For Your Health
For Your Health

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

From the Dean

Homecoming 2019 is in full swing, with multiple events at the UND SMHS today and activities throughout the weekend. The UND Alumni Association & Foundation hosted the annual Sioux Awards last night, as it has done since the awards’ inception in 1962, to recognize leaders in government and business, high achievers in various professions, and alumni who have dedicated their lives to serving others. This year, the following alumni were honored:

  • Gary Hagen, a ’74, ’77, and ’86 graduate, spent more than 40 years at Mayville State University and was president there from 2006 to July 2018.
  • Greg Everson, a 1972 graduate, is a pioneer in medicine and the treatment of hepatitis C. He is the chief of hepatology at the University of Colorado. Dr. Everson will be giving a talk on “Measuring the Liver’s Function” later today at 4 p.m. in Abbott Hall Room 101 on the UND campus.
  • Jennifer Neppel, a 1986 graduate, is chief investment officer for CommonSpirit Health, formerly known as Catholic Health Initiatives.
  • Gordon Henry, 1966 and 1970 graduate, is the former UND Vice President for Student Affairs.

The Young Alumni Achievement Award was established in 2002 to recognize recent graduates of UND who have made a mark in the short time since they attended our University. This year’s awardees were:

  • Andrea Hanson, a 2002 graduate who is currently a portfolio manager for the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
  • Christina Sambor, a 2005 grad, who went on to become a Bush Foundation Fellow and today practices law in Bismarck, N.D.

Events at the School today include:

  • A Continuing Education Symposium on back pain. The “Oh My Aching Back!” symposium will take place in Classroom W202 in the new SMHS building in Grand Forks. This year’s program is particularly relevant and personal to me, since over the last decade I’ve suffered not one but two herniated lumbar discs. In fact, I agreed to let my own personal experiences be the foundational case history that the discussants at the symposium will comment on in their presentations. I think that my case is a good one to consider, since I had successful surgery after my first disc experience and successful medical therapy after my second.
  • Building Tours from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
  • The SMHS Homecoming 2019 Banquet, which takes place tonight from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. It will be held in the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks. I will be the keynote speaker talking about the future of UND, and we’ll be honoring our 10-, 20-, 30-, 40- and 50-year grads, one of whom is also celebrating a birthday today!

For further information about any of the above, and to see if space still is available, be sure to contact Kristen Peterson at 701.777.4305 or

Finally, on Saturday I plan to be at the Homecoming 2019 parade, the football game and the hockey game in the evening. I hope to see you at one or more of the events! Go Hawks!

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