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For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

SMHS to confer 73 doctor of medicine degrees upon new physicians Sunday

The University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) will confer the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree to 73 graduating medical students at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium on the UND campus in Grand Forks.

The graduating students have completed four years of medical education to earn their Doctor of Medicine, beginning with two years of instruction on the UND campus in Grand Forks followed by two years of training with practicing physicians who volunteer to serve as their teachers in hospitals and clinics throughout North Dakota.

The ceremony’s keynote address, “An educator to his students: thank you for one last chance to teach you,” will be delivered by Walter Kemp, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the SMHS Department of Pathology.

Born and raised in Libby, Mont., Dr. Kemp, a Creighton University School of Medicine graduate, pursued anatomic and clinical pathology residency training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas (UTSW) before pursuing a forensic pathology fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After completing fellowship training, he was an assistant professor of Pathology at UTSW before he returned to Montana to become the deputy state medical examiner, a position he held for 10 years. While working in Montana, Dr. Kemp obtained his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Montana in Missoula. In July 2015, he took a position as associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the UND SMHS.

An award-winning instructor—having received Outstanding Teacher awards from UTSW Classes of 2006 and 2007, Golden Apple awards from UND SMHS Classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020, and Portrait Awards from UND SMHS Classes of 2018 and 2020—Dr. Kemp has published two books, one book chapter, and 19 papers. Four of the papers were authored with students in the Class of 2019. His mother is from Gladstone, N.D.

Following graduation, the new physicians will begin residency, a three to seven year period of advanced intensive training in their chosen medical specialty before beginning independent practice. In keeping with tradition, the SMHS Class of 2019 is particularly focused on primary care: 14 of the 73 students (19 percent) will begin a residency program in family medicine, which is nearly double the national average of graduating medical students entering a family medicine residency. In addition to family medicine, matches for UND medical students in the other primary care specialties include the fields of internal medicine (11), pediatrics (4), and obstetrics/gynecology (5). This makes for a total of 34 of 73 (46.5 percent) of the Class of 2019 entering primary care. Other specialties chosen by this year’s class include anesthesiology, diagnostic radiology, neurology, emergency medicine, pathology, psychiatry, surgery, urology, and otolaryngology.

For a complete list of graduates, with their hometowns and residency programs, please visit: