From the Dean: An assortment of honors

These past two weeks have reminded me just how outstanding the faculty and staff that we’ve put in place at your UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences truly are. I sometimes joke that I can’t keep up with all the awards and other honors our team members regularly receive for their consistently good work.

On that note, I’d first like to congratulate Dr. Andy McLean, clinical professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, and his team of collaborators for just being named to receive the UND Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Research and Creative Activity Award. The award, given for the team’s Behavioral Health Bridge project, will be bestowed at this year’s virtual Founders Day ceremony that will be held next Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. This award recognizes an outstanding interdisciplinary team of UND faculty members who have made a significant impact with their collaborative research in terms of advancing science. Dr. McLean’s collaborators include Shawnda Schroeder, associate director of research and evaluation at UND’s Center for Rural Health and research associate professor in our Department of Population Health; Thomasine Heitkamp, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines; and Stephen Wonderlich, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and vice president for research, Sanford Health-Fargo.

Likewise, two of our Department of Biomedical Sciences faculty have won Founders Day teaching awards. Assistant Professor Amanda Haage and Associate Professor John Shabb are both receiving UND Founders Day awards for Excellence in Online Course Development and Innovative Teaching Strategies. Very well done, everyone.

Congratulations also are in order to the SMHS and UND Marketing & Communications teams who, led by our own Brian Schill, have been given a Gold “Award of Excellence” from the Group on Institutional Advancement of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for the public relations and marketing campaign they launched this time last year for the School’s first-in-the-world Indigenous Health doctorate. Not only that, but their campaign package has been nominated as one of seven finalists for the distinct honor of Best in Show in the 2021 Awards for Excellence competition hosted by the AAMC in April. You can well understand why recently I removed “interim” from Brian’s title; he now is the director of our Office of Alumni and Community Relations. So double congratulations to Brian (and the team). Well done and best wishes at the 2021 Awards for Excellence Competition!

By the way, the reason we are able to offer this unique doctoral program in Indigenous Health is thanks to the efforts of frequent award-winner Dr. Don Warne and his colleagues. As you may recall, Don heads three different but related programs for the School – he is director of our acclaimed Indians Into Medicine (INMED) program, director of our public health program, and associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Finally, there have been no major developments since my last column regarding our budget submission to the North Dakota Legislature that is contained within the North Dakota University System budget bill (SB 2003). There have been no important changes to the provisions that I outlined last week (as in, “no news is good news!”), nor do I expect any before the bill “crosses over” to the House at the end of this month. Next up, as I mentioned last week, is that we’ll present to the House Appropriations Committee – Education and Environment Division the second week in March (March 8, 2021). Until then, we will continue to monitor the progress of the bill and remain ready to answer any questions that may arise from legislators or staff members in the Office of Management and Budget.

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