From the Dean

This week was my first as interim President of UND. As you may know, I am continuing as vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS). It was an especially busy week because I also attended the summer meeting of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the national accreditation organization that functions under the joint sponsorship of the American Medical Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges. Functioning under U.S. Department of Education oversight, the LCME is responsible for the accreditation status of all of the 150 or so medical schools in the U.S.; it also is involved in the accreditation of the 17 Canadian medical schools. This session, we reviewed the accreditation status of nearly three dozen schools. Ordinarily, a medical school in good standing goes eight years between reviews; our own next survey team visit and review at the SMHS will be in 2022. It was a good meeting, and I am convinced that the LCME is trying hard to find ways to function less as an enforcement and more as a positive change agent. For example, there is now an LCME requirement that a medical school engage in continuous quality improvement, which clearly is a good thing that encourages change and innovation.

Next week promises to be busy too, since on Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be in Bismarck attending the State Board of Higher Education annual planning retreat. It’ll be a good opportunity for me to learn more about the functioning of higher education in the state, and should present opportunities to look for possible educational and other linkages for both UND and the School with other institutions in North Dakota.

And I’m looking forward to the Scrubs Academy that starts on Monday. Sponsored by the School’s Center for Rural Health, the Rural Collaborative Opportunities for Occupational Learning in Health (R-COOL-Health) Scrubs Academy is a four-day/three-night camp held on the UND campus. The Scrubs Academy encourages middle-school students from across North Dakota to pursue a career in health care. Students participate in hands-on activities and receive information related to a variety of health care professions. I, along with several medical students, host sessions with the students where they learn more about anatomy, among other medical subjects. They are fun sessions, and the students are very engaged. We hope that the experience encourages them to pursue health careers, and hopefully eventually practice here in North Dakota.

Finally, I should note that our Library Resources team is losing two longtime and very knowledgeable staffers on June 28: Theresa Norton and Michael Safratowich. Theresa has 27 years of service at the School as a computer services/reference librarian, and Mike has been with the SMHS for 32 years as a bibliographic control librarian (he also worked six years at Mayville State University prior to coming to UND). I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking both Theresa and Mike for their decades of service to the School and state and wishing them well as they—pardon the pun—start a new chapter in their lives.

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