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School of Medicine and Health Sciences


Grand Forks, ND

January 23, 2015

Our testimony before the House Appropriations Committee (Education and Environment Division) this past Monday seemed to go well. You can see my slides and read a copy of my testimony. The next time that we’re likely to testify is before the Senate Appropriations Committee, probably in March. Although there is a palpable sense of legislative concern regarding the impact of oil prices on the state budget (which seems most appropriate!), there also is a clear appreciation of the importance of maintaining the commitment to the Healthcare Workforce Initiative. As part of the School’s presentation, we were indeed fortunate to have Dr. Heidi Bittner from Devils Lake testify. Dr. Bittner is a family medicine and OB specialist who is one of our outstanding community faculty members. She gave eloquent testimony as to the impact of our RuralMed program on the medical community in rural Devils Lake. As recently as a few years ago, Devils Lake was facing the likelihood of an imminent shortage of providers. Yet partly because of the RuralMed program, Devils Lake now has seven students who are planning on settling in the community over the next seven years. 
We look forward to working with our state representatives and senators as we proceed through this year’s legislative session. I’ll probably be back to the Capitol even before March as a volunteer “Doctor of the Day.” Volunteering for this duty at the Capitol is a marvelous way to see our state government in action, while providing some medical backup. I’d urge my fellow physicians to participate in this program if at all possible; please visit the North Dakota Medical Association website for further details.

Earlier this week, we learned that former Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Manuchair “Mike” Ebadi passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at age 79. Dr. Ebadi was the former associate dean for Research and Program Development and Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics. He was a passionate, caring, generous, and stalwart supporter of research and researchers. Even after retiring, he continued to support the School through philanthropic donations and emotional support. He will be missed, and we extend our condolences to his family and friends.

I was horrified to hear of the death of a cardiac surgeon at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital at the hands of an apparently disgruntled relative of a former patient. I trained at the Brigham during my early formative years at Harvard Medical School, and although I didn’t know the victim, I still have many friends and associates there. What a tragic loss!

These losses—and those reported last week—remind me of the saying attributed to Hippocrates that “Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.”

Finally, we have two finalist candidates coming for their last recruitment visits next week, one for the associate dean for Teaching and Learning and the other for the associate dean for Medicine. Both positions are important, and we will see how the visits go. As you may recall from my “State of the School” address at the recent Faculty Assembly meeting, we’ve been adding faculty (and a few staff) to handle the significant increase in class size associated with implementation of the Healthcare Workforce Initiative. When fully implemented, the HWI will increase the combined total class size of medical and health sciences students and residents by 205.

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

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Van Eck will present "Educator Scholarship" on January 26

Richard Van Eck, PhD, a candidate for associate dean for Teaching and Learning at the SMHS, will be presenting “Educator Scholarship: Opportunities for Innovative Practice in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at the SMHS” from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, Janaury 26, in the Clifford Haugen Lecture Hall at the SMHS in Grand Forks.

All are welcome to attend.

Linda Anderson
Administrative Assistant
Education and Faculty Affairs

UND blood drive set for January 28

The UND Medical Laboratory Science Club and Undergraduate Medical Association will host a blood drive on Wednesday, January 28, from noon to 6 p.m. in the River Valley Room in the Memorial Union.

Bring photo I.D.; no appointment needed. Free T-shirts for National Blood Donor Month will be given away to all donors.

To check if you are eligible to donate, call Dak-Minn Blood Bank at (701) 780-5433.

"A Poke in the Wrong Direction—Percutaneous Gastrostomy Tube Complications” is February 6

Shawn Olson, MD, PGY III surgery resident in the Department of Surgery, will be presenting his talk titled "A Poke in the Wrong Direction—Percutaneous Gastrostomy Tube Complications” from 8 to 9 a.m. on Friday, February 6, in the Altru Surgery Simulation Conference Room in Grand Forks.

The objectives of his talk are the following:

  1. Identify complications associated with percutaneous gastrostomy tubes.
  2. Identify patients who are benefited by percutaneous gastrostomy tubes.
  3. Identify measures to reduce minor and major complications.
  4. Increase the safety of percutaneous gastrostomy tube placement.

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
Department of Surgery

Save the Date—Department of Occupational Therapy annual workshop and luncheon is February 20

Please save February 20, 2015, for the Department of Occupational Therapy annual workshop and luncheon. The workshop is from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Lecture Bowl at the UND Memorial Union in Grand Forks.

Joette Zola, OTR/L, STAR/C, will present a 1/2-day workshop titled "Mild to Moderate Cognitive Impairment: Connecting the dots between research, clinical practice & patients." Joette is an experienced and talented occupational therapist who works with clients at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis, Minn., and we are thrilled she is willing to share her expertise with us.

A luncheon will follow the workshop for those who wish to attend. We hope to see you there.

For more information and a registration form, please read more. Please return the registration form and payment (checks only please) by January 24.

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Anne Haskins, PhD, OTR/L.

Scrubs Academy now taking applications for 2015

The Fourth Annual R-COOL-Health Scrubs Academy is taking place June 15–18, 2015, at the University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks. It is open to students who have completed Grades 6–8. The academy encourages middle-school students from across North Dakota to pursue a career in healthcare by participating in hands-on activities related to a variety of healthcare professions.

Applications are due February 18, 2015. 

Sanford Obesity Symposium is March 13

Sanford Health will present the Sanford Obesity Symposium on March 13 at the Holiday Inn, 3803 13th Ave S., in Fargo. The purpose of this symposium is to enhance the knowledge and competence of participants by providing an update on the latest research associated with the prevention, treatment, and management of obesity. The target audience includes primary care physicians, pediatricians, specialty care providers, advanced practice providers, licensed registered dietitians, pharmacists, nurses, and other interested healthcare professionals.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to do the following:

  • Explore current obesity prevention and treatment guidelines for adults and children.
  • Discuss treatment options for binge-eating disorder, night-eating syndrome, and other comorbidities.
  • Recognize the risk of obesity in relation to diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses.

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and ANCC contact hours are awarded; an application for pre-approval has been sent in for dietetic credit. See the symposium brochure for additional information and registration. Registration is $25 and is due on March 6.

Save the Date! 2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health, June 2–4

2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health

June 2–4, 2015
Grand International Hotel, Minot, North Dakota

Reserve your room today!
Toll Free: 800.735.4493

Visit the Dakota Conference website for further details.

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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Outstanding Rural Health Awards

Deadline for Submission: Noon on Thursday, February 5, 2015

Submit Your Nomination

Six awardees will be honored at the 2015 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health. The awards categories are

  • Outstanding Rural Health Provider
  • Outstanding Rural Health Professional
  • Outstanding Rural Health Program
  • Outstanding Rural Health Volunteer
  • Outstanding Rural Educator/Mentor
  • Emerging Rural Leader

We encourage you to "toot your own horn" and nominate those whom you work with, whom you believe deserving of this statewide recognition.

New This Year
Nominators of the award winners will be responsible for coordinating a short video that shows why the awardee is deserving of the award and that also gives the awardee an opportunity to give an "acceptance speech" if they would like to. Video footage taken by the community will be sent to the Center for Rural Health to edit and create a 3–5 minute video to be shown at the awards banquet. Assistance will be provided for getting the video footage.

The awards will be presented at the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health, which will be held June 2–4, 2015, at the Grand Hotel in Minot, North Dakota.

Deadline for submission of award nominations is noon on February 5, 2015. If you do not receive notification that we have received your application within 48 hours, please call Kylie at (701) 777-5380.

For more information and to access the nomination form, visit the website at

Contact Kylie Nissen

Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor nominations sought

Nominations are currently being sought for individuals to be considered for recognition as a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor. The nominations are due to Judy Solberg no later than 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 20, 2015. (UND benefactor Chester Fritz is pictured at right.) 

The nomination process is as follows:

  1. The nominator(s) must submit a nomination letter. Nominator(s) must be a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, full professor, or department chair.
  2. A letter of support from the nominee's chair must be submitted.
  3. Dean Wynne must second all nominations in writing. 
  4. Letters of support from other faculty are encouraged.
  5. A current curriculum vitae of the nominee must accompany the nomination. 

The specific criteria and appointment procedures can be found at

The graduate dean will convene a selection committee that will review and determine recommendations for the award. The provost will then assess those recommendations and forward them to the president. The award is given at spring commencement.

Please contact Judy Solberg, (701) 777-2722, if you have any questions.

Judy A. Solberg, MPA
Chief of Staff
Office of the Dean

"Understanding the Causes of Major Birth Defects: Steps to Prevention"—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. January's presentation is "Understanding the Causes of Major Birth Defects: Steps to Prevention." All of the webcasts are archived for later viewing.

Social Media: Health Matters

On our Facebook page, Dean Wynne answers questions about traveler’s diarrhea, and bariatric 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: Feast of Nations set for February 7

The international flavor of the University of North Dakota will be on center stage once again at the 53rd Annual Feast of Nations, Saturday, February 7, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

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 Sessions

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

  • Wednesday, February 18, from 11 a.m. to noon in the Presidents Room at the Memorial Union and
  • Thursday, April 9, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the  Presidents Room at the Memorial Union.

You only need to attend one of the sessions if you have not already done so since August 24, 2012. Training is necessary every four years. 

Sessions 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

  • 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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