April 29, 2016

I hope that you are able to join Susan and me tomorrow for the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk. The Greater Grand Forks Heart Walk activities kick off at Riverwalk Centre at 9:00 a.m. with the actual walk starting at 10:00 a.m. The 5K walk along the Greenway promotes physical activity and heart-healthful living in a fun, family environment—and it’s free, although walkers are encouraged to raise funds for the lifesaving mission of the AHA. See www.GreaterGrandForksHeartWalk.org for more details. We hope to see you there!

I hope that you had a chance to catch Dr. Tim Henry’s Dean’s Hour presentation yesterday. It was fantastic and future-looking. Tim is a 1980 graduate of the School and chief of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and is a 2016 Sioux Award winner from the UND Alumni Association and Foundation. He presented a phenomenal overview of novel treatments for heart disease, focusing on the use of adult stem cells to repair damaged hearts. If you weren’t able to see the presentation live, it is available here.

And please mark your calendar for the last Dean’s Hour presentation this spring that will occur next Thursday, May 5, at noon. Dr. David Blumenthal of the Commonwealth Fund will be our visiting professor, and his Dean’s Hour talk will be on the use and value of the electronic health record (EHR). He is one of the most knowledgeable people around regarding the EHR, so please try to attend.

I’m busy working on next year’s Dean’s Hour schedule, and I’d appreciate your feedback here. Please provide your comments and suggestions. While I think that we’ve had great speakers and generally strong attendance, I’d value any thoughts as to how we could make the time even more valuable. I’d especially appreciate the suggestion of names to consider for speakers, especially people from the health sciences and research enterprise.

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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Zen in 10 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the SMHS

Zen in 10 focuses on stretching, breathing, and having fun with coworkers. Go back to work with less stress, more energy, and better body functioning. Services provided by Kay Williams, Certified Yoga and Relax and Renew Instructor®. Sponsored by UND Work Well.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, May 3 through June 9, from 11:00 a.m. to 11:10 a.m., Zen in 10 will take place outside on the east lawn or, if the wether is inclement, in the east lobby of the SMHS in Grand Forks.

Other Zen-in-10 locations are available here.

2016 Staff Recognition Luncheon is May 10

Please mark your calendars to attend the 2016 Annual Staff Recognition Ceremony and Luncheon on Tuesday, May 10, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the UND Memorial Union Ballroom. UND staff employees with continuous, benefited employment at UND will be recognized for their years of service. Also to be recognized will be this year's selections for Meritorious Service, and Ken and Toby Baker UND Proud awards.

Tickets may be purchased at the UND Human Resources Office, Twamley Hall Room 313. The cost is $5 per person. Cash or checks are accepted.

To view the School's honorees, please read more.

Jean Altepeter
Associate Director-Human Resources


2016 Sophomore Awards Program is May 11

First- and second-year medical students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend the 2016 Sophomore Awards lunch and presentation of awards. The event will take place at noon on Wednesday, May 11, in the UND Memorial Union–South Ballroom.

Celebrate SMHS Commencement on May 15

Please join us for the 2016 SMHS Commncement activities scheduled for Sunday, May 15, in Grand Forks.

Keynote speaker will be Patrick Carr, PhD. He is the director of Education Resources, assistant dean for Faculty Development, and an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The title of Carr's presentation is "Everything You Need to Know You Learned in Anatomy."

The schedule is as follows:

  • 10:30 a.m.—Awards brunch: Alerus Center (1200 S. 42nd Street, Grand Forks). Tickets are $15 each, must be purchased in advance, and can be obtained through the Office of the Dean by calling (701) 777-2514 or by sending a request and check (no cash can be accepted) to the following address:

Office of the Dean
UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences
501 North Columbia Road, Stop 9037
Grand Forks, ND  58202-9037

Please Note:  Make checks payable to "UND Alumni Association & Foundation"

  • 2:30 p.m.—Commencement Ceremony:  Chester Fritz Auditorium, 3475 University Avenue, Grand Forks.

Register now for Dakota Conference

The Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health provides an opportunity for over 300 healthcare professionals, educators, and students to share strategies for building and sustaining healthy communities in North Dakota. It includes pre-conference workshops, keynote speakers, breakout sessions, poster presentations, evening workshops, and an awards banquet. The 2016 conference will be held May 16–18 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

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 and is supported by the following organizations:

Register now!

Contact Kylie Nissen, (701) 777-5380; or Julie Reiten, (701) 777-4173.

Monday is final day to register for CRH's free Grant-Writing Workshop on May 18

Preregistration by May 2 is required.

The UND Center for Rural Health will present a Grant-Writing Workshop from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Presenters are Lynette Dickson and Kylie Nissen. The CRH conducts grant-writing workshops that provide participants from organizations such as health facilities (hospitals, clinics, long-term care, public health, etc.), schools (including medical), faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies, community service groups, and businesses with the tools necessary to compete successfully for grant funds.

There is no cost to register. Registration is compliments of the North Dakota State Office of Rural Health.

The workshop covers methods for searching and applying for private and public grant funding, critical steps for planning and writing a grant proposal, and the most common components or sections for most grant applications. All participants receive a binder containing a hard copy of the PowerPoint presentation and additional background information. Providing this form of technical assistance is considered a function of the North Dakota State Office of Rural Health and therefore is provided at no cost to the participants.

Upon completion of this workshop, the learner will be able to meet the following objectives:

  • Research grant opportunities.
  • Create the fundamental elements of a grant proposal package such as the cover letter, summary, introduction, problem statement, project description, evaluation, letters of support, budget, and appendices.
  • Customize a proposal to match a grant maker's interest.
  • Develop the skills needed to prepare professional, competitive, compelling, and successful grant proposals.
  • Identify the differences between government and foundation proposals.

Register to Attend!

Please e-mail Kylie Nissen with questions and to register. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Preregistration by May 2 is required.

The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences designates this live activity for a maximum of 4 Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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School of Medicine and Health Sciences to present Doctor of Medicine degrees

The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences will confer the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree during commencement at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 15, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the UND campus in Grand Forks.

Seventy-two degree candidates will participate in the ceremony. The graduates have completed four years of medical education to earn their Doctor of Medicine, beginning with two years of instruction at the UND campus in Grand Forks, followed by two years learning and working with practicing physicians who volunteer to serve as their teachers in hospitals and clinics throughout North Dakota. Upon graduating, the doctors will complete their residencies, a period of advanced intensive training in their chosen medical specialty before independent practice as a physician. Depending on the medical specialty, medical school graduates complete anywhere from three to seven years of residency training after medical school.

Patrick Carr, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, will deliver the keynote address titled “Everything You Need to Know You Learned in Anatomy.”

Carr was raised in western Manitoba and completed his undergraduate education at Brandon University and a doctoral degree in physiology at the University of Manitoba. He then completed further training at the University of Manitoba, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He joined the University of North Dakota in 1998, where he is currently the director of Education Resources and assistant dean for Faculty Development for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Medical students have honored Carr with over 30 teaching awards. His teaching responsibilities currently include gross anatomy and neuroscience. When not at work, he can often be found encouraging medical students to join him at hockey, mountain biking or playing guitar.

For a complete list of the graduates, with their hometowns and residency programs, please visit

Bhattacharya wins Denison Award

Atrayee Bhattacharya, a second-year graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, won a Denison Award for best graduate student talk at the 108th Annual Meeting of the North Dakota Academy of Science at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Bhattacharya shared first place with cowinner Nilushni Sivapragasam from North Dakota State University.

The title of Bhattacharya's talk was "The Role of CCCTC Binding Factor (CTCF) in Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)."

Bhattacharya (shown at right) works in the laboratory of Assistant Professor Archana Dhasarathy, PhD.

Dhasarathy’s lab works on a process called epithelial to mesenchymal transition or EMT. This simply reflects a change in how cells look. They change their shape from an epithelial state, which means they are well-attached and mostly stationary. During early development, and potentially during cancer metastasis, these cells change their shape to a mesenchymal form, which means they become more elongated, lose their cell-to-cell contacts, and start moving and migrating. This is really important for proper development of the embryo, but it can be disastrous in cancer, resulting in metastasis to other parts of the body.

The goal of Dhasarathy’s lab is to try and understand how this happens. They focus on a protein called SNAIL, which is often referred to as a master regulator of the EMT process. Understanding how the SNAIL gene is suddenly turned on is critical to understanding EMT and hence cancer metastasis. Atrayee Bhattacharya used bioinformatics analyses, with the help of Junguk Hur, PhD, to analyze the DNA sequence of the SNAIL gene. They were able to make the prediction that a protein called CTCF, which stands for CCCTC binding factor, might be present at the SNAIL gene. Bhattacharya then performed some experiments to show that, indeed, CTCF protein was found to bind to the DNA of SNAIL, and this happened during EMT. Dhasarathy and her colleagues are now working to understand how this happens.

Coming Together: New Questions and Answers

The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Transition Management Team continues to plan for the move to our new building this year.

Three questions have been combined into one, and two others have been revised under the General category on the new building FAQs page on the Coming Together website.

For more new building information, to view all the frequently asked questions and answers, or to submit a question, please visit the Coming Together website.

Jessica Sobolik
Director of Alumni and Community Relations

Every Friday is Clean-Out Friday

Get organized for the move to the new building!

Every Friday is Clean-Out Friday. You can do the following:

  • Quickly destroy records that have met their retention time.
  • Organize your records now so you are ready for the new building.
  • Clean up your storage room.
  • Identify records that are historical or need to be put on a retention hold.

Shredding totes and recycling bins will be located in the Vennes Atrium.

As state employees, we all bear the responsibility of managing records. A clean-out day helps free up valuable space in your filing cabinets, work areas, and storage rooms. If your records are in proper order, you increase your work productivity, minimize litigation risks, and are complying with the SMHS retention schedule. Every Friday is Clean-Out Friday. Please make some time to go through your offices and storage rooms.

For further information, contact the Records and Information Management Program at 777-3783. 

Susan Carlson, CRM, MS
Associate Director–Administration and Finance
Records and Information Management

"Cancer and Family History: Using Genomics for Prevention"—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. April's presentation is "Cancer and Family History: Using Genomics for Prevention." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Students got to see science firsthand at Science Day

On our Facebook page, view the WDAZ TV story "Students got to see science firsthand at UND School of Medicine's Science Day."

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about bariatric surgery and about peanut allergy 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 healthmatters@med.und.edu.

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

University Letter—RAIN Program celebrates 25 successful years on campus

They say April showers bring May flowers, but for the University of North Dakota’s RAIN Program, April marks 25 years since the program sprouted into life.

The 25th Recruitment/Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) Anniversary was celebrated this year on the Thursday and Friday (April 21 and 22) of UND’s annual Time Out Week, which yearly celebrates education, diversity, and American Indian culture.

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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SMHS community asked to complete appendicitis survey

Dear colleagues and friends:

We are attempting to understand how different people would choose between appendectomy or antibiotic treatment alone if they had appendicitis. The link below is to a quick Web-based anonymous survey that will provide a little information about each scenario, ask you to choose, and then ask you a few questions about yourself and your reasoning. No personal identifying information will be collected. The survey should take 5–10 minutes of your time. We would really appreciate it if you would take the time to complete the survey, as this is an important subject on which the patient viewpoint has really not been heard. If you have friends or family to whom you can pass this on so that they can also complete the survey, we would also be incredibly grateful if you would forward the link to them.


Thank you in advance.

Marc D. Basson, MD, PhD, MBA
Professor of Surgery, Pathology, and Biomedical Sciences
Associate Dean for Medicine
School of Medicine and Health Sciences

USDA GF Human Nutrition Research Center seeks study participants (new study just added)

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

Mandatory PHS Financial Conflict of Interest Education Session is May 6

The Public Health Service (PHS) has recently revised its policy requiring 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 a training session on Friday, May 6, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Presidents Room at the Memorial Union.

You only need to attend a session 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; and David Schmidt, assistant 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) 777-4278.  

Diane Hillebrand, CRA
Grant and Contract Officer

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