such as eating or sex.”

However, Carvelli said that amphetamines and other drugs of abuse “hijack the function of dopamine in the reward system and promote positive-reinforcing behaviors directed toward the intake of the drugs. The pleasure we experience when we eat our favorite dish is replaced by a much stronger pleasure produced by the drugs.”  

For years, Carvelli has studied how amphetamines affect specific proteins of the reward system. Her research relies on the study of a tiny creature with a long scientific name: Caenorhabditis elegans or C. elegans.

C. elegans is a nematode, a transparent soil-dwelling roundworm that is about 1 millimeter in length, the width of the sharpened tip on a No. 2 yellow pencil. Most importantly, it shares a common ancestor with humans, which means that many of the same genes that guide development and disease in C. elegans are the same as those found in humans.

Scientists take advantage of the worm’s relatively simple genome (its genetic material), its short life span, the ease of manipulating its genetics, and the complete map of what genes affect the fate of every cell. C. elegans is a model research organism whose use has led scientists to significant discoveries about human cancer, kidney disease, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and neurodevelopmental disabilities as well as how aging affects these processes.

“In our preliminary work, we found that in C. elegans chronic amphetamine treatment during development generated adults that are hypersensitive to amphetamine,” Carvelli said. “Remarkably, we found that this hypersensitivity to amphetamine was inherited in progeny. This result represents the first evidence supporting the hypothesis that drugs of abuse such as amphetamine can induce transgenerational effects. That is, chronic use of amphetamine during development induces physiological changes that persist during the adult stage of an individual and can be passed down to future generations.”

This discovery raised a lot of interest at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. When Carvelli applied for funding from the NIDA, the NIH institute approved her current project after the first grant submission. Only a small percentage of researchers are funded by the NIH after their first grant application.  

“The long-term goal of this grant is to investigate the potential role that regulation of gene expression plays in mediating drug-induced behaviors and the inherited predisposition to addiction,” Carvelli said. “Thus our data collected on amphetamines might be useful to understand how other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and alcohol, generate their long-term effects.”

Carvelli noted that the mechanisms that control gene expression are reversible and can be modified by drugs that are commercially available. “Our project also includes a set of experiments designed to test whether pharmacological intervention prevents the long-term and transgenerational effects caused by chronic use of amphetamine during development.”

Mandatory PHS Financial Conflict of Interest Education sessions

The Public Health Service (PHS) requires that all PHS grantees or those considering submitting to the PHS complete a mandatory education class. According to the new policy, all grantees must be trained in conflict of interest every four years. The Division of Research and Economic Development will be conducting training sessions on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, October 12, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Presidents Room at the Memorial Union.
  • Monday, November 21, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Presidents Room at the Memorial Union.

You only need to attend one of the sessions if you have not already done so. Training is necessary every four years. 

The session will be presented by Barry Milavetz, PhD, associate vice president for Research and Economic Development.

PHS agencies include

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

If you have questions, please contact Barry Milavetz, PhD, (701) 777-4151.  

Diane Hillebrand, CRA
Grant and Contract Officer

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 two research studies.

  • Fish for HEALTH! 
    Are you interested in cardiovascular health? Would you like to eat more fish? The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center is seeking men and women, ages 20–70, 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
    Women on contraception: are you satisfied when you eat? The USDA is looking for female participants, ages 18–50, 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 9-month family membership at Choice Health & Fitness, to be paid at the conclusion of the study.

For more information, and to see if you qualify, check out our website, or 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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