UND SMHS announces Relling as new Associate Dean for Health Sciences

The UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) is pleased to announce that Dave Relling, P.T., Ph.D., will be the School’s new Associate Dean for Health Sciences. As of July 1, 2021, Relling replaces retiring associate dean Tom Mohr, who has held the position since 2014.

A graduate of the SMHS physical therapy program and former chair of the Department of Physical Therapy (PT), Relling comes into his new position with a wealth of experience at the level of both health sciences education and departmental operations at UND.

“The health sciences departments and programs at the SMHS have excellent leadership, faculty, staff, and students,” said Relling, who took his doctorate from UND’s former Department of Physiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics. “It is an honor to have this opportunity to work cooperatively with each of the department chairs and programs as they serve the people of North Dakota through education, research, and service.”

A consistent researcher and award-winning instructor, Relling claims many publications and conference presentations, most of which focus on the biomechanical analysis of movement and sport, utilization and assessment of technology in physical therapy education, and cardiovascular and pulmonary physiology. An advocate of interprofessional education, Relling teaches courses on cardiopulmonary physical therapy, differential screening for physical therapists, and introductory patient care techniques.

A Dilworth, Minn., native, Relling is a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, the physical therapy professional association, and the Health Regulatory Research Institute. He has also served on the North Dakota State Board of Physical Therapy.

Recent awards include being named an Alumni Fellow for the Kansas State University College of Health and Human Sciences (forthcoming), where Relling received a master’s degree, a Dean’s Special Recognition Award from the SMHS (2018), and a UND North Dakota Spirit Faculty Achievement Award (2013) from UND.

The move feels familiar for Relling, who also succeeded Mohr as Chair of UND’s Department of Physical Therapy in 2014.

“As the first Associate Dean for Health Sciences, Tom demonstrated exceptional leadership, developed strong interprofessional collaborations, and assured a solid foundation for continued excellence in educating and developing future clinicians in the health professions,” Relling said. “He will be greatly missed, but he leaves a legacy of outstanding department chairs and program directors who continue to advance their respective programs to prepare the healthcare workforce for an ever-changing healthcare environment.”

As Mohr put it, despite the evolution of the PT and health sciences curricula over the years, the quality of students coming into the School has remained consistently high.

“They are certainly some of the best and brightest students on campus,” he said. “It was that way in 1978 and it is the same in 2021.”

Mohr added that in retirement he and his wife Peggy are looking forward to spending more time with his children and grandchildren, who are spread across the United States.

“I want to wish Dr. Relling the best as he assumes the Associate Dean for Health Sciences position,” Mohr concluded. “He has the experience and personality that will serve him well as associate dean. Last, but not least, I would like to thank the PT faculty and staff, the health science chairs, and their faculty and staff for making my career so rewarding and enjoyable. I could not have done what I’ve done without their dedication to providing UND health sciences students the best education possible.”

“In his nearly 43 years at UND and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tom has left an indelible mark on the institution and the students, faculty, and staff with whom he has worked,” added Dr. Joshua Wynne, Dean of the SMHS. “He is a passionate and skilled teacher, and legions of students adore him. I am confident that the legacy that Tom leaves is one that will be sustained and expanded by our new associate dean for health sciences, Dr. Relling. Although Dave has big shoes to fill in his new position, I know that he is up to the job and have every expectation that the various health sciences departments will continue to prosper and grow under his tutelage. I am extremely pleased that Dave has accepted this new leadership role, and have every confidence in his ability to excel at it.”