From the Dean: Summer goodbyes (and hellos)

Yesterday marks the start of the new academic (and fiscal) year for the School and UND. It is the official marker of the transition from one year to the next, and there are multiple transitions that are occurring. Some folks are leaving, and many are arriving. Among those to whom we are saying fond goodbyes is Dr. Tom Mohr, who I wrote about last week as he completed a nearly 43-year glorious career at UND and the SMHS. Tom sent me an extremely gracious goodbye email shortly before he left his office in our new building in Grand Forks for the last time. Can you imagine? Walking out of your office for the last time after over four decades of service to students and the community. That’s heady stuff to be sure! All the best in the future, Tom!

Also retiring is longtime Administrative Officer in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science Deb Walker. Thank you for your service, Deb, and best wishes.

Balancing the goodbyes are many hellos. As I also mentioned last week, yesterday we welcomed our own Dr. Dave Relling to his new role as the successor to Tom as Associate Dean for Health Sciences. That, in turn, allowed us to advance another esteemed senior physical therapy faculty member, Dr. Cindy Flom-Meland, to the chair position to succeed Dave. Additionally, as I’ve outlined here, we’ve also welcomed the following new assistant deans:

  • Holly Brown-Borg, Assistant Dean for Gender Equity
  • Jane Dunlevy, Assistant Dean for Phase 1
  • Susan Zelewski, Assistant Dean for Phase 2/3
  • Minnie Kalyanasundaram, Assistant Dean for Academic Support and Longitudinal Integration
  • Kurt Borg, Assistant Dean for Assessment

We also have a new chair of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Cornelius “Mac” Dyke, a colleague and cardiac surgeon at Sanford Health in Fargo.

Finally, welcome to Dr. Allison Kelliher, who joined us this month as assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the founding director of our nascent Practice-Based Research Network AICoRN (American Indian Collaborative Research Network). AiCoRN will extend the reach of the inter-institutional DaCCoTA network, for which UND is the lead institution, and our recently awarded CoBRE focusing on Indigenous health. The AICoRN will ultimately bring together clinicians on tribal reservations and in rural areas across the upper Midwest to conduct clinical research studies.

We’re also excited about the new students who will be joining us this year, and welcoming back our returning students. The start of some of the new students is quite imminent – because of scheduling changes associated with the new medical student curriculum that is being rolled out, the freshman medical students start bright and early on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Their initial experience will be hybrid, with many classes still being held virtually. I’ll be meeting with the new class on Tuesday morning, and will spend time with them periodically over the subsequent two weeks. It’s always an exciting time for me as I get to meet and learn about our new students.

I’m also looking forward to greeting our health sciences and graduate students who will be starting later in the summer. This always is an exciting time of year!

Finally, Susan and I wish you all a happy and safe Fourth of July and holiday weekend. Enjoy it, enjoy your family and friends, and stay safe.

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