From The Dean

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Congratulations are certainly in order to our School’s Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research, Dr. Marc Basson, for leading the multi-institution team that we just learned will be receiving a $20.3 million, five-year grant to help counter the high cancer rates in North and South Dakota. The award, given by the National Institutes of Health to UND, NDSU, USD, and our health system partners, will be used to establish the Dakota Cancer Collaborative on Translational Activity (DACCOTA). These organizations will engage in clinical and translational research in an effort to study the link between cancer and the environment and pave the way to develop unique ways to combat cancer in the Dakotas.

This is terrifically important not only because cancer is the leading cause of death for people ages 35-64 in the Dakotas, but because the rates of some cancers are nearly double for American Indians, relative to the rest of the population. According to UND’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development Grant McGimpsey, this is the largest “cycle” research award UND has received for biomedical research, so great work Dr. Basson and everyone involved in the application at UND and around the region. The grant also will form the foundation for bringing a variety of institutions together in a clinical and translational research network that will facilitate studying other diseases in addition to cancer.

On a similar note, Dr. Jonathon Geiger, professor in our Department of Biomedical Sciences, is on a multi-university team that has been awarded a four-year grant from the NIH worth a total of more than $2.25 million. This means that Dr. Geiger this summer has held three R01 grants from the NIH simultaneously. NIH R01 grants are considered one of the most prestigious grants for which individuals can apply and funding for these grants is extremely competitive. Congratulations!

You should also be aware of a program the North Dakota Medical Association has undertaken with the North Dakota State Legislature. The “Doctor of the Day” program provides primary care services to legislators at the Capitol and gives NDMA physician-members an opportunity to network with legislators, government officials, and local leaders in Bismarck, all while serving as Doctor of the Day next year. Needless to say, I encourage faculty from each of our SMHS campuses across the state, not to mention our clinical faculty, to register for this opportunity as your schedules allow; you’ll be glad you did. The program begins January 7, 2019, and runs through April.

And while you’re looking at your calendar, pencil in Thursday, September 6. Have a cup of coffee with me at Java with Josh in the morning, and then come back for a late afternoon jog during Joggin’ with Josh. I hope to see you there!

Finally, in the next month or so, the E-News you are used to receiving each week will appear in your email inbox on Fridays with a new look and feel. This “new” publication, which we’re calling For Your Health, will retain all the features of your E-News; the only major difference will be in the email’s design, which is more in line with the new UND brand standards. We look forward to your feedback on the new e-newsletter and website, which have been designed with UND’s help to look similar to the university’s UND Today publication.

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