May 22, 2015

Another busy graduation weekend! Two weeks ago, the senior medical students graduated at an SMHS graduation ceremony, similar to the School of Law that held its graduation on the same day. This past Saturday, UND commencement took place, and we graduated our health sciences and basic sciences students. They are well-prepared, and are going to good positions after they graduate. Please join me in wishing them the best in the future!

For those of you who attended both ceremonies, I wonder how you feel about the lack of a graduation speaker at the general UND commencement? It certainly was a reasonable decision to not invite a speaker in an effort to keep the ceremony from running too long. But after Dr. Tim Henry’s wonderful address at the SMHS event two weeks ago, I wonder if the graduates at UND commencement missed something memorable. What do you think? 

Congratulations to Jody Bauer and Jessica Curcio, two of our newly minted Master of Physician Assistant Studies graduates! They garnered the Outstanding Scholarly Project Student Choice Award and the Outstanding Scholarly Project Faculty Choice Award, respectively, for their work at the Department of Physician Assistant Studies Scholarly Project Poster Display.

Another milestone was reached this past Tuesday, when the final two steel beams were hoisted into place on the top of the new building. The two beams had been festooned with over 500 signatures of well-wishers, including Congressman Kevin Cramer, state legislators, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, UND President Robert Kelley, members of our Advisory Council, and many others. In a Beam Topping Ceremony on May 19, the two beams were hoisted by the large crane to their resting place in the “penthouse” (mechanical room) on the roof of the new building. They will remain there for the life of the building. They are painted white, and for now are easily visible in the southwest corner of the building.

An upcoming fun event related to the building will be when we encase a time capsule under the grand staircase this fall. Think about what objects we might place in it. What might be of interest when the time capsule is opened in the future—say half a century from now? An iPhone? A stethoscope? Give it some thought.

Congratulations and thank you to Mary Reinertson-Sand! We celebrated Mary’s 30 years of service to UND and the SMHS yesterday at the School. Mary worked as an information specialist at the Center for Rural Health.

Finally, please pause this coming Monday to remember those men and women who died in the service of their country while in the armed forces.

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


Recent Educational Policies to Review

Conflict of Interest Policy.

View all of the School's Policies and Procedures.

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Yan Ye will present her dissertation defense on May 27

Yan Ye, PhD candidate in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program in the Department of Basic Sciences, will be presenting her dissertation defense titled “Atg7 deficiency impairs host defense against Klebsiella pneumoniae” at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 27, in Room 5510 at the SMHS in Grand Forks.

All are welcome to attend.

Lisa Brown
Education Coordinator
Department of Basic Sciences

2015 Central Region IDeA Conference is June 1–3

ND INBRE is pleased to be hosting the 2015 Central Region IDeA Conference on June 1–3 at the Alerus Center, in Grand Forks.

On behalf of the North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (ND INBRE), we would like to invite you to attend the Central Region IDeA conference at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on June 1–3. The central theme of the first full day of the IDeA Central Region Conference (June 2) will be promoting diversity through IDeA programs. The final half-day of the conference (June 3) will explore the role of the IDeA program in promoting economic development.

IDeA states in the central region include North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

For registration and a schedule, please visit

Kim Hansen
Administrative Officer

2015 Dakota Conference is June 2–4

2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health

June 2–4, 2015
Grand International Hotel, Minot, North Dakota

Reserve your room today!
Toll Free: 800.735.4493

Visit the Dakota Conference website for further details.

The Dakota Conference is facilitated by the

  • Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences 

The conference is supported by

  • Altru Health System
  • College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines (UND)
  • Department of Family and Community Medicine (UND SMHS)
  • North Dakota Public Health Association
  • North Dakota Rural Health Association

Contact Kylie Nissen

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Forum is June 15

The National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative (NIEJI), located within the Center for Rural Health, is hosting a forum for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, June 15, at the Ina Mae Rude Center for Innovation at UND, 4200 James Ray Drive, in Grand Forks. Wear purple and join the forum for a discussion on topics such as financial exploitation and elder abuse policies.

Lunch will be provided.

Contact Cassie LaBine at (701) 777-6084 to register.

Save the Date! American Indian Health Research Conference is October 23

Save the date for the 13th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 23, 2015, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. The event is sponsored by North Dakota INBRE, Center for Rural Health, Seven Generations Center of Excellence in Native Behavioral Health, and the UND Chapter of the Society of Indian Psychologists.

Registration information coming soon!

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Department of Physician Assistant Studies announces Scholarly Project Awards

The winners have been announced for the Scholarly Project Poster Display hosted by the University of North Dakota Department of Physician Assistant Studies on May 7 at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The winners were announced at the Department’s Hooding Ceremony for the Class of 2015 on May 15.

Jody Bauer, Master of Physician Assistant Studies ’15, of Bismarck, N.D., had her work selected by a consensus of her peers for the Outstanding Scholarly Project Student Choice Award. Her project was titled “Oral Immunotherapy in IgE-Mediated Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy.”

In addition, faculty evaluators from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences selected Jessica Curcio, Master of Physician Assistant Studies ’15, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, to receive the Outstanding Scholarly Project Faculty Choice Award for her project titled “Alpha Lipoic Acid: A potential therapeutic option for painful peripheral neuropathies.”

In the photo are, from left, Department Chair Jeanie McHugo, PhD, PA-C; Jessica Curcio, MPAS '15; Jody Bauer, MPAS '15; and Assistant Professor Susan Kuntz, PhD, MT(ASCP), CLS(NCA). 

Congratulations sophomores and faculty!

Congratulations to the student and faculty award winners at the 2015 Sophomore Awards lunch and presentation, which was held Thursday, May 14, in the UND Memorial Union–South Ballroom. For a complete list of the award winners, please read more.

"Dengue and Chikungunya in Our Backyard: Preventing Aedes Mosquito-Borne 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. May's presentation is "Dengue and Chikungunya in Our Backyard: Preventing Aedes Mosquito-Borne Disease." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: View photos of the Beam Topping Ceremony

On the SMHS Flickr page, view photos of the Beam Topping Ceremony held May 19  

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne discusses how statin side effects outweigh benefits for otherwise healthy seniors, and iron-deficiency anemia during pregnancy 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: National search for dean of School of Graduate Studies begins in fall 2015

The University has announced a national search for the next dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The decision was based on the recommendations of UND’s academic deans and the Search Committee, following the conclusion of an internal search process.

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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Library of the Health Sciences hours for Memorial Day holiday

Library of the Health Sciences hours for Friday, May 22, through Tuesday, May 26, are the following: 

  • Friday, May 22—8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 23—Closed
  • Sunday, May 24—Closed
  • Monday, May 25, Memorial Day—Closed
  • Tuesday, May 26—7:30 a.m.–midnight   

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

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