School of Medicine & Health Sciences recognizes over 200 graduating health sciences and graduate students

In addition to the 73 new medical doctors graduating from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) on Sunday, May 12, the School will see 237 students from its graduate and health sciences programs walk across the Alerus Center stage at the UND Commencement on Saturday, May 11.

“We want to extend congratulations to all of the graduates of the health sciences,” noted Thomas Mohr, PT, PhD, associate dean for health sciences at the SMHS. “Most of all, we want to recognize the impact that health sciences graduates will have on the thousands of patients they will work with throughout their careers.”

Students representing the School at UND’s spring Commencement include not only three graduates of Biomedical Sciences, but also those from Medical Laboratory Science (83), Occupational Therapy (52), Physical Therapy (52), Physician Assistant Studies (32), Master of Public Health (6), and Athletic Training (9).

“I knew I was going into health care because I wanted to help people and serve people. I just wasn’t sure which route I wanted to go,” said Master of Occupational Therapy student Tiana Brown, a transplant from South Carolina who is graduating Saturday. “So when I moved here, I reviewed the programs and found that OT was the perfect fit for me. The UND program molds us to be generalists and specialists at the same time, and I realized that I can go into mental health or acute care, rehab, work community, or public health—I can do anything I want to do.”

Now that the School’s Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI) is fully implemented, 16 additional medical students, 30 health sciences students, and a variety of post-MD degree trainees are being educated through the UND SMHS each year, relative to 2011. In addition to expanding SMHS class sizes, the HWI utilizes a number of strategies to help increase North Dakota’s healthcare workforce, including prioritizing accepting students from rural areas of North Dakota, promoting tuition forgiveness for students who commit to practicing in a rural community in the state, and increasing its focus on geriatrics, population health, and public health.

Over the past 50 years, the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences has graduated nearly 10,000 professionals working in the health sciences in North Dakota and around the country.