February 5, 2016

The big news this week—not only for the SMHS but all of higher education and other state agencies—obviously was the state budget situation. As you undoubtedly are aware, the state’s revenue collections for the 2015–2017 biennium are and are projected to continue to be down significantly. Accordingly, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has ordered a 4.05 percent reduction in the current biennial funding for almost all state agencies, including the SMHS. Because we are already more than seven months into the biennium, it’s effectively about a 5.7 percent cut of remaining funds. As I mentioned last week, we will deal with this funding challenge by sticking to our mission, prioritizing, and striving to be fair. Because the governor’s announcement was made less than five days ago, the details of what will be required by the North Dakota University System and UND through President Schafer are yet to be fully fleshed out. Once we have more details, I’ll be able to inform you more fully.

But we run a lean ship, and through the Healthcare Workforce Initiative, we’ve developed a strategic approach that needs to continue. Accordingly, we already are working to identify budgetary approaches that should allow us to continue our vital missions of teaching, learning, and healthcare workforce development; scholarship and research; and service to the people of North Dakota. Yes, we may need to delay the implementation of new or expanded programs. Yes, we may need to scale back the rapidity of some of our growth. Yes, we will need to look even harder to identify efficiencies, economies, and savings. But I am confident that we will be able to continue our vital projects and missions at the same time that we become even more efficient. I know that you will stay tuned—I should have more specifics to share with you over the next few weeks.

And speaking of our teaching mission, I’m very pleased to highlight and commend the recent accomplishments of the faculty and students in two of our health sciences departments. This past weekend, student members of the Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society in our Department of Occupational Therapy along with students from the University of Mary Pi Theta Epsilon chapter and the North Dakota State College of Science cosponsored the 9th Annual North Dakota Occupational Therapy Student Conference in Fargo. This conference, which was student directed and student funded, attracted an enthusiastic audience that heard about a variety of OT topics. And Peggy Mohr, PT, PhD, a professor in our Department of Physical Therapy achieved certification from the international Team-Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC). The TBLC will recognize Dr. Mohr’s achievement at its upcoming annual meeting this spring.

Dr. Mohr was lauded for her success in transforming a traditional lecture course into a team-based learning approach recently. She has continued to work with her physical therapy colleagues to incorporate active-learning strategies into additional courses.

These and many other activities and programs of the School will continue—and grow—in the future, even in the face of the current budget issues. Our budget challenges, while real, will be handled without sacrificing the quality of our programs or initiatives, or imperiling the important work you do each and every day for each of our three core missions—teaching, scholarship and research, and service to the community and profession. Please keep up the excellent work.

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


Recent Educational Policies to Review

Automatic Dismissal of First-Year Medical Students.

Inhibiting Conditions for Health Sciences and Medical Students.

Student Bloodborne & Biological Pathogen Exposure Management.

Conflict of Interest for Assessment.

Conflict of Interest for Standing Committees.

View all of the School's Policies and Procedures.

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Occupational Therapy 2016 St. Catherine Challenge is February 5–12

UND Occupational Therapy students are seeking to raise funding for the St. Catherine Challenge. The St. Catherine Challenge is a student-led initiative to build the profession of occupational therapy through raising funds for research in support of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation's mission.

Schools of occupational therapy across the nation take on the challenge, create their own fundraisers, engage their communities in the effort, and come together at the annual AOTA conference to cheer for the cause. Donations are used exclusively to fund and promote research into occupational therapy and thus advance the science of everyday living. As charter members of the St. Catherine Challenge, we are eager to engage in fundraising for this challenge.

As student coordinators for the UND Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), working under the supervision of Dr. Anne Haskins, we feel as though it is of the utmost importance to create exciting fundraising opportunities among our OT peers to encourage involvement in the St. Catherine Challenge. We will be holding a silent auction at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to auction off our fellow Student Occupational Therapy Association members to faculty, staff, or students within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences who could use assistance with a task. Individuals in the Department of Occupational Therapy who are interested in offering their time and skills will be “rented” by the winning bidders for an afternoon. Winning bidders will be allowed to “rent” students on behalf of other individuals whom they know may be in need of assistance (e.g., a friend needing help moving or a parent requiring cleaning help). Following the auction, the students will contact the highest bidders to establish details regarding time and place.

Services that students may provide include cleaning, shoveling snow, raking leaves, babysitting, supervising children at a birthday party, painting, moving, designing, organizing, and much more. However, there are restrictions to the nature of services that can be provided: no transportation of people, no power tools, no activities involving fire or explosives, and no activities involving heights or tasks that place one in danger.

Any SOTA participant is able to deny particular activities requested of him or her if he or she does not feel comfortable completing the task requested. The most important requirement is that OT students must be rented in pairs. The pair of OT students will be required to report to Dr. Grabanski or designated SOTA representative via phone (call or text) at the time he or she arrives at the destination requested, as well as immediately after leaving his or her location to ensure the safety of each student.

The silent auction will take place February 5–12. Please e-mail bids to amber.daly@UND.edu. Please include your name, bid amount, phone number, and e-mail address. It is preferred that the subject of the e-mail read "Rent an OT." We will take the highest bids and match each with the number of students who have volunteered for this event. For example, if 20 students volunteer, they would be in groups of two; therefore, we would accept and notify the 10 highest bidders. The three weeks following the auction is the time span that the bidders would be available to use the students for up to four hours of service to the bidders.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Amber Daly or Samantha Coyle

Amber Daly and Samantha Coyle
Second-Year and First-Year Occupational Therapy Students

Donald Jurivich is invited panelist for "The Age of Love" documentary on February 14

Donald Jurivich, DO, the founding Eva L. Gilbertson, MD, Distinguished Chair of Geriatrics at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been invited by Sanford Health in Fargo to participate in a panel discussion after the showing of the documentary The Age of Love.

The documentary is sponsored by AARP as part of their new drive to counter ageism. The film is an account of older single adults who join a speed dating event at their local senior center.

Admission to the documentary is free. It will be shown at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, at the Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway in Fargo. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Jurivich is among a group of panelists with backgrounds in geriatrics and gerontology who will preside over a post-movie question-and-answer period focused on the emotional, social, and physical dimensions of love in late life.

Shelly Peltier will present on Native American behavioral health on February 18

The Seven Generations Center of Excellence presents Shelly Peltier, PhD, who will present her talk titled “Native American Behavioral Health” at 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 18, in the Medora Room in the Memorial Union on the UND campus in Grand Forks.

Bring your lunch and join us! Peltier will present for one hour with discussion and questions to follow.

Shelly Peltier is a licensed clinical psychologist and has been working for the Indian Health Service Behavioral Health Department for the past 22 years. She currently serves as the director of the program, a position she has held for 14 years. Peltier earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of North Dakota. She completed her internship and postdoctoral training at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and has served on the advisory board for the Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) Program at UND. Peltier is currently an adjunct professor for the UND psychology program and a member of the North Dakota State Hospital Governing Board. She works with all age groups and and addresses all types of mental health disorders. Peltier is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Nikki Massmann, BS
Communication Coordinator
Center for Rural Health

Mark V. Pauly presents next Dean's Hour on February 18

Mark V. Pauly, PhD, Bendheim Professor in the Department of Health Care Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is the next Dean's Hour Speaker at noon on Thursday, February 18, in the Reed Keller Auditorium, Room 1350, at the SMHS in Grand Forks. The title of his presentation is "Health Care Cost Containment That Does More Good than Harm: What Are Our Choices?"

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/jfe/form/SV_bruIldYWGsXlOaF.

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

  • Bismarck, Southwest Campus, Room 2108.
  • Fargo, Southeast Campus, Room 220.
  • 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. 

Lori L. Sannes, Administrative Officer
Office of the Dean

Save the Date for Spirit Week—February 22–26

The desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes.

What would UND look like without philanthropy? There would be no Chester Fritz Library, no John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, no Ralph Engelstad Arena, no Gorecki Alumni Center, no scholarships.

So, let’s celebrate those who’ve helped make UND great during Spirit Week from February 22 to February 26.

  • Monday, February 22
    Media Monday: Tell us why you love UND! Tweet or Instragram #UNDSpirit all week for prizes!
  • Tuesday, February 23 
    Mug Up to Philanthropy: Warm up with FREE hot cocoa, play UND trivia, and learn about those who make UND great!
    11 a.m.–2 p.m.
    Memorial Union
  • Wednesday, February 24 
    Pay it Forward Wednesday: Show your spirit and Pay it Forward.
    11 a.m.–2 p.m.
    Memorial Union
  • Thursday, February 25 
    Thank-a-Thon: Private gifts make your UND education possible, so thank a donor! Stop by the entrance to the Harley French Library of the Health Sciences to write a thank you. Grab a cookie and a bottle of water or juice.
    1 p.m.–3 p.m.
  • Friday, February 26 
    Spirit Day: Got green? Show it! Wear your UND gear and get UND Birthday Cake!
    11 a.m.–2 p.m.
    Memorial Union

Community Showcases

In a collaborative effort, the Center for Rural Health, the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and the North Dakota Area Health Education Center (AHEC) will be hosting four events this spring called the Community Showcases. These events will be held in Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck.

  • Minot: Thursday, March 10, 2016
    Center for Family Medicine
    1201 11th Avenue SW
    6:00–9:00 p.m.
  • Grand Forks: Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Altru Health System, basement meeting Rooms A–D
    1200 S. Columbia Road
    5:00–8:00 p.m.
  • Fargo: Thursday, March 31, 2016
    Southeast Campus Medical Education Building/VA Campus
    1919 Elm Street North
    5:00–8:00 p.m.
  • Bismarck: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
    Center for Family Medicine, Sanford Auditorium, 4th Floor
    701 E Rosser Avenue
    5:00–8:00 p.m.

Purpose of the events
These events are designed to allow North Dakota hospitals and healthcare facilities a chance to meet and talk with current third- and fourth-year medical students as well as residents in an effort to recruit and retain them here in our state after the completion of medical training.

Structure of the events
North Dakota healthcare facilities will have a practicing provider and an administrative team member in attendance to give a brief presentation about what it’s like to live and practice in their particular community. Medical students and residents will supply information about themselves, such as specialty area they are considering, hometown, and special interests, in order to be able to connect with facilities who might be able to meet their personal and professional needs.

Spouses and significant others are invited to attend the events with the medical students; we know it is important for families to be involved in the job-seeking process.

Light appetizers will be served.

To register a booth as a healthcare facility, click here.

To RSVP as a medical student or resident, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact

Michelle Montgomery, MSW, LCSW
Project Coordinator
Office of Primary Care
Department of Family and Community Medicine
(701) 777-5485


Stacy Kusler
Workforce Specialist
Center for Rural Health
(701) 777-3300

Save the Date: Frank Low Research Day is Thursday, April 7

Frank Low Research Day is Thursday, April 7, at the SMHS in Grand Forks. Students and faculty in basic sciences, health sciences, and clinical departments are encouraged to participate in the poster presentations, which will be displayed in the upper and lower Vennes Atrium of the School.

Call for abstracts, registration, and more information will be forthcoming. For more information, please contact Joann Johnson, (701) 777-6269.

Joann Johnson
Frank Low Research Day Coordinator

Register now for Building Building Better Brains Symposium

The two UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence—the Center for Neurodegenerative Disorder Research and the Epigenomics of Development and Disease—will sponsor a two-day neuroepigenetics symposium, “Building Better Brains,” on April 11 and 12, 2016, at the Gorecki Alumni Center in Grand Forks.

The keynote speaker will be Eric Nestler, MD, PhD, Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, where he serves as chair of the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Friedman Brain Institute. Other prominent guest speakers will be Drs. Detlev Boison, Avtar Roopra, Jungsu Kim, and Peng Jin.

More information on the schedule of events, registration, guest speakers, and data blitz presentations can be found at http://www.med.und.edu/epigenetics/symposium2016.cfm.

Bonnie Kee
Administrative Assistant
Department of Basic Sciences

Altru Health System’s “The Team Approach to Diabetes” is April 28

Altru Health System’s "The Team Approach to Diabetes" will be from 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. on April 28 at the Alerus Center, 1200 42nd Street South, in Grand Forks. The conference is geared toward the health professional who cares for people with diabetes. The purpose of the conference is to provide recommendations for the best practices to improve diabetes care with a focus on the life span continuum of care. The symposium will be focused on the discussion of actual cases encountered every day.

Preregistration is required. No refunds will be provided. Lunch is included for pre-paid and preregistered participants only.

Fees and Payment

Physicians and Health Professionals (non-Altru employees): $80
Residents and Students: $30
Altru Employees: $20

Register online or view the conference brochure for further details and a printable registration form.

Register Now! 2016 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health

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.

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Mohr achieves national certification from TBLC

Peggy Mohr, PT, PhD, a professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, achieved certification from the international Team-Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC). The TBLC will recognize Mohr’s achievement at its 15th annual meeting March 3–5 in Albuquerque, N.Mex.

The Team-Based Learning Collaborative is an international, not-for-profit, and volunteer-supported organization that encourages the use of team-based learning (TBL). TBL is an evidence-based educational tool where student teams are responsible for researching, developing, and conveying course concepts. The students are guided by an instructor who has specialized training in TBL.

In his letter announcing Mohr’s certification, Paul Koles, MD, the chair of the TBLC Training and Certification Committee, noted that the reviewers at the TBLC were impressed with the quality of Mohr’s portfolio. Koles, the chair of the Department of Pathology at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, said, “We congratulate you on this well-deserved achievement.”

Through the help of her colleagues, Mohr transitioned a traditional lecture course to a team-based learning approach in 2013. Since that time, she has continued to work with her physical therapy colleagues to incorporate active-learning strategies in additional courses. This collaborative work was the basis of Mohr’s acceptance into the TBLC Training and Accreditation Program in 2014. She completed her rigorous two-year development program and earned her certification as a TBLC Training Consultant in January 2016 after demonstrating her capability in developing and facilitating the delivery of TBL courses and in mentoring and supporting others in implementing TBL. As a training consultant, Mohr joins an international network of trainers and mentors who support faculty and institutions in implementing and improving TBL course delivery.

“The physical therapy program has always incorporated active learning strategies for clinical skills,” said David Relling, PT, PhD, associate professor of physical therapy and chair of the SMHS Department of Physical Therapy. “With team-based learning, Dr. Mohr brought the same student engagement, collaboration and higher order thinking into the classroom. She has skillfully transitioned multiple courses into the TBL format because it promotes critical attributes for today’s healthcare environment, such as problem-solving skills, communication, personal accountability, and collaboration. Dr. Mohr’s recognized expertise in development and implementation of TBL will be a tremendous asset for the department and school as we move to a building where the design facilitates active learning strategies.”

“My peers during TBL training were amazed when they learned that the UND SMHS’s new building is designed to enhance and foster active learning pedagogies,” Mohr said. “The new building for the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences is evidence that North Dakota is at the apex of teaching healthcare professionals.”

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Occupational Therapy Student Conference is a success

On Saturday, January 30, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Occupational Therapy student members of Pi Theta Epsilon Honor Society, the University of Mary Pi Theta Epsilon chapter, and the North Dakota State College of Science cosponsored the 9th Annual North Dakota Occupational Therapy Student Conference in Fargo. Topics shared by the four speakers included occupational therapy’s role in aquatic therapy and the neonatal intensive care unit, what it’s like to be a traveling therapist, and the first-year experience as a practicing occupational therapist.

We are very proud to report a packed house of 103 attendees. Five area occupational therapy programs were represented: University of North Dakota SMHS; University of Mary in Bismarck, N.Dak.; ND State School of Science in Wahpeton; Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minn., and Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.Dak.

The conference is student directed and student funded. This was the best attendance the conference has recorded in its nine years. Conference organizers are excitedly planning and preparing for the 10th conference in 2017 when the profession of occupational therapy also celebrates 100 years.

Kelsey Glatt, UND Occupational Therapy Student
President, PTE, Kappa Chapter

Sonia Zimmerman, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Adviser, UND PTE Kappa Chapter

Seema Somji and Bethany Davis to serve as officers for Northland Chapter of Society of Toxicology

The Northland Chapter of the Society of Toxicology elected Seema Somji, PhD, and Bethany Davis to serve as officers. Somji, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, will serve as a councillor, and Davis is the graduate student representative.

The Northland Chapter of the Society of Toxicology is one of 18 regional chapters dedicated to supporting the development and application of sound science in the field of toxicology.

Mary Ann Sens
MD, PhD, Professor and Chair
Department of Pathology 

"Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Advancing Research and Clinical Education"—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. February's presentation is "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Advancing Research and Clinical Education." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Photos from Physician Assistant White Coat Ceremony

View photos of the Physician Assistant Class of 2017 White Coat Ceremony on the SMHS Flickr page.

On our Facebook page, in a KVLY TV interview, Professor Mary Ann Sens, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Pathology at the SMHS, says drugs now claim more lives in the Red River Valley than car accidents.

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about curbing childhood obesity, and about sudden death or sudden cardiac arrest 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: Seven presidential candidates will be invited to interview on campus

The University of North Dakota presidential search committee interviewed presidential candidates in-person in Minneapolis to narrow the list of 16 candidates to seven.

"I was highly impressed with the level of experience that these individuals brought to our search and the specific qualifications each one has to meet the needs of our students and build our campus legacy into the future," UND Presidential Search Committee Cochair Hesham El-Rewini said. "We look forward to each candidate visiting our university to meet our faculty, staff, students, and community members. These visits will be essential in showcasing our beautiful campus and engaging our various constituents in the process.”

“We are pleased with the wealth of experience embodied by the candidates of this presidential search,” UND Presidential Search Committee Cochair Grant Shaft said. “As we progress through the next phase of this search we are confident that we will discover who will be the best fit to serve the campus and community.”

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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Mandatory PHS Financial Conflict of Interest Education Session

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

  • Tuesday, April 12, from 2 to 3 p.m. 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; 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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