From the Dean

This week I attended (and participated in) the winter meeting of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME); we also meet in the fall and late spring. In addition to the recurring job of determining the accreditation status of various U.S. and Canadian medical schools, we spent a full day at the start of the meeting engaging in a strategic planning process. While our discussions are preliminary and not ready for generalized dissemination, I am at liberty to say that a fundamental concept we discussed was evolving the LCME accreditation process from the current approach—a high-stakes, one-time evaluation that includes a multi-day visit from a team of evaluators sent by the LCME and occurs every eight years—to an ongoing iterative process embedded in the day-to-day activities of the schools. I was very happy to see the evolution of thought on this concept, especially since we already are doing this at the UND SMHS! Under the guidance of Dr. Steve Tinguely, our chief medical accreditation officer, the School has developed and implemented a process of continuous quality improvement related to all 93 of the accreditation elements that together make up the 12 LCME standards. We are ahead of many other medical schools in implementing such an ongoing method of assessing and improving our compliance status. This should make our next accreditation visit by a survey team from the LCME that will occur about three years from now much less stressful and disruptive. And I’ll be off again at the end of the month as the chair of an LCME survey team that will be headed west to evaluate a newer medical school. While these visits are hard work and involve a lot of preparatory and reporting work, I always learn from these visits and find novel ways of addressing medical program issues that we can apply and utilize back here in North Dakota.

As you may recall, we had to cancel the Faculty Assembly that was scheduled to be held last month when UND closed due to frigid weather. But please mark your calendars—the Faculty Assembly now is rescheduled for Monday, March 4, 2019, from 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. in the Charles H. Fee, MD, Auditorium in Grand Forks (SMHS Room E101). For those on other regional campuses or unable to attend in person, the presentation will be live-streamed, and I’ll post my slides after the presentation as well. Despite the event’s name, staff and students are welcome to attend along with faculty members. During this meeting I will deliver the “State of the School” address, in which I will go over the School’s agenda for the coming biennium (July 2019 through June 2021). I plan to review the School’s trajectory over the past decade and then I’ll set the stage for future activities and challenges. I hope to see you there. And I welcome questions and discussion especially about our strategy going forward. I know that the budget situation and our discussions with the North Dakota Legislature will be of great interest to most of you, and I’ll be prepared to review the current status of those discussions. The March 4 date for the Faculty Assembly is after “cross-over” of bills in the North Dakota Legislature, where bills drafted in one chamber move over to the other chamber for consideration (cross-over day is February 22, 2019). So by the Faculty Assembly we’ll be in a better position to assess the status of our budget request to the Legislature.

Finally, I’m very pleased to congratulate Dr. Marc Basson, senior associate dean for Medicine and Research at the UND SMHS, for being named the awardee of the 2019 UND Foundation Thomas J. Clifford Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Research. In addition to overseeing the School’s medical programs, he also coordinates our research programs. He is well-qualified to oversee our research enterprise and manages to find time in his busy day to maintain an active federally-funded research laboratory. He just received a five-year, $20.4 million grant to establish a network of institutions (including UND, NDSU, Sanford Health, and others) that hope to become more closely aligned in an effort to speed discoveries in the laboratory to the patient’s bedside (known as translational research). Marc will be formally recognized as the Clifford awardee at the UND Founders Day Banquet on Thursday, February 28, 2019. Congratulations Marc!

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