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School of Medicine and Health Sciences


Grand Forks, ND

October 17, 2014

Last Tuesday, Lynette Dickson, MS, RD, LRD, associate director of the Center for Rural Health at the School, and I traveled to Minot for the quarterly meeting, hosted by Trinity Health, of administrators from the critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the northwest part of the state. By the way, there are 36 CAHs across North Dakota; they provide much of the hospital-based healthcare in rural areas and are limited to no more than 25 beds. We were there to brief the group on the efforts of the School and the Center in support of rural healthcare. The discussions were productive and informative. One of the issues we discussed was emergency medical services (EMS) support in rural areas. It turns out that the state Legislature approved funding for the North Dakota Department of Health, Division of EMS and Trauma to explore the community paramedicine model through demonstration projects that are in progress in Fargo, Rugby, Medora, and Bowman. And Lynette was able to discuss those efforts with the group. The presentations and discussion were so good that what was billed as a two-hour meeting ended up running for over four hours. It was time well spent.

One of the projects that we discussed with the CAH representatives is a major study that the Center for Rural Health is overseeing to evaluate cardiac-care systems. Thanks to a generous grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Project Director Ralph Renger, PhD, of the Center and his colleagues will be studying the cardiac-care systems in rural areas of seven northern Plains states, including the Dakotas, with a particular emphasis on evaluating the effectiveness of the LUCAS-2 device, which performs cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with a mechanical plunger. A rigorous process of evaluation is essential to ensure that the systems and devices being deployed really achieve the desired outcomes intended. Congratulations to Dr. Renger for being awarded this major grant, and thanks to the Helmsley Foundation for seeing the importance of doing this type of research, which will have a direct effect on subsequent patient care.

I begin a series of lectures for the second-year medical students next week. I teach in the second two-month block of the second year (Block 6) on cardiovascular pathophysiology. As I’ve prepared my lectures over the last few weeks, I was struck by one real challenge of medical education—how to incorporate all of the new information and knowledge that we have today without discarding the essential basis of what we’ve known before. The doubling time for new medical knowledge is getting shorter all the time, and I’ve seen estimates that it’s now as short as only a few years. One estimate is that it will be only 73 days by the year 2020! Since I only have 55 minutes for each lecture (and a Q&A period), it’s a real challenge to keep the discussions up to date without eliminating important foundational information. I don’t think that I’ve come up with a good answer to the predicament, other than by being as careful as I can be about which topics to include and which to defer. Perhaps most important of all is to instill the discipline of lifelong learning, since much of what we consider gospel today in my field of cardiology for example will be supplanted in the future. We must ensure that our students of today continue to be students throughout their careers; otherwise, they will be practicing 2014 medicine in 2050!

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

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Annie Nickum

     Research and Education Librarian

Annie Nickum will begin employment as a Research and Education Librarian in the Harley E. French Library of the Health Sciences on October 20. Her supervisor is Kelly Thormodson.

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"Current Management of Gallbladder Carcinoma" is today's Surgery Grand Rounds topic

Robert P. Sticca, MD, chair, program director, and professor of surgery, will be presenting his talk titled “Current Management of Gallbladder Carcinoma” from  Sanford Health Clinic B2 in Fargo today from 8 to 9 a.m.

The objectives of his talk are the following:

  1. Recognize appropriate stage of gallbladder cancer.
  2. Identify current treatment recommendations for gallbladder cancer.
  3. Recommend surgical resection for gallbladder cancer when indicated.
  4. Manage gallbladder cancer by stage.

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 and Faculty Coordinator
Department of Surgery

United Way 2014 campaign kicks off

UND’s 2014 United Way Campaign, “Telling Our Story: Live UNiteD,” kicked off on Wednesday, October 15, at the Memorial Union Badlands Room. 

Those attending saw samples of toys being made by the Technology 110 class taught by Alex Johnson to be donated to the United Way-sponsored Toys for Tots Program. They also watched the premiere of the 2014 United Way campaign video, narrated by United Way 2014 Campaign Chair Dave Molmen, CEO of Altru Health System, and SMHS Northeast (Grand Forks) Campus representative on the SMHS Advisory Council. 

Last year, members of the UND family contributed just over $100,000 to support our local United Way and its partner agencies. This year’s campaign goal for the United Way of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks is to raise $1,075,000. In past years, approximately 10 percent of the local campaign goal has been met by the contributions from UND faculty, staff, and students. With your help, UND will continue to be an exceptional community partner in 2014.

The UND campaign will run from October 15 through November 7. For additional information, please visit the United Way Grand Forks/East Grand Forks website.

Please watch a short message from UND President Robert and First Lady Marcia Kelley.

Thank you!

Fred Wittmann
Chair, 2014 UND United Way Campaign
(701) 777-2731

"Rent-an-OT"—Student Occupational Therapy Association fundraising for the St. Catherine Challenge

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 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’s 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 the 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 (SOTA) 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 that 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. Anne Haskins or designated SOTA representative via phone (call or text) at the time he or she arrives to 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 the week of October 13–17. A box will be in place on the green shelf under the video monitor near the lecture halls by the south entrance of the SMHS in Grand Forks, and bids can be placed throughout the week on slips of paper with the person's name, number, and amount of money they would donate for this service. 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 four hours of service to them.

If you have any questions, please e-mail Kirsten Marschke or Amber Daly.

Kirsten Marschke and Amber Daly
Second-Year and First-Year Occupational Therapy Students

12th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference is October 23

The 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 and 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

Thursday, October 23
8:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Alerus Center
1200 S. 42nd St.
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Keynote Speaker

Dave Baldridge, Board Member and Executive Director
International Association for Indigenous Aging in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Dr. Alan J. Allery Health Research Award

Presented to promising American Indian health researchers
Learn more

The 12th Annual American Indian Health Research Conference is funded by the following organizations:

For more information, visit or contact Sloan Henry.

Sixth Annual ND INBRE Undergraduate Research Symposium is October 23

The sixth annual ND INBRE Undergraduate Research Symposium is on Thursday, October 23, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. ND INBRE is the North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. The goal of ND INBRE is to build biomedical research capacity by serving research universities, baccalaureate institutions, and tribal colleges within the state.

Register for the conference by Monday, October 20. Please encourage undergraduate and graduate students to attend. New students are welcome.

Submit poster abstract by Friday, October 17. Please encourage undergraduate and graduate students to present a poster.

Symposium agenda.

Karen Cisek, MS
Program Development
North Dakota INBRE

Premed Day is November 1, register by October 24

Anyone who is interested in learning about a career as a physician or in the process of applying to medical school is invited to attend the annual Premed Day on Saturday, November 1, from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences (UND SMHS) in Grand Forks.

Organized by the UND SMHS Student Council, this is a wonderful opportunity for college undergraduates and high school juniors and seniors who are thinking about becoming a physician. Individuals who have applied to medical school and who need more specific information on the admissions process may also attend.

The morning session consists of speakers who will introduce participants to the medical school and the UND premed and medical school curricula. Panels of medical students will discuss what medical school is like.

The afternoon session will provide an overview of the admissions process, and local physicians will talk about their lives as doctors. In addition, a mock interview session will give participants an opportunity to preview the UND medical school admissions process.

Students may attend any or all events during the day. Lunch will be provided.

Premed Day is free. However, space is limited, and reservations are required by October 24. Please e-mail Cindy Stromme or call the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions at (701) 777-4214. Sign-in on Premed Day begins at 9:15 a.m. outside the Reed Keller Auditorium (Room 1350) at the south end of the UND SMHS at 501 N. Columbia Road in Grand Forks.

Embrace Cancer Survivorship Program and SMHS collaborate with Theatre B for "Wit" on October 30

Theatre B joins forces with Sanford Health’s Embrace Cancer Survivorship Program and the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences for its 2014–2015 season opener Wit—a Pulitzer Prize–winning play by Margaret Edson. The play will have two special performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Grand Forks on Thursday, October 30, in the Reed Keller Auditorium at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 501 N. Columbia Road in Grand Forks.

The play’s main character Vivian Bearing, PhD, portrayed by Theatre B’s Executive Director Carrie Wintersteen, is a renowned professor of English who is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Confident of her ability to stay in control of events, she brings to her illness the same intensely rational and painstakingly methodical approach that has guided her stellar academic career. However, as her disease and her stint as a prize patient in an experimental chemotherapy program inexorably progress, Vivian comes to reassess her life and her work with a profundity, humor, and wit that are transformative.

The 3 p.m. performance is mandatory for first-year medical students and will be open to other health sciences students, residents, and faculty on a first-come, first-served basis. Following the performance, a panel discussion composed of physicians and Stage IV female cancer patients will be held. The goal of the performance and panel discussion is to foster empathy between medical providers and patients. 

At 7 p.m., there will be a free performance for the public and the university community at large also at the Reed Keller Auditorium.  

The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Interprofessional Education Program presents these performances as part of a medical humanities series. These performances are supported in part through a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation and special funding from the Dakota Medical Foundation.

For more information please read more. If you have any questions, please contact Eric Johnson.

Eric L. Johnson, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Director, Interprofessional Education
Medical Director, Physician Assistant Program
Assistant Medical Director, Altru Diabetes Center
Assistant Medical Director, Valley Memorial Homes
President, Tobacco Free North Dakota

Support National Rural Health Day on November 20

The Center for Rural Health invites you to join us in promoting rural health in North Dakota during National Rural Health Day on November 20. There is no cost to support National Rural Health Day. We encourage your organization to be creative in your participation. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) website has some ideas to get you started! Learn more by visiting the website at

For more information, contact Kylie Nissen, senior project coordinator, (701) 777-5380.

Save the Date! 2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health

2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health
June 3–5, 2015
Grand International Hotel, Minot, North Dakota

Reserve your room today!
Toll Free: 800.735.4493

Call for Presentations
Rural and public health professionals are encouraged to submit abstracts for the 2015 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 noon CST on Tuesday, October, 28, 2014. Visit the Dakota Conference website for details on submitting an abstract.

The Dakota Conference is facilitated by the

  • Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences 

The conference is supported by

  • Altru Health System
  • College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines (UND)
  • Department of Family and Community Medicine (UND SMHS)
  • North Dakota Public Health Association
  • North Dakota Rural Health Association

Contact Kylie Nissen

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Congratulations! NDMA announces awardees, elects delegates and officers at 127th annual meeting

The North Dakota Medical Association held its 127th annual meeting in Grand Forks on October 3. 

  • Roger Schauer, MD, FAAFP, was honored with the North Dakota Medical Association's 2014 Physician Community and Professional Services Award. 

    The award recognizes outstanding members of the Association who serve as role models, active in both their profession and in their community. Schauer retired in June; he was director of the SMHS's Rural Opportunities in Medical Education (ROME) Program.
  • Dave Molmen, MPH, chief executive officer of Altru Health System and SMHS Northeast (Grand Forks) Campus representative on the SMHS Advisory Council, was recognized with the North Dakota Medical Association’s Friend of Medicine Award. 

    The award formally acknowledges nonphysician citizens of the state who “have distinguished themselves by serving as effective advocates for health care, patient services, or the profession of medicine in the state of North Dakota.”

Robert W. Beattie, MD, chair and clinical professor of Family and Community Medicine at the SMHS was elected American Medical Association (AMA) Delegate of the North Dakota Medical Association.

The NDMA elected the following officers:

  • President—Steven P. Strinden, MD, Fargo.
  • Vice President and Board Chair—Debra A. Geier, MD, Jamestown, SMHS clinical assistant professor of internal medicine. 
  • Secretary-Treasurer—Fadel E. Nammour, MD, Fargo, SMHS clinical assistant professor of internal medicine.
  • Speaker of the House—Misty K. Anderson, DO, Valley City.
  • AMA Alternate Delegate—Shari L. Orser, MD, Bismarck, SMHS clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology; and SMHS Advisory Council representative to the NDMA.
  • Immediate Past President—A. Michael Booth, MD, PhD, Bismarck, associate dean for the SMHS's Southwest (Bismarck) Campus and clinical professor of surgery.

For further details about the awardees and new officers, please read more.

Center for Rural Health receives funding to support cardiac care

The Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences has received funding from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust in the amount of $2,198,154 to support the evaluation of the cardiac-care systems in Wyoming, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Montana. These states join South Dakota and North Dakota, bringing the total states under the project umbrella to seven.

The project's director, Ralph Renger, PhD, has worked with the North Dakota Department of Health, the South Dakota Office of Rural Health, and dispatch, ambulance, and hospital services in both states to develop a strategy for evaluating the cardiac-care system. Lessons learned from work in the Dakotas will be applied to the evaluation strategy in the five additional midwestern states. The evaluation includes the use of the LUCAS 2 device, which performs CPR mechanically. The LUCAS 2 device is being placed in all ambulance and hospital services in all seven states.

The evaluation project runs through August 31, 2017. Over the next three years, the project will establish a sustainable process for the states to continually evaluate and improve how heart attack patients receive care.

"The level of cooperation from all stakeholders in the cardiac-care systems needed to successfully implement an evaluation project of this scale has been unprecedented," said Renger. "We are very fortunate to be working with such motivated and caring professionals in the health sector."

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust's Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $220 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information, visit

Nikki Massmann
Communication Coordinator
Center for Rural Health 

National Rural Health Day Photo Contest

November 20, 2014, is the 4th 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 Are Awarded for the Top Two Entries

You could win

  • Admission to the 2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health, or a
  • $150 gift card to Cenex convenience stores.

Learn More

Learn more about the photo contest and how to submit your entry. Photos are due by Friday, November 14.

"How Pharmacists Can Improve Our Nation's Health"—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 "How Pharmacists Can Improve Our Nation's Health." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Homecoming photos

On our Facebook page, read about the students from the North Dakota School for the Blind who joined the Student Occupational Therapy Association and participated with the SMHS in UND's Homecoming Parade.

Thank you to everyone who made Homecoming 2014 so special, including our 25- and 50-year graduates, the Occupational Therapy Department faculty and SOTA students, workshop speaker Sandy Hanebrink, and the students from the School for the Blind! View photos on the SMHS Flickr page. 

Also on our Facebook page, Dean Wynne discusses acupuncture reducing arthritis pain, and tissue versus mechanical heart valve replacement 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: Northern Valley Career Expo set for October 29

The 2014 Northern Valley Career Expo will be held Wednesday, Oct. 29, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

Northern Valley Career Expo Objectives
  • Provide regional employers a venue to introduce students to career opportunities employers offer.
  • Expose high school students to regional occupational demands and training programs to help them prepare for their futures.
  • Highlight shared assets that make our communities and region a dynamic place to work and live.

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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Research ND grant applications due November 21

The Division of Research & Economic Development wishes to remind research faculty that the Research North Dakota (RND) program has a deadline of November 21, 2014, for its fifth cycle of applications. There are subsequent deadlines, for example, February 20, 2015.

Applicants are also reminded that they must have a binding agreement concerning the disposition of intellectual property that may be created or used in the project with their private sector partner before the application is submitted. The IP Commercialization & Economic Development (IPCED) office has a template agreement for such use. The North Dakota Department of Commerce has stated that, due to the availability of funds, it is likely that they will not be accepting Venture Grant applications for the 2013–2015 biennium.

Please contact Michael Moore, Associate Vice President, IPCED, at 701.777.6709 for further questions. Further information may also be obtained at

Michael F. Moore
Associate Vice President for Intellectual Property Commercialization & Economic Development

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 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 Thursday, October 30, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Memorial Room at the Memorial Union.

You need to attend the session only if you have not been trained in the last four years.

The session will be presented by Barry Milavetz, PhD, interim vice president for Research and Economic Development; and David Schmidt, assistant vice president for Research and Economic Development.

PHS agencies include the following:

  • 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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Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037
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