Dr. Steffen Christensen retires from SMHS after 26 years of service

After 26 years of service, Dr. Steffen Christensen will step down as vice chair of the UND SMHS Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Based in Fargo, Dr. Christensen is among the last of the two-year UND Bachelor of Science in Medicine graduates.

“Few faculty members have done more to support the UND SMHS mission in so many capacities for so many years,” said Dr. Dennis Lutz, professor and chair of UND’s Department Obstetrics & Gynecology. “While I personally regret Steffen’s decision to curtail his department activities, his much-valued contributions and words of wisdom will continue to be enjoyed by patients, colleagues, and medical students.”

After earning his BS Med degree from UND, Dr. Christensen, who did undergraduate work at both NDSU and Moorhead State University, transferred to the University of Iowa to earn his MD degree.

Following an Ob/Gyn residency at Blodgett Memorial Medical Center in Grand Rapids, Mich., Dr. Christensen returned to Fargo where he has began his private practice at the former Fargo Clinic/St. Luke’s Hospital (later MeritCare, currently Sanford Health). He left for two years to complete a reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellowship at the University of Illinois Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Dr. Christensen then returned to Fargo to found the Reproductive Medicine Institute at Sanford. During his quarter-century of academic leadership in the UND SMHS Department of Ob/Gyn, Dr. Christensen also served for 17 years as assistant dean for Student Affairs at the Southeast Campus office, as well as serving several months as interim associate dean of the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions in Grand Forks.

“Not many people know that Dr. Christensen served in the North Dakota Air National Guard, retiring with the rank of Major General,” continued Dr. Lutz. “His military service began as a hospital corpsman and medical officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and later as a flight surgeon and assistant to the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General.”

Dr. Christensen also belongs to numerous professional societies and has been a frequent recipient of teaching awards. His professional activities list a myriad of committee assignments including chairing the MeritCare/Sanford Department of Ob/Gyn and serving as chief of staff at Fargo’s downtown hospital.

Although Dr. Christensen is relinquishing his position at UND to devote more effort to the Reproductive Medicine Institute, he will continue to serve the SMHS wherever needed as an associate professor of obstetrics, he said.