October 28, 2016

Today marks the end of National Primary Care week, and I hope that you had a chance to attend the Community Meet and Greet yesterday that was sponsored by our Center for Rural Health. This was a great opportunity for health professions students to meet with representatives from various healthcare organizations from across the state and discuss potential clinical rotations and job prospects.

It is clear that a key focus of our students is the desire to make a difference in both their personal and professional lives. They are well aware of the healthcare delivery needs especially in rural North Dakota, and it is no wonder that our students are leaders in the nation in their commitment to rural practice and family medicine. That focus was clear this past Tuesday when the students invited me to chat with them after hours about healthcare policy in general, and my predictions as to what to expect in the future. We had a great turnout despite the first game of the World Series!

As I told the students, my crystal ball is somewhat cloudy, but I did my best to highlight some of the coming trends that I think are clear from a healthcare policy point of view—a greater focus on team medicine, a heightened focus on the patient experience from the patient’s standpoint (imagine that!), a change in reimbursement methods, a focus on quality, and a shift in risk from the payer (insurance companies and the government) to payee (providers and healthcare institutions). By shifting risk, I mean the movement toward reimbursement based on a capitated amount of money (a set fee per patient regardless of treatment provided), with the expectation that providers will determine how those dollars are expended. The most important message I tried to impart was the need for healthcare providers to be active participants in the process—rather than being viewed by some as part of the problem, providers need to be actively involved in being part of the solution. In support of this notion is the observation that many of the large institutions viewed quite favorably as exemplars in providing outstanding, coordinated, and patient-centered care—the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and the University of Michigan Health System—are headed by physicians.

Finally, just a reminder about the Dean’s Hour presentations (noon on Thursdays) for the rest of 2016:

  • Nov. 3—No Dean’s Hour, since many students will be participating in the Teddy Bear Clinic
  • Nov. 10—Dr. Jay Olshansky—The Future of Human Aging and Longevity
  • Nov. 17—Dr. Don Warne—Health Disparities
  • Nov. 24—Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Dec. 1—Annual Holiday Luncheon
  • Dec. 8—North Dakota Department of Health—Zika Virus

I hope to see you there. The presentations are in the Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (and online), and lunch is provided.

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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Faculty Workshop: "Customize Your Curriculum With Library Resources" is October 28 and November 4

Join the Health Sciences Library for a workshop on incorporating library resources into your course-level curriculum. In this two-part, hands-on workshop, Makoto Tsuchiya, assistant professor in the Department of Sports Medicine, will demonstrate a real-world example of how he has augmented and enhanced student learning with the “Custom Curriculum” feature in AccessMedicine and AccessPhysiotherapy. This feature allows faculty to create interactive learning modules and quizzes, using content (textbooks, videos, case files, etc.) already available through the institution’s subscription to the AccessMedicine and AccessPhysiotherapy databases. This feature has the added benefit of allowing instructors to decrease the number of textbooks that their students are required to purchase for their courses, thereby utilizing institutional subscriptions to lower our students’ educational costs.

Where: E226, New School of Medicine and Health Sciences building

When: This is a 2-part workshop.

Part 1: October 28 from noon to 1 p.m.

Topic: Introduction to Custom Curriculum. What is it? How does it work? Note: participants will be asked to build a small lesson in Custom Curriculum before the next session.

Part 2: November 4 from noon to 1 p.m.

Topic: Participants will share their lessons with each other. Further group discussion on best practices and other possibilities with Custom Curriculum.

Space is limited. Please RSVP to http://bit.ly/2dOOCCs.

Dawn Hackman
Education and Research Librarian

AEIS Workshop on "Active Learning for Lectures" is November 2

Ever wonder what's going on in the new SCALE-UP classrooms where you see your colleagues teaching? Do you find yourself (or your students!) losing focus during one-hour lectures? Are you concerned that your students are “just not getting it”?

Join Dr. Richard Van Eck, associate dean for Teaching and Learning, for a faculty development workshop on active learning (AL) titled "Active Learning for Lectures: Choosing the Right Level." You will learn how AL can be integrated into lectures in ways that complement and extend their power (while keeping everyone awake and attentive!). You will learn how the five levels of AL allow instructors to match AL to course outcomes and available instructional time. You don’t have to throw out your lectures!

"Active Learning for Lectures: Choosing the Right Level" will be held from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, in Room W203 of the SMHS in Grand Forks.

The AEIS page contains further details about how to register (required), to attend in person, or to participate from off site. If you have further questions, contact Shae Samuelson in Education Resources (701) 777-6150.

This is the third (free) AL workshop in the Advancing Educational Innovation and Scholarship (AEIS, pronounced “ace”)  workshop series sponsored by the SMHS Office of Education and Faculty Affairs and Education Resources. This workshop expands on ideas raised in a previous E-News Education Corner from October 14, 2016.

"Current Trends in Breast Surgery: Less is More" is November 4

Michael Bouton, MD, FACS, clinical associate professor of surgery in the UND SMHS Department of Surgery and attending at Sanford Health, will be presenting his talk titled "Current Trends in Breast Surgery: Less is More" from Sanford Health Clinic B2 in Fargo from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 4.

The objectives of his talk are the following:

  1. Identify some of the major studies that led to current recommendations.
  2. Understand management of the axilla related to breast cancer.
  3. Identify current choices for local control of breast cancer.
  4. Understand the current margin recommendations for breast cancers.

This Surgery Grand Rounds conference, sponsored by the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Surgery, is broadcasted via videoconference to many sites in North Dakota and Minnesota.

All are welcome to attend.

Geralyn Lunski, AAS
Administrative Assistant
Conference & Faculty Coordinator

S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, presents next Dean's Hour on November 10

S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, professor, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Illinois at Chicago, is the next Dean's Hour speaker at noon on Thursday, November 10, in the Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (E101) at the SMHS in Grand Forks. The title of his presentation is “The Future of Human Aging and Longevity.”

Lunch will be provided on the Grand Forks Campus. If you plan to attend on the Grand Forks Campus, please let us know by responding at the following link: https://und.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5jXqAhK84SOVQS9

This presentation will be broadcast to the following UND SMHS campus sites:

  • Bismarck, Southwest Campus, Room 2108.
  • Fargo, Southeast Campus, Room 219.
  • Minot, Northwest Campus Office–Trinity Location.

Also available at your desktop at the following link: http://Bit.ly/deans-hour.

For additional information, contact the Office of the Dean at (701) 777-2514.

Save the date! UND Host-Pathogen Interactions COBRE Symposium is November 16

UND faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend the Host-Pathogen Interactions Symposium to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, at the Gorecki Alumni Center, 3501 University Avenue in Grand Forks. Attendance is free, and a continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

This event will bring together experts studying fields such as the interface between innate and adaptive immunity, bacterial pathogenesis, neuroinflammatory disorders, and parasitic infections. Three speakers have been scheduled: Dr. Caroline Cameron from the University of Victoria, Dr. Ross Kedl from the University of Colorado-Denver, and Dr. William Picking from the University of Kansas.  In addition, we have scientists from the University of North Dakota who will be presenting their research related to infection and immunity.

Students will have an opportunity to present posters based on their research in the fields of host-pathogen interactions.

This event aims to promote interaction and collaboration among researchers in the area and provide opportunities for learning about cutting-edge tools, approaches, and resources to advance research into infections and inflammation as it applies to human disease.

Registration is required. To register or submit a poster, please visit Host-Pathogen Interactions Symposium. Submissions are due October 26. The poster session is limited.

Guest Speakers

  • Dr. Ross Kedl, University of Colorado Denver
    “T cell vaccinology: what infectious responses failed to tell us about making better vaccines”
  • Dr. Caroline Cameron, University of Victoria
    “The path of syphilis vaccine development"
  • Dr. Bill Picking, University of Kansas
    "Structure - Function relationships within the Shigalla type III secretion apparatus"

COBRE Host-Pathogen Interactions Project Leaders

  • Dr. Catherine Brissette
    "The puzzle of persistence in Lyme neuroborreliosis"
  • Dr. Bibhuti Mishra
    "Regulation of Macrophage Activation, Trafficking, and Functions during Brain Parasitic Infection"
  • Dr. Jyotika Sharma
    "The Yin and Yang of Lung Inflammation: Neutrophils take the center stage"
  • Dr. Min Wu
    "Long noncoding RNA MEG3-4 transcriptionally modulates IL-1β  and subsequent lung inflammation by repressing microRNA-138"
  • Dr. Xuesong Chen
    "Modulating Tat-mediated HIV-1 LTR transactivation in astrocytes"

The symposium is organized by the Center for Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Host-Pathogen Interactions, UND.

For additional information please contact

Catherine Brissette, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Sciences


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Metzger honored with New Faculty Award for Professional Excellence from PAEA

Assistant Professor Jay Metzger, MPAS, PA-C, in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, was honored with the New Faculty Award for Professional Excellence from the Physician Assistant Education Association on October 14 at the PAEA’s Education Forum in Minneapolis.

The New Faculty Award for Professional Excellence recognizes a program faculty member with three or fewer years of service who has made noteworthy contributions to PA education. Nominees must demonstrate outstanding contributions in teaching, scholarship, or administration. (In the photo, PAEA President-Elect Bill Kohlhepp, on left, presents Jay Metzger with his award.)

“Though he is new to the PA education realm, Metzger has already made his mark on the University of North Dakota PA program,” said the PAEA in announcing Metzger’s award. “He has served as course director for classes from primary care to general surgery, plans all didactic schedules, and teaches a full week of trauma curriculum affectionately referred to by students and faculty as ‘Jay Week.’ He is also credited with identifying innovative teaching methods and taking the lead on test question revision and creation, making him indispensable to his colleagues.”

Metzger became a full-time faculty member at the UND SMHS in July of 2013. With over 20 years of clinical experience, Metzger has been practicing as a PA for more than 10 years and brings to the program clinical expertise in the areas of family practice, general surgery, and emergency medicine. His teaching and research focuses are emergency medicine and trauma.

He earned his Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska, Omaha.  Metzger has worked as a paramedic, and he served as a medical specialist while serving in the U.S. Army.

“I am honored to be recognized for this award by PAEA,” Metzger said. “Working with such great staff and faculty in the Department of PA Studies and the UND SMHS makes for an enjoyable and rewarding job. Educating our future healthcare providers is a daunting task, and it truly ‘takes a village’ to do so.”

"It is truly an honor to support Jay in the achievement of this national award," said Associate Professor Jeanie McHugo, PhD, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the UND SMHS. "Jay’s energy, enthusiasm, quick study, and remarkable contributions have provided a definite positive impact on the success of student learning and thus the UND Department of PA Studies. In many ways, Jay has exceeded the challenges and expectations of PA education and has approached efforts with unique ambition, stellar talent, and exquisite professionalism. Noting these distinguished characteristics, Jay is certainly deserving of this honorable award."

Metzger is president-elect 2016 of the North Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants. He has served as a delegate to the American Academy of Physician Assistants since 2014.

“Thank you to everyone who nominated me for this award,” he said. “And thank you for the contributions you make to our students, our university, and our great state.”

Larson named ND Occupational Therapy Association’s Student of the Year

Sydney Larson was named the North Dakota Occupational Therapy Association’s 2016 Student of the Year. From Hazen, N.Dak, she is a second-year student pursuing a Master of Occupational Therapy degree through the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy. Larson is pictured (at left) accepting the award from NDOTA President Heather Dibla.

Larson was nominated for the award by Associate Professor Sarah Nielsen, PhD, OTR/L, and Instructor Bobbi Carrlson, MOT, OTR/L. The following is from Nielsen and Carrlson’s nomination letter in which they note Larson’s substantial qualifications for the award:

Sydney is active in several professional student activities. With regard to occupational therapy, Sydney is the president of Pi Theta Epsilon (the OT honor society). She is a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association, where she has taken an active role as team captain for the UND OT Spin for Kids team. Sydney also served as a mentor to pre-OT students, has been the social chair for her class, chair for the UND OT Workshop and Luncheon, and served as an interviewer for the OT admissions process. Academically, she excels and has been recognized as the recipient of community and OT department scholarships. She has been selected as a teaching assistant for the courses in Anatomy, Quantitative Research, and OT with Infants and Preschool Children. Sydney also demonstrates commitment to the future of occupational therapy by her collaboration with a faculty member and clinician on a study related to falls in nursing homes. She recently collaborated with two faculty members and another student on an article titled "OT and OTA Students: Make the Most of Your Level I Fieldwork Experiences," which was published in OT Practice.

Sydney highly values contributing to her community, which for her at this time is the University community. In this capacity, she serves as a student ambassador and was recently named Student Ambassador of the Month. She is active in the Catholic Medical Association and serves as a eucharistic minister and facilitator of Bible studies at the UND Newman Center. She is a member of the UND Marching Band, Hockey Band, and Drumline.

Sydney has a strong history of volunteering and work experiences. In addition to volunteer experiences described earlier, she currently volunteers with refugees in the community as a part of her academic work. Sydney is always eager and willing to volunteer her time in the OT department. Her work experiences include after-school programming, being a note taker for students with disabilities, swimming pool assistant manager, and daycare assistant manager.

In summary, we have nominated Sydney for this award because of her dedication to the profession of occupational therapy that is highly evident in the activities described above. Sydney always has a smile on her face and shares her passion for occupational therapy with others. We look forward to watching Sydney grow as she becomes an occupational therapist.

School of Medicine and Health Sciences among top five for family medicine physicians

A study completed by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) noted that the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences was again among the top five contributors to building the nation’s family physician workforce.

This is the 35th national study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians that reports retrospectively the percentage of graduates from U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)-accredited; American Osteopathic Association (AOA)-accredited; and international medical schools who enter Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited family medicine residency programs as first-year residents.

A residency is a period of advanced intensive training for medical school graduates in their chosen medical specialty before independent practice as a physician.

A rank-order list of MD-granting medical schools was created by researchers at the AAFP that was based on the last three years’ average percentage of graduates who became family medicine residents, using the 2015 and prior AAFP census data.

“This annual report is one measure of the effectiveness of medical schools to produce a primary care workforce, a key measure of social responsibility, as measured by their production of graduates entering into family medicine,” said the authors of the AAFP report. “Primary care has been demonstrated to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce health disparities while reducing per capita costs.”

Top schools employ several initiatives that support students who are interested in and most likely to become family physicians. Those initiatives include student outreach, admissions policies that target students from rural and medically underserved areas, clinical rotations that emphasize positive experiences in family medicine, faculty involvement in medical school committees, strong family medicine interest groups, and financial aid packages that help to reduce student debt.

The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences has several unique programs designed to educate students about the benefits of family medicine. The nationally recognized Rural Opportunities in Medical Education (ROME) program places third-year medical students in several rural communities in North Dakota for a seven-month rotation. In 2010, the UND SMHS signed its first RuralMed Scholar; currently there are 24 recipients in the program. The goal of the RuralMed Scholarship Program is to recruit, educate, and retain physicians who will practice family medicine in rural North Dakota. The program absorbs the tuition costs for all four years of medical school for students who agree to practice family medicine in a rural area of North Dakota for five years. The SMHS, through UND’s Centers for Family Medicine in Bismarck and Minot, has also partnered with West River Health Services in Hettinger and Mercy Medical Center in Williston, respectively, to train physicians in Rural Training Track residency programs, which demonstrate even higher placement of graduates into rural and medically underserved communities. The SMHS also provides funding support for the rural track of the Altru Health System Family Medicine Residency Program.

According to the study, the top five schools and their percentage of graduates entering family medicine are the following:

  • University of Minnesota Medical School—19.0%
  • University of Kansas School of Medicine—17.8%
  • University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences—17.4%
  • University of East Carolina—16.7%
  • University of Washington—16.6%

Since 1981, the UND SMHS has averaged 22.5% of its graduates who enter a family medicine residency, while the national average is 10.9%. In 2015, the UND SMHS led the nation with 20.8% of its graduates choosing a family medicine residency.

“The School works hard to produce the family medicine practitioners needed by the people of North Dakota, and we are pleased that we are in the top five based on this study by the AAFP,” said Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND SMHS. “Credit our success to the faculty of the Department of Family and Community Medicine who have worked hard to develop our nationally recognized family and community medicine program, along with the many family physicians throughout the state who help educate our medical students and residents and demonstrate to them firsthand the joys of family medicine practice.”

“Our success as a department rests on the shoulders of the volunteer, community-based faculty who engage our students and provide them a tremendous experience in family medicine,” Wynne said. “It is this opportunity to witness physicians enjoying their work with patients that makes a lasting impression on students. The department could not do it without their dedication to educating our future physicians.”

“In partnering with our communities, faculty, and volunteers, we can teach students both the competence and the confidence to recognize that family medicine is the right choice for them,” said David F. Schmitz, MD, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the UND SMHS.

“As the UND SMHS and the Department of Family and Community Medicine continue to strive to serve our students, residents, and patients, we will also be serving the primary care needs of our state. I am honored to be a part of this team. The AAFP national study reflects the importance of our work for our communities and our health.”

The full AAFP report titled “Entry of US Medical School Graduates Into Family Medicine Residencies: 2015–2016” is available at http://www.stfm.org/FamilyMedicine/Vol48Issue9/Kozakowski688.

Physician Assistant Program earns reaccreditation

The Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA) has granted Accreditation-Continued status to the University of North Dakota Physician Assistant Program sponsored by the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences for 10 years, the maximum length of time allowable before another on-site review. Accreditation-Continued is an accreditation status granted when a currently accredited program is in compliance with the ARC-PA Standards.  

Accreditation remains in effect until the program closes or withdraws from the accreditation process or until accreditation is withdrawn for failure to comply with the Standards. The approximate date for the next validation review of the program by the ARC-PA will be September 2026. The review date is contingent upon continued compliance with the Accreditation Standards and ARC-PA policy. 

The ARC-PA is the recognized accrediting agency that protects the interests of the public, including current and prospective PA students, and the PA profession by defining the standards for PA education and evaluating PA educational programs within the territorial United States to ensure their compliance with those standards. The accrediting agency determines the standards for education and evaluation of all PA educational programs within the United States.

“The intensive external peer review process ensures the value of high-quality education for all PA students. The process and preparation is truly a team effort, and I applaud all faculty, staff, preceptors and students who contributed to this success,” said Associate Professor Jeanie McHugo, PhD, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the UND SMHS. “The accreditation review process begins with a self-study report that is due two to three years before the on-site visit and includes a robust process of ongoing self-assessment of data collection, analysis, modifications, and conclusions generated using a continual assessment process. The on-site visit includes a full accreditation application along with another robust self-study assessment report. The extensive process is very detailed and truly focuses on continual program improvement as the foundation for improving quality in the content and educational progression of PA education. The ultimate goal is to provide a quality education for all students to become competent medical providers for their clinical practices.”

The Department of Physician Assistant Studies offers a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree for individuals yearning to learn the knowledge and skills to enter the PA profession. It is the only PA Program in North Dakota and has held continuous accreditation since 1976. The PA Program’s unique dual track admission structure is geared toward clinically practicing health professionals or applicants with an educational background in science and healthcare. This innovative curricular design of basic science content online followed by a dynamic sequence of alternating didactic and clinical experiences provide distinctive value to comprehensive physician assistant education.

“We stress the importance of interprofessional team-based care here at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the physician assistants trained here are an important part of that team,” said Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the SMHS. “We are pleased with this reaffirmation of the quality of the program that is celebrating its fourth decade of continuous accreditation.”

The PA Program at the UND SMHS welcomes applicants from North Dakota and surrounding states with an interest in serving rural and underserved populations. In fact, nearly half of all of the practicing PAs working in North Dakota come from the UND program. The following statistics are from the most recent survey regarding the mission of the program (average of past three graduating classes):

  • 74 percent reside in the same community where they graduated (trained and retained as medical providers in home areas).
  • 66 percent practice in primary care including family medicine, urgent care, internal medicine, and women’s health.
  • 51 percent practice in a rural area (defined as 25,000 or less population).

For further information, please visit the Department of Physician Assistant Studies or contact und.med.paprogram@med.und.edu or (701) 777-2344.

Students participate in PT Day of Service

Numerous members from the first- and third-year classes in the UND Doctor of Physical Therapy program participated in the second annual Physical Therapy Day of Service (PT DOS), which was held on Saturday, October 15.

Students from the program volunteered their time to help clean up the facility grounds of Valley Eldercare in Grand Forks. Last year, this initiative involved over 3,700 people from 28 different countries and aimed to organize an opportunity for physical therapy students to provide community services in various ways, from providing pro bono clinics to volunteering at soup kitchens.

The profession of physical therapy is centered around service and embodies who we are, what we do, and how we act. This initiative is simply another way to get involved and further the effect physical therapy has on an individual as well as the community at large.

Third-year students were Marissa Adolphson, Argyle, Minn.; Abby Brenner, Fargo, N.Dak.; Kelsey DeCamp, Chokio, Minn.; Jamie Drevlow, Gwinner, N.Dak.; Ashley Fedie, Chanhassen, Minn.; Melanie Fuller, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.; Jenna Goecke, Bismarck, N.Dak.; Lauren Graham, Crookston, Minn.; Ashley Hickox, Laramie, Wyo.; Chase Kerber, Fargo, N.Dak.; Kelsey Lafond, Dickinson, N.Dak.; Kelley Olson, Devils Lake, N.Dak.; Jordan Peterson, Darwin, Minn.; Megan Shanahan, Norwood Young America, Minn.; Tiffany VanHaaften, Chaska, Minn.; Kelsey Wisko, Dent, Minn.; Jenna Wyffels, Alexandria, Minn.; and Erin Yankovic, Centerville, Minn.

First-year students were Kelsey Bell, Victoria, Minn.; Haley Brenner, Fargo, N.Dak.; Jayla Greene, Devils Lake, N.Dak.; Micah Hale, Grand Forks, N.Dak.; Zach Huot, Grand Forks, N.Dak.; Leah Jensen, East Grand Forks, Minn.; Mitchell Karbo, Sioux Falls, S.Dak.; Becca Lynch, Edina, Minn.; Kalie Maiden, Rapid City, S.Dak.; Casey Murphy, Bismarck, N.Dak.; Alyssa Sandry, Grand Forks, N.Dak.; Mekenzie Scheresky, Max, N.Dak.; and Brecca Wahlund, Minot, N.Dak.

Sponsor/Exhibit at the 2017 Dakota Conference

2017 Sponsor/Exhibitor Registration Now Open
June 13–15, 2016
Holiday Inn Riverside, Minot

On behalf of the Dakota Conference Planning Committee, you are invited to sponsor the 2017 Dakota Conference. Space is limited, so register now! We have additional options this year for sponsors. Choose the level that suits your needs!

Two ways to register:

Sponsor registration deadline is 11:59 p.m., CST Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

The Dakota Conference is Coordinated and Facilitated by
Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS)

Supported by

Contact Kylie Nissen or (701) 777-5380.

National Rural Health Day photo contest

The Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the North Dakota Rural Health Association are seeking submissions for the annual photo contest to celebrate National Rural Health Day, which takes place on November 17, 2016.

All North Dakotans are invited to participate by submitting a photo of what rural means to them. Prizes will be awarded to the top-three photos in each of the two divisions. In the Adult (18-years-and-older) division, the first-place winner receives a $150 Cenex gift card, second place a $100 Cenex gift card, and third place receives a $50 Cenex gift card. In the Youth (17-years-and-under) division, the first-place winner receives a $100 Amazon gift card, second place a $50 Amazon gift card, and third place receives a $25 Amazon gift card. Contest winners will be notified after National Rural Health Day (November 17, 2016). If the Center for Rural Health is unable to reach the winner, the entry will be forfeited, and the Center for Rural Health may choose a different winner. All photos will be posted on the Center for Rural Health’s Facebook page and website.

A panel of judges from the Center for Rural Health and the North Dakota Rural Health Association will critique the photos based on creativity, originality, photo quality, how well it communicates the concept of “rural health,” and overall appeal. There will also be a public vote on the top-10 photos in each division held on National Rural Health Day.

Submissions of photos will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. (CST) on Friday, November 11, 2016. Citizens within North Dakota are eligible to enter the contest. Each photo and caption is one submission; however, you may submit as many photos as you would like. All photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

Images must be royalty-free. By submitting a photo, you understand you have the right and permission of the owner of the photo to use it for this contest. Photos not meeting this requirement will not be eligible for prizes and will be disqualified from the National Rural Health Day Photo Contest.

To submit a photo, send a high-resolution version of the photo in a JPEG, GIF, or TIF file format to kylie.nissen@med.und.edu. Include a caption of the photo, any other information you would like included about the photo, your name, e-mail address, and phone number. Terms of use for the photo contest can be found on the Center for Rural Health’s website.

The National Rural Health Day efforts for North Dakota are facilitated by the Center for Rural Health and are supported by the North Dakota Rural Health Association. To learn more about National Rural Health Day, visit www.celebratepowerofrural.org.

Social Media—Work of Wilsnacks featured in "The Atlantic"

On our Facebook page, the work of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Sharon Wilsnack, PhD, and Professor Emeritus Richard Wilsnack, PhD, is featured in The Atlantic.

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about diabetes screening and about prediabetes medications 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

UND Today—"Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future"

The region’s leading Open Access publisher, the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota celebrates Open Access Week (#OpenAccessWeek) with the appearance of its most recent book, Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology.

More information about this and other UND news can be found in UND Today, UND's official news source.

"Changes in Clinical Diagnostics and Tracking Infectious Diseases"—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. October's presentation is "Changes in Clinical Diagnostics and Tracking Infectious Diseases." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

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UND scientists lead $3.6 million NIH study of weight regain and depression after bariatric surgery

Obesity is a national epidemic. More than one-third of adults in the United States face serious health risks if they don’t lose weight, from a reduced quality of life to heart disease to diabetes to some forms of cancer. For people who have tried to lose weight through diet and exercise and have failed or for people who have to lose weight because of serious health problems, bariatric surgery is an option.

Most patients respond well to bariatric surgery. But what happens when you regain weight after bariatric surgery? Some bariatric surgery patients who regain weight also struggle with depression. Researchers from the University of North Dakota are leading a study to identify problems experienced by patients who have undergone bariatric surgery and regained weight.

Research Assistant Professor Scott Engel, PhD; and Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor and Associate Chair Stephen Wonderlich, PhD, in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, are the principal investigators for the study that has received a $3.6 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an institute within the National Institutes of Health.

“Two out of three adult Americans are overweight or obese, and some are morbidly obese,” said Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the SMHS. “Bariatric surgery is a good option for those who are morbidly obese and otherwise unable to lose weight, but the surgery can be associated with its own set of problems. A better understanding of not only the benefits but also the downside of surgery is needed, and this study should help answer many of those questions.”

Engel and Wonderlich are also research scientists for the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, where Wonderlich is the president and scientific director, and Engel is the director of behavioral research. Wonderlich also is chair of the Sanford Eating Disorders and Weight Management Center in Fargo. Engel and Wonderlich have assembled a team of researchers from the SMHS and NRI as well as from coast to coast to collaborate in the study titled “Post-Surgical Predictors of Weight Regain and Depression after Bariatric Surgery”:

  • Deborah Safer, MD, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, Calif.
  • John Morton, MD, Stanford University Medical School.
  • John Gunstad, PhD, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.
  • Dale Bond, PhD, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Miriam Hospital, Providence, R.I.
  • Ross Crosby, PhD, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute and clinical professor in the UND SMHS Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health.
  • Luis Garcia, MD, clinical associate professor of surgery at the UND SMHS, and a surgeon at Sanford Health in Fargo.

“Our research group has done considerable work on clinical outcomes following bariatric surgery,” Engel said. “The present study will focus on clarification of problems related to weight regain and depression in a sample of patients, both in Fargo, N.Dak., and in Palo Alto, Calif., who have had bariatric surgery. Participants will carry smartphones that collect information on a daily basis, and this information will be used to predict problematic outcomes over a two- to three-year span.” 

Engel and Wonderlich hope the study will help to identify factors that increase the risk of negative outcomes following bariatric surgery. They believe that if such factors could be identified, it could lead to new treatment interventions, which would help to optimize bariatric surgery outcomes for more patients.

“This is important research for bariatric surgery patients,” Wonderlich said. “We are pleased to be able to draw on the talents of our research team to conduct these studies.”

Geiger selected for leadership team for Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network

Jonathan D. Geiger, PhD, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been selected to serve on the leadership team for the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network, a collaboration involving nine institutions in four states—Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas.

The Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network will be created by a $20 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (UNMC), the largest grant ever in the center’s history. Funding is provided through the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program and the NIH's National Institute of General Medical Studies. It will focus on developing early career researchers into independent scientists and increasing the infrastructure and other resources needed to support clinical/translational research (CTR) around the region.

In addition to UNMC, the Nebraska institutions involved in the network include the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and Boys Town National Research Hospital. Other participants are the University of South Dakota, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, and the University of Kansas Medical Center.

“The states involved in our grant are rural states, so we will put extra emphasis on projects that will benefit people in rural areas or the medically underserved,” said Matthew Rizzo, MD, principal investigator for the grant and professor and chair of the Department of Neurological Sciences at the UNMC.

“There is a strong aspect of community engagement,” said Rizzo. “There are many good ideas that need to be studied. We can’t wait to get going and recruit our first class of scholars and launch our first pilot projects.”

At the University of North Dakota, Geiger will serve as the institutional coordinator, where he will identify researchers who are early in their careers who deserve funding for their projects from the Great Plains IDeA-CTR Network.

Geiger has an internationally recognized background in translational research. He has served on NIH study sections. The National Institutes of Health is the nation's medical research agency and the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. He serves on the NeuroAIDS and Other End-Organ Diseases Study Section for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review, where he helps to review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science. These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in the United States.

Geiger is principal investigator for the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant on Pathophysiological Signaling in Neurodegenerative Diseases at the UND SMHS. In April 2016, Geiger was elected president of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology at the international society’s annual meeting in Krakow, Poland. Last year, Geiger received the society’s top award, the Joseph Wybran Award, for extraordinary contributions to the advancement of the fields of neuroimmunology, drugs of abuse, and immunity to infections.

“This a great opportunity for researchers at UND and in the region,” Geiger said. “They will get mentoring support and funding to conduct critical translational and clinical research.”

Mandatory PHS Financial Conflict of Interest Education session

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 a training session on Monday, November 21, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Presidents Room at the Memorial Union.

You only need to attend the 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.

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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