From the Dean

Earlier this week, the higher education budget (H.B. 1003) was reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee of the North Dakota Legislature. First up this past Monday was an overview presented by the North Dakota University System (NDUS) office, followed by President Kennedy and others on behalf of UND. Then later on Monday afternoon I presented to the committee on behalf of the UND SMHS. The slides from my presentation are available here; much of the presentation was similar to our January presentation before the House Appropriations Committee – Education and Environment Division. All the presentations appeared to go well, with good questions from the members. There appears to be ongoing support for the needs-based budget that we and UND submitted, as well as for moving some of our funding from “one-time” to “base” funding categories (as we have requested). And I think that members were receptive to having some measure of merit increase for faculty and staff this coming biennium, but I didn’t get a sense that there is consensus yet for any specific proposal; as you may recall, the NDUS proposed a 4 percent merit pool for each year of the biennium. We will know more over the next few weeks; the Legislature is due to be done with its work by April 26, 2019.

This past Wednesday we held another Java with Josh get-together in the Tello-Skjerseth Atrium in Grand Forks. During these informal sessions that take place over a cup of coffee or tea, I chat with faculty and staff about any issues of interest related to the School. It’s a nice relaxed way for me to talk about happenings involving our faculty, staff, and students, and for attendees to pose questions for discussion.

Finally, here’s an update on how our medical students did in the residency match that took place last Friday. As you may know, a residency is a post-MD training period typically of three or more years that is required before a doctor can qualify for a state medical license that allows the doctor to practice medicine. A computer program “matches” students with programs, and as you might expect, it is a nerve-wracking experience for the students. The good news is that our students usually do quite well in the match, and this year was no exception (see Match List). Only one student in the Class of 2019 didn’t get a match, but most of the students received their first or second choice. I’m very pleased that yet again we had a disproportionate number of students go into family medicine; this year it was about a fifth of the class, more than double the national average. And almost half the class went into the broad area of primary care (including family and internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology). Our students matched at outstanding programs both in-state and out-of-state. The state of North Dakota was the most common destination for our students, followed by Nebraska and Minnesota. But some two dozen other states had residency programs that matched one or more of our soon-to-be MDs.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at the match data is that there are somewhat limited residency options available in-state in many specialty areas, although additional new residencies are being added such as orthopedic surgery and neurology in Fargo. But those students who wish to do specialized training in disciplines where we don’t have in-state residencies must of necessity go out-of-state. We only have so-called categorical residencies in-state in internal and family medicine, surgery, psychiatry, and orthopedic surgery. Training in obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, radiology, emergency medicine, and anesthesiology, for example, is not available in North Dakota.

But wherever our students go to complete their education, they go well-prepared and confident, thanks to their hard work and the great support they get from the School’s faculty and staff. So congratulations and best wishes to all!

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