From the Dean

wynne-bannerThis week, we celebrated the holiday season with parties on the Southeast (Fargo) and the Northwest (Minot) campuses, finishing the cycle of parties at all four regional campuses that began last week. As at the parties on the Southwest (Bismarck) and Northeast (Grand Forks) campuses last week, we took time to recognize and thank the many clinical (voluntary) faculty members who typically are employed full-time (often by a health care institution) and yet manage to find time to teach our students. Again, a big “thank you” to all of you, especially our milestone clinical faculty!

And as we get ready to welcome the New Year, please join me in thanking and wishing all the best to Wanda Weber, Dr. Peg Mohr, and Dr. Jim Haselton who will retire at the end of this year after a combined 78 years of dedicated service to UND and the School! Both Drs. Mohr and Haselton have served the School and the state commendably for decades in the Departments of Physical Therapy and Biomedical Sciences, respectively. And you might know Wanda as the face behind the camera at the School; Wanda has been documenting events at the School—from white coat and graduation ceremonies to teddy bear clinics and magazine photo shoots—since 1990. Each of you will be missed.

Speaking of retirements, Dave Molmen, the CEO and long-time leader at Altru Health System, also will be retiring at the end of this year. As you know, Dave also functioned as chair of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences Advisory Council for years and helped guide the School through the most dramatic growth period in its history, which included a nearly 25 percent increase in class size and construction of a new, $124 million building in Grand Forks. Fortunately, both Altru and the SMHS Advisory Council are in good hands going forward–Brad Wehe, the prior COO at Altru, is taking over as CEO and will do a terrific job going forward, based on my prior observations of his effectiveness and leadership. And we are thrilled that Dave has agreed to continue as the chair of our Advisory Council through the upcoming legislative session. So a huge “thank you and best wishes” to Dave—but the School looks forward with great enthusiasm to your ongoing service with us!

Finally, I plan to be in Bismarck on Thursday Jan. 3, 2019, when the 66th Legislative Assembly convenes and Gov. Doug Burgum delivers the State of the State Address. And later in January, Dave and I (along with SMHS Chief Financial Officer Laura Block and members of the UND leadership team, including President Kennedy) will testify in front of a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (called the Education and Environment Division) as our formal interaction with the Legislature begins in earnest. Our presentation will be straightforward–a review of how the School is doing in its service to the state and its people, and a look forward to expectations for the next biennium that runs from July 2019 through June 2021. As always, I’m looking forward to the session and reconnecting with members I’ve met over the years as well as meeting new members. As you may know, the session is limited by law to 80 days, and they are full days to be sure. The members work hard and are insightful in their questions. But as always, we really won’t know our budget numbers until the session is over, the governor signs the budget bill, and its provisions are endorsed by the State Board of Higher Education. All of that typically isn’t finalized until late May. So stay tuned!

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