For Your Health
For Your Health

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

From the Dean: ‘Tis the season

Finally! After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the UND SMHS again will host holiday parties this month across the state for our extended School family. We are excited for these opportunities for us to gather, share, and give thanks for all the good work and accomplishments that we together have achieved in 2022. There will be a holiday party at each of our four regional clinical campuses, plus the traditional get-together in our new (since 2016!) building on the UND campus in Grand Forks. Here is the list of the upcoming holiday party events sponsored by the School:

  • Bismarck:  Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the North Dakota Heritage Center & Museum
  • Minot:  Thursday, Dec. 8 from 6 p.m.  to 8 p.m. at Minot State University’s Northwest Arts Center
  • SMHS Holiday Luncheon:  Monday, Dec. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the West Atrium of the UND SMHS Building Grand Forks
  • Grand Forks:  Tuesday, Dec. 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Gorecki Alumni Center’s Gransberg Community Room
  • Fargo:  Thursday, Dec. 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Avalon Events Center’s Sheyenne Ballroom

As excited as I am about the opportunity for us to get together again for these holiday parties, I do have some ambivalent feelings. While these always have been really enjoyable events, I am somewhat concerned about the possibility of “super spreader” events with a lot of people close together indoors. After much consideration, we’ve decided to go ahead with all of these events, but I would offer a few caveats:

  • Each of us need to determine our own comfort level in attending, and especially those of us at higher risk related to COVID-19, influenza, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection probably should not attend. Similarly, we certainly will understand and respect those of you who simply are not comfortable in settings like these and thus choose not to attend.
  • Please do not attend if you have any symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has a respiratory infection.
  • Please try to get a COVID-19 test done prior to any event you plan to attend (I’ll be using one of the home tests available through UND prior to each event).
  • Consider wearing a mask at the event (I will be wearing one at each event).

Let’s hope that with these considerations in mind we will limit the risk of spreading a virus while maximizing the chance to gather, interact, and celebrate together. If it works for you, I look forward to seeing you at one (or more!) of the events!

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