For Your Health
For Your Health

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

From the Dean: Budget requests, LCME news, and the ND Board of Medicine

As I mentioned last week, this past Monday I met with Director Joe Morrissette and his staff in the state Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a prelude to the upcoming legislative session. Following budget presentations and discussions by the North Dakota University System (NDUS) and then UND, I presented on behalf of the UND SMHS. I was assisted by Namil Choi and Terry Nelson from our Office of Administration and Finance. Here are my slides. In the 30 minutes available, I gave an overview of what the faculty, staff, and students at the school have accomplished to date, where we as a school hope to go in the future, what I foresee as the opportunities and challenges going forward, and what our budget submission looks like.

Regarding our budget request, I emphasized three key points:

  1. An endorsement of the NDUS request for a 5% salary merit increase for each year of the biennium. This is especially important in this era of rampant inflation.
  2. Additional funding to support the salary merit increase that ordinarily would be derived from student tuition; for the SMHS, this amounts to about $1M that we wouldn’t have to charge to students if funded as requested.
  3. Additional funding for salary merit increases for salaries covered by the Healthcare Workforce Initiative (HWI); this amounts to about $1.3M.

Other than that, our budget (in keeping with the UND and NDUS budget request) reflects what has been called a needs-based budget that will allow the UND SMHS to continue its various educational, research, and service programs and fulfill our commitments to the people of North Dakota. We still have a long way to go in the entire budget approval process, but this first meeting with OMB seemed to go quite smoothly and without any apparent bumps in the road.

Following this important meeting on Monday, I’ve been immersed in the fall Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) national meeting, although I attended it virtually. It’s a three-day busy meeting, running from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We reviewed and acted on a wide variety of accreditation-related reports on the medical education programs at a variety of medical schools across the United States, including six full accreditation survey reports (including that of the UND SMHS), six limited or provisional/preliminary surveys, seven change requests, 34 status reports, and one complaint.

I of course was recused when the SMHS was discussed by the full LCME board, and I hope to learn of the LCME determination soon (presumably next week). I am hopeful for a positive accreditation report, but time will tell. I am pleased, though, that the LCME as an organization has really been trying to be as consistent and evidenced-based in its decision-making process as possible. I will share the outcome of the LCME deliberation right after we get it.

In other news, it’s Primary Care Week and I’ve been happy to see so many area providers here in-person again interacting with our students, faculty, and staff. Tuesday’s “Community Meet and Greet,” which featured representatives from healthcare facilities from all over North Dakota, was especially well-attended, and the rest of the week has been a resounding success. And it’s not over! Students can still attend the “Breakfast with AHEC” session today from 7:15 to 8:30 a.m. in our East Atrium. Come for coffee and pastries as you learn more about our Area Health Education Center (AHEC) scholars and AHEC clinical rotation support in North Dakota.

Finally, note that the North Dakota Board of Medicine’s (NDBOM) annual public meeting will be held at the SMHS at 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 21. Established in 1890, the NDBOM holds meetings quarterly to discuss multiple aspects of the licensing of physicians, physician assistants, and genetic counselors in the state. Although the Board usually meets in its Bismarck office, it is looking to branch out, and we welcome it to our School. As such, students, faculty, staff, and the public are welcome to attend this public meeting next week, which will be held in SMHS Room W206. Thanks to NDBOM Executive Director Sandra DePountis and our own faculty Jay Metzger and Clint Hosford for helping bring the Board to Grand Forks. Feel free to come and go to the meeting as your time allows next Friday.

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