From the Dean

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This will be a truncated column this week, as Susan and I returned from the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) late Tuesday night, and I was seeing patients in the Adult Congenital Heart Disease clinic all day yesterday. By the way, the clinic (which I staff along with pediatric cardiologist Dr. Matt Trefz through Sanford Health) is dedicated to serving adults who were born with a problem with their heart and who often have undergone major heart surgery in the past. I run a similar clinic in Grand Forks through Altru Health System with pediatric cardiologist Dr. Rod Rios.

After I’ve had a chance to debrief with the other faculty and staff members who attended the AAMC meeting, I’ll have a full report to share.  But I can share with you now one theme that came through loud and clear, and that is the importance of addressing diversity and equity in our educational and health care systems. More on this later, but I want to say how proud I was that two of the School’s senior leadership team members were featured on panels addressing the challenge of increasing the matriculation of students from underrepresented minorities. Dr. Joy Dorscher, associate dean for Student Affairs and Admissions and Dr. Don Warne, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion and director of both our Indians Into Medicine (INMED) and Master of Public Health (MPH) programs, were invited participants on two different panels dealing with the relative shortage of American Indian students in medical schools around the country. Both gave eloquent and compelling testimony about what can be done to address this shortage through initiatives such as our nationally lauded Indians Into Medicine Program. The UND SMHS ranks very high in the nation (compared with other medical schools) as to the percentage of our medical school class that is American Indian, but we can and will do even more. So well done indeed, Drs. Dorscher and Warne!

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