November 20, 2015

I hope that you had a chance to stop by the New Employee Reception that was held this past Wednesday on the Northeast (Grand Forks) Campus. We welcomed about five dozen new employees (faculty and staff) into our UND SMHS family; they are distributed among about 15 different departments, units, and programs. Especially during this growth phase at the School because of programmatic growth as well as the effect of the Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI, North Dakota’s plan to help address our current and future healthcare needs), it’s sure good to have a larger family with the addition of over 200 students as a result of the HWI!

And speaking of the HWI, one of its main tenets is the need to retain more of the graduates of our healthcare training programs for clinical practice in North Dakota. I found it instructive, then, when I saw an ad that Essentia Health placed in this past Sunday’s Fargo area newspaper, the Forum. Under a banner of “Welcome to the family,” the piece introduced five new primary care providers. What was striking was that four of the five are graduates of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences—three physicians and one physician assistant (the one outlier was a physician who had graduated from Creighton University). So to Doctors Jennifer Brottlund, Taylor Mertz, Katherine Neubauer, and Physician Assistant Taylor Fontaine, thanks for deciding to practice here in North Dakota!

Yesterday was National Rural Health Day, and the School was host to several dignitaries from out of town who were on hand to participate in a ceremony marking a change in the name of the Rural Assistance Center that is housed in the Center for Rural Health to the Rural Health Information Hub. Following the press conference announcing that event, the School sponsored a Dean’s Hour panel presentation titled “Rural Health Delivery System Reform” that was informative. The general focus of healthcare reform is on the triple aims of improving quality and access while reducing costs. And remember—when we speak of reducing healthcare costs, almost all health economists and legislators know that this means reducing the rate of growth of healthcare costs, not reducing total expenditures. Healthcare costs have grown over the last half-century by an average of about 2.5% more each year than the growth in the gross domestic product (GDP), something that is not sustainable over the long run. But if we could reduce the growth rate of healthcare expenditures to closer to the growth rate of the GDP, we could sustain that type of outlay for many decades. But the devil, as they say, is in the details.

Congratulations to third-year medical students Rebecca Asp and Hasanga Samaraweera! They received the Graduate Student Stone Soup Award from the UND Center for Community Engagement for their work with the Teddy Bear Clinic at the School, where local kindergartners bring their teddy bears in for a checkup. The children are partnered one-on-one with a medical student to perform an examination of their teddy. The clinic promotes good health and teaches the children to learn and speak about good health.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday next week, my next E-News column will be on Friday, December 4. Accordingly, Susan and I would like to wish you and yours all good things at Thanksgiving. And we hope to see those of you on the Grand Forks and regional campuses who join us in the following weeks when the SMHS will host holiday receptions as follows:

Please RSVP to our invitation.

We hope to see you there!  

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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Doctoral examination for Lisa Burnette is November 24

The doctoral examination for Lisa Burnette, a candidate for a PhD with a major in Microbiology and Immunology, is set for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 24, in Room 5520 at the SMHS in Grand Forks. Her dissertation title is "The Growth and Metabolic Effects of Pseudouridine Synthase Gene Deletion in the Escherichia Coli Strain BL21."

Associate Professor Ann Flower, director of the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, is the committee chair.

Everyone is invited to attend.

Wayne Swisher, Dean
School of Graduate Studies

Save the Date! 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, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and is supported by the following organizations:

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

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Van Gieson garners Graduate Student Travel Award from the Society of Toxicology

Jamie Van Gieson, a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Seema Somji of the Department of Pathology, has been awarded a Graduate Student Travel Award from the Society of Toxicology (SOT). This award provides support for Van Gieson to attend the 55th Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology in New Orleans, Louisiana, from March 13 to 17 of 2016.

Among the events specifically targeted to graduate students is the Graduate Student/Postdoctoral Fellow Mixer and the Graduate Student In Vitro Lecture and Luncheon sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive. She is also invited to participate in the SOT “Chat with an Expert” program held throughout the annual meeting and “Tox Show Down,” sponsored by the Graduate Student Leadership Committee.

In addition, Van Gieson will also present her poster on research performed as part of her PhD program at UND. Her presentation is titled “Role of Anterior Gradient 2 in a MCF-10A Cell Model of Arsenic Induced Breast Cancer.” Van Gieson’s research was partially supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103442.

Please note: November's Clean-Out Friday will be today

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday next Thursday, today is our Monthly Clean-Out Friday.

Get organized for the move to the new building!

On the last Friday of every month, 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. The last Friday of each month will be designated as 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

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 in 2016.

Several new and revised questions have been posted to 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

E-News will not be published on Friday, November 27

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, E-News will not be published next Friday, November 27. It will return the following Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Public Health Strategies to Prevent Preterm Birth"—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. November's presentation is "Public Health Strategies to Prevent Preterm Birth." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Congratulations, Rebecca Asp and Hasanga Samaraweera!

On our Facebook page, read about medical students Rebecca Asp and Hasanga Samaraweera, Stone Soup Award winners for community engagement.

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about new physical exam guidelines, and about knee replacement surgery in his latest Health Matters column, which can be found in the Grand Forks Herald every other Monday. Please submit any general health-related questions to

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

University Letter: UND again named Top Military-Friendly School

The University has once again been named a Top Military-Friendly University by Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) and will be listed in the 2016 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities, which serves as a research tool for service members, education services officers, and transition officers.

More information about this and other UND news can be found in the University Letter. Published on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is distributed electronically to the University community and is always available online. For more information, contact editor Jan Orvik at (701) 777-3621.

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Library of the Health Sciences Thanksgiving holiday hours

Library of the Health Sciences hours for the Thanksgiving holiday are the following:

  • Wednesday, November 25—7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. 
  • Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26—Closed
  • Friday, Nov. 27—8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 28—1 p.m.–5 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 29—1 p.m.–midnight
  • Monday, Nov. 30—7:30 a.m.–midnight  

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

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