September 4, 2015

Transitions occur in organizations as well as in life. I am very pleased to announce several new department chairs at the School.

  • Colin Combs, PhD, is the new chair of the Department of Basic Sciences. A renowned researcher and teacher who has won teaching awards from the medical students, Dr. Combs studies neurodegenerative diseases in the laboratory. He holds two revered R01 awards from the National Institutes of Health, probably the most prestigious awards extant. In our discussions during his candidacy for the position, I was impressed by the list of goals he has for the department over the next two years. His focus is on developing the research and teaching portfolio of each faculty member in the department, growing the research enterprise, and optimizing the student experience for learners.
  • Andrew McLean, MD, MPH, has joined the faculty in a new role. This month, he will assist in preparation for our upcoming LCME accreditation visit. On October 1, he will assume the chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. A psychiatrist by training, Andy has taught in the department for almost 25 years. One of the unique and intriguing aspects of his appointment is that he will be continuing his appointment as medical director for North Dakota’s Department of Human Services (DHS). Thus there should be wonderful opportunities for the School to partner even more closely with the DHS in the future; North Dakota faces a particular challenge in mental and behavioral health issues, and we look forward to exploring more ways to address this pressing public health challenge. I’m also pleased to indicate that Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Dr. James Mitchell, the retiring chair of the department, will remain on the faculty and continue his research and teaching contributions through the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo.
  • Christopher Tiongson, MD, is the new chair of the Department of Pediatrics. A graduate of the UND SMHS, Dr. Tiongson is a pediatric hospitalist with Sanford Health in Fargo. He will oversee pediatrics training for medical students throughout our system. I’m delighted that the former chair of pediatrics, Dr. Stephen Tinguely, has transitioned into a brand-new and exciting position at the School. He is our inaugural assistant dean for medical accreditation and chief medical accreditation officer and will oversee our Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation process.

And speaking of the LCME, here is an update on where we stand regarding LCME standard ED-30, which stipulates that students need to receive feedback and grades in a timely fashion. At the time of the initial LCME survey team visit in March 2014, we had thought that we were doing a good job of getting grades back to students after the end of their clerkships; the accepted delay is less than six weeks. But when the LCME chastised us for lapses in this regard, we discovered to our chagrin that the LCME was right, and we weren’t doing as well as we thought. So the faculty had to redesign the entire process by which students get their grades. They now use a secure, reliable computer-based system, and we can now proudly claim (and document) that all medical students get their final clerkship grades within the allowable six-week window.

I’d like to come back to Dr. Tinguely’s new role as it relates to the LCME process. Like most medical schools, we had (including our most recent LCME visit) started our preparation for an upcoming LCME survey team visit about two years before, with rather intense work for the 18 months before the actual visit. For example, our kickoff event before our March 2014 LCME survey team visit was on November 27, 2012, when we welcomed LCME Co-Secretary Barbara Barzansky and LCME Assistant Secretary Donna Waechter to the UND SMHS. As we approached the third anniversary of that visit, we realized that there was a better way to prepare—that was to look at LCME accreditation issues on an ongoing basis. After all, continuous quality improvement has for a long time been an accepted best-business practice, so we will be taking an analogous approach to compliance issues and integrate it into our curricular and student affairs management process. That’s where Dr. Tinguely comes in. In his new position as assistant dean for medical accreditation and chief medical accreditation officer, he will work with faculty and staff to prepare for the next LCME visit on a continuous basis between now and then. As assistant dean, he will report to Senior Associate Dean for Education Dr. Gwen W. Halaas and will be intimately involved in curricular management, but from the special vantage point of compliance and accreditation. As chief medical accreditation officer, he will report directly to me and function as an “internal auditor” for LCME accreditation issues. Thus, while we will continue to devote the year before our next full LCME survey team visit (that should occur in 2022) to making final preparations for that visit, we will be addressing LCME accreditation issues on a continuous basis that is integrally related to our routine and ongoing curricular management process.

Finally, thank you, Congressman Cramer! Yesterday, North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer took time out of his busy schedule to be our guest speaker at the inaugural Dean’s Hour for the 2015–2016 academic year. He gave a brief national perspective on healthcare and then spent the bulk of the noon hour answering questions about healthcare from the audience composed of students, faculty, and staff of the School and the wider UND community who were our guests for lunch. We were close to a full house, and we were pleased to have a wide range of students from the basic sciences, health sciences, and medicine in addition to students from nursing and other health disciplines across campus. We especially appreciated the effort that College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines Dean Gayle Roux made to join us. Congressman Cramer answered a variety of questions deftly while injecting a good deal of North Dakota humor. We also may have identified areas where the expertise of UND faculty, staff, and students could be a resource to Representative Cramer and his staff in formulating federal healthcare legislation. We look forward to doing our part to help. Well done, Congressman Cramer!

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


Recent Educational Policies to Review

Conflict of Interest for Assessment.

Conflict of Interest for Standing Committees.

View all of the School's Policies and Procedures.

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"Updates on Appendicitis" is today's Surgery Grand Rounds topic

Katherine Senter, MD, PGY IV surgery resident in the Department of Surgery, will be presenting her talk titled "Updates on Appendicitis" from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. today, September 4, in the UND Medical Education Center Auditorium in Fargo.  

The objectives of her talk are the following:

  1. Provide a differential diagnosis for RLQ pain.
  2. Discuss the Alvarado Score for diagnosis of appendicitis.
  3. Consider nonoperative management of appendicitis.

This Surgery Grand Rounds Conference, sponosored by the UND School of Medcine 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
Department of Surgery

Outdoor Nation Campus Challenge is September 6–October 17

UND is participating in the Outdoor Nation (ON) Campus Challenge, an effort put on by the Outdoor Foundation and 59 schools throughout the country to try and get the most people outside and active. The school that gets the most people outdoors and documenting those experiences on during the six-week period (September 6–October 17) will win the National Outdoor Championship. Prizes are also awarded weekly and for participating in sponsored events to individuals that record their activities.

Check out the UND Outdoor Nation Challenge Events during the challenge. Please help promote and participate in this great activity.

Patrick J. Marcoe
Assistant Director of Wellness Programs
Health & Wellness
University of North Dakota

"An Evening with Dr. John Graham" is September 9

The Lake Region Heritage Center presents "An Evening with Dr. John Graham" from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Center, 502 4th Street NE, in Devils Lake.

Son of the late Dr. John Graham Sr., cofounder of the Lake Region Clinic, Dr. Graham, a 1953 BS Med graduate of the SMHS, shares his knowledge of the history of medicine in the Lake Region, his own experiences as a doctor, and humorous personal anecdotes of growing up in Starkweather and Devils Lake. Quick witted and a gifted speaker, Dr. Graham brings nearly 40 years of medical experience and a lifetime of stories for an entertaining evening at the Lake Region Heritage Center.

Admission: $5. Members: Free

"Epigenetic reprogramming in cancer and neurogenesis" is on September 10

Lawrence Sowers, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, is the invited speaker for the Epigenetics COBRE Seminar series.

His talk, "Epigenetic reprogramming in cancer and neurogenesis," will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 10, in the Clifford Haugen Lecture Hall, Room 1360, at the SMHS in Grand Forks.

All are welcome to attend.

This seminar is cosponsored by the Department of Basic Sciences and the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) for Epigenomics.

Mary Bohlman
Administrative Assistant
Department of Basic Sciences 

Community invited to participate in Joggin’ with Josh on September 10

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, University of North Dakota vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, invites the community and all students, faculty, and staff at the School and the University to advocate healthful lifestyles by joining him for Joggin' with Josh, an informal 5K, 10K, or 1-mile walk, jog, or run on Thursday, September 10. This is a free public event. Everyone is welcome to participate, so please bring your family and friends.

A sign-up table will be in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences' main lobby facing Columbia Road; sign-up and T-shirt pickup starts at 4 p.m. The dean will speak to the group before the event, which starts at 4:30 p.m. To get a head start on your fellow participants, please complete the sign-up form and bring it with you to the SMHS. Forms will also be available in the main lobby before the event. 

Walkers, joggers, and runners are asked to gather on the front steps before taking off on a route down University Avenue and along the outskirts of campus. A water station will be located at the halfway point of the 5K, and water and healthful snacks will be available after the event.

Save the Date—School welcomes new associate deans and chairs on September 30

University of North Dakota Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Joshua Wynne invites you to join him in welcoming the School’s new associate deans and founding chairs. The event will be held on Wednesday, September 30, from 2 to 4 p.m., with a brief program at 2 p.m., in the Vennes Atrium at the School, 501 North Columbia Road, Grand Forks.

Dean Wynne will formally welcome the following internationally recognized, distinguished faculty to the School:

  • Marc D. Basson, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, Associate Dean for Medicine.
  • Richard Van Eck, PhD, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning and Founding Dr. David and Lola Rognlie Monson Endowed Professor in Medical Education.
  • Donald Jurivich, DO, Founding Eva L. Gilbertson, MD, Distinguished Chair of Geriatrics.
  • Gary G. Schwartz, PhD, MPH, PhD, Founding Chair of the Department of Population Health.

Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Register today! American Indian Health Research Conference is October 23

The 13th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference provides a daylong event with national speakers, researchers, students, and community members. This is an opportunity to learn about how to do research with American Indian communities, what research needs to be done in American Indian communities, for students to present their research with American Indians, and for communities, tribal colleges, and researchers to partner with one another.

Save the Date! 

  • Friday, October 23, 2015 
    8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
    Alerus Center, Grand Forks 
  • Keynote Speaker: Dorothy A. Rhoades
    Dorothy A. Rhoades, MD, MPH, is the director of American Indian Cancer Research Initiatives for the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center and, as a hospitalist, also serves as an academic faculty member in the Department of Internal Medicine with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Rhoades is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. 

Register Today

  • Register for the conference by Wednesday, October 21.
  • Book lodging at the Canad Inns by September 22. Call (888) 332-2623. For block of rooms at state rate of $74.40, refer to American Indian Health Research group reservation.
    Please note: You will need to provide a credit card to guarantee the room. 

Call for Posters

Dr. Alan J. Allery Health Research Award

  • Call for nominations due October 1!
    This prestigious scholarship is presented to two ambitious American Indian students, one graduate and one undergraduate, in recognition of conducting research dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Native Americans throughout the country.
    Learn more.

For more information, visit American Indian Health Research Conference or contact Kenneth Davis or (701) 335-3072.

The 13th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference is funded by

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Dahl selected as national leadership scholar

Lindsey Dahl, MD, clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the SMHS and an SMHS Department of Geriatrics faculty member, was among an elite group of young U.S. geriatricians to be accepted into the 2015–16 Tideswell, American Geriatrics Society (AGS), and the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs National Leadership Development Program sponsored by the AGS and the Tideswell Foundation. Dahl practices internal medicine at the Sanford Health Southpointe Clinic in Fargo.    

Three senior faculty members at the SMHS will assist Dahl in her leadership development through weekly meetings: Senior Associate Dean for Education Gwen W. Halaas, MD, MBA; Donald Jurivich, DO, the founding Eva L. Gilbertson, MD, Distinguished Chair of Geriatrics; and Gary G. Schwartz, PhD, MPH, PhD, the founding chair of the Department of Population Health. They will support her vision of improving interprofessional geriatrics education, integration of geriatrics into primary care, and creation of a statewide effort to improve senior safety—especially to rural and Native American populations—through innovative falls prevention programs.  

Congratulations to Lindsey, Sanford Health, and the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences for garnering this honor!

Richard Marsden, MD 
Senior Executive Vice President of Sanford Clinic 
Sanford Health, Fargo

Donald Jurivich, DO
Founding Eva L. Gilbertson, MD, Distinguished Chair of Geriatrics 

Share Your Story: Working with Rural Communities

The Center for Rural Health wants to hear from you! Located within the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the CRH has been working with rural communities since 1980. We are looking for examples of other departments and programs on campus working closely in various capacities with rural communities throughout North Dakota. Our goal is to share these stories for the 5th Annual National Rural Health Day on November 19, 2015.

Submit a summary of your work with rural communities by Friday, October 23, 2015.


Contact Nikki Massmann or (701) 777-4205. 

National Rural Health Day Photo Contest

November 19, 2015, is the 5th Annual National Rural Health Day. The Center for Rural Health is sponsoring a photo contest to celebrate. Share your creativity of what rural means to you with the Center for Rural Health by submitting a photo!

Prizes will be awarded to the top three photos in each of the two divisions.

You could win

  • 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 19, 2015).

Learn More

Learn more about the photo contest and how to submit your entry. Photos are due by Friday, November 13.

Host a Scrubs Camp in Your Community

The Rural Collaborative Opportunities for Occupational Learning in Health (R-COOL-Health) Scrubs Camp program is an opportunity for students in Grades 5–12 to learn about healthcare professions in fun, interactive ways. The Center for Rural Health and the North Dakota Area Health Education Center provide funding and support to communities to host a local Scrubs Camp. Grant proposals for the 2015–2016 Scrubs Camps are now being accepted.

An informational technical assistance call is taking place on Thursday, September 10, 2015, from 3:15 to 4:00 p.m. CDT. Call in number is 1-866-809-4014, Passcode 7773294. Proposals must be received by e-mail (not postmarked) by 4:00 p.m. CDT October 1, 2015.

The full guidance for submitting your proposal can be found on the Scrubs Camp project webpage. For more information or to submit your proposal, contact Kylie Nissen at the Center for Rural Health at 701-777-5380 or

Date Change! Call for Presentations—2016 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health

Rural and public health professionals are encouraged to submit abstracts for the 2016 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health. Both oral and poster presentations should feature community or research projects that use creative strategies, facilitate the collaboration between rural and public health entities, can be replicated, and have an emphasis on education and developing partnerships. Abstract submissions must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on Thursday, October, 1, 2015. Visit the Dakota Conference website for details on submitting an abstract.

The Dakota Conference is Coordinated and Facilitated by the Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Supported by

Contact Kylie Nissen or 701-777-5380.

"Preventing Suicide: A Comprehensive Public Health Approach"—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. September's presentation is "Preventing Suicide: A Comprehensive Public Health Approach." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Health Matters—How to pinpoint the causes of headaches

On our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about how to pinpoint the causes of headaches, and about an update on the use of statin medications to treat high cholesterol 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: Storrs and Halaas cochairs of search for dean of the School of Graduate Studies

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

The external search will begin this fall. The school’s current interim Dean Dr. Wayne Swisher has agreed to remain in his role through the hiring of the next dean. Provost Thomas DiLorenzo has named Debbie Storrs, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Gwen W. Halaas, senior associate dean for Education at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, as cochairs for the external search from among the campus deans and has met with them to map out a plan for the search.

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

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Library of the Health Sciences hours for Labor Day holiday

Library of the Health Sciences hours for the Labor Day holiday are the following:

Labor Day holiday September 4–September 7

Friday, Sept. 4—7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. 
Saturday, Sept. 5—1 p.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 6—1 p.m.–5 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 7, Labor Day—1 p.m.–midnight
Tuesday, Sept. 8—7:30 a.m.–midnight  

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

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