From the Dean

Happy New Year! I trust that you had an enjoyable holiday break, although the storm last week certainly wasn’t in keeping with the holiday spirit! And there is a flu bug going around to boot. Thus, while 2019 arrived with some challenges, it also signals the arrival of new opportunities. So all the best to all of you in the new year from Susan and me.

High on the list of new things in 2019 is the state legislative session that began yesterday and featured Gov. Burgum’s State of the State address. Certainly the recent turmoil in the stock market and the decline in crude oil prices have introduced an extra margin of concern and uncertainty into the session, but we still have 78 legislative days to go in this session (out of a total of 80) so there is much work to be done before the end of April. The entire university system, including UND and the SMHS, testify before the House Appropriations Committee – Education and Environment Division in a little under two weeks. We have been busy preparing our testimony, and the material we will present is falling into shape. I will post all of the material we present immediately after our session that will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. I am delighted that Dave Molmen, who recently retired as CEO of Altru Health System here in Grand Forks after nearly four decades in health care, has agreed to continue to the chair the UND SMHS Advisory Council. This is really good news, and Dave will testify with me during the legislative session. The external validity that the School’s Advisory Council provides is essential. In fact, the Advisory Council is required by law (North Dakota Century Code Section 15-52-04) to report to the North Dakota Legislature with recommendations about the School’s programs and strategic plan as the School works to address the health care workforce and related needs for the state. So more to come soon as the legislative session proceeds over the next four months.

Finally, I hope that you mark your calendars and try to attend the UND SMHS Faculty Assembly on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in the Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium (Room E101) here in Grand Forks from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. or via video link. During the session, I will deliver the State of the School address, and plan to outline where we’ve been as a School, where we are, and, most importantly, where I see us headed. I’d really welcome your presence and especially any questions or comments that you may have. Although termed a “Faculty Assembly,” all members of the SMHS family (and those from UND and the community as well) are welcome to attend as guests. I hope that you can make it, and look forward to seeing you there.

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