From the Dean: It’s Match Day!

Today is Match Day for our senior medical students! At 11 a.m. today (12 p.m. Eastern), medical students from around the country (including those at the UND SMHS) learn where they will be spending the next three to five (or more) years as part of their post-MD residency. Hosted by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), soon-to-be graduating medical students are matched with residency programs with the use of a sophisticated computer program. A key feature of this matching process is that the match is skewed toward students’ preferences in so far as the computer matches the student with the residency program that is highest on the student’s preference list (as long as the program has room for the applicant based on its own preference list). There also is an option for married medical students to have a special match process for couples. The entire NRMP process typically goes smoothly, although it is stressful – after all, the match results determine where you will be living for the next several years and where you will be training. I can remember the excitement I felt many years ago on Match Day. I was fortunate to match at one of my very top picks, as is the outcome for most of our students. So best wishes in the upcoming match to all of our senior medical students. I hope that you enjoy your residency training as much as I did.

The lead story in this week’s UND Today highlighted the just-announced $10M grant awarded to Dr. Don Warne and his colleagues for their upcoming study of the effects of historical trauma on Indigenous people and their resilience (A holistic approach to healing – UND Today). Dr. Warne, director of our Indians into Medicine and public health programs and associate dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is a highly-respected scholar and educator who, with his team, plans to “build the evidence base of culturally relevant interventions to improve health outcomes, which can lead to more resources for our communities to implement effective health programs,” as he stated in the article. An enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D., Dr. Warne added that “the other focus of this program will be to provide research mentorship to early career faculty and to establish them as independent investigators. This will lead to ripple effects in terms of additional grants, studies, resources, and programs through UND.” Best wishes to Dr. Warne and his team as they explore this important issue that shows great promise in helping to improve the health of Indigenous people everywhere.

Finally, a few follow-up items. Things are progressing in Bismarck with the university system funding bill (SB 2003), of which the School is a part. Dave Molmen, chair of the School’s Advisory Council, and I testified (virtually) before the House Appropriations Committee/Education and Environment Division this past Monday. The testimony went smoothly and there were no worrisome developments. There are several other bills under consideration that have relevance to the School, and all seem to be progressing satisfactorily. As you may have heard, the legislature is trying to wrap up a little early so they can “save” several days for use later – as you may recall, the legislature ordinarily is limited to 80 session days per biennium.

Additionally, we are close to finalizing plans for medical student commencement in May and recognition of the students graduating from our health sciences programs. I anticipate that we likely will announce plans next week, so stay tuned!

Finally, thanks to all of you – students, faculty, staff, graduates, friends, and colleagues – for your perseverance during the pandemic. Remember to not let down your guard prematurely. A better time is on the horizon, so let’s stay resolute until then. Stay safe and stay connected!

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