For Your Health
For Your Health

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

McLean named Associate Dean for Wellness at UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Andrew J. McLean, M.D., M.P.H., clinical professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS), has been named the School’s Associate Dean for Wellness.

This appointment follows a trend at the School and across the nation to dedicate more resources to student, staff, and faculty wellness in the wake of demonstrable increases in burnout, depression, substance use disorder, and suicide among the medical student and health provider populations over the past two decades.

“We know that, nationally, behavioral health concerns among trainees and practitioners have been increasing for some time,” said McLean, explaining the “profound” reward and risk that come with dedicating one’s life to the provision of healthcare. “The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences is committed to preparing our students and residents to be successful and healthy both in training and in practice. I believe this position is a reflection of that commitment.”

Referencing the School’s “fantastic” wellness advocates Michelle Montgomery and Dr. Melissa Naslund, McLean added that his vision for the new position is both “to expand on the work being done with and for students and residents by this team, and to look systemically at wellness from an interdisciplinary and prevention standpoint.”

In addition to his existing responsibilities, McLean will now assume the role of designing, implementing, and overseeing an organization-wide strategy to advance wellbeing among all members within the SMHS – and students in particular. Specific responsibilities of the role include leading the School’s effort in education and practice regarding health promotion and integrative wellness as well as issues related to substance use and mental health; advocating for programs that foster and maintain an institutional culture of well-being; serving as the SMHS representative to external partners in efforts related to health promotion; and serving as an ad hoc member of the SMHS Dean’s administrative leadership team.

“Faculty and staff at our School knew even before the pandemic that mental health especially and wellness more generally were a growing concern among our students,” added Dr. Joshua Wynne, vice president for Health Affairs at UND and dean of the SMHS, noting that the SMHS has worked hard with students and faculty to address wellness and the physical and mental benefits of sleep, exercise, and overall stress reduction. “And while we’ve done much to start addressing wellness, this dean-level position will allow us to do even more on this front and do it more quickly.”

A longtime clinical faculty member at the SMHS and Fargo-based provider of psychiatric care, McLean obtained his medical degree from UND in 1987 and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. Prior to joining UND’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science on a full-time basis, McLean was medical director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

McLean has received the American Psychiatric Association Bruno Lima award for outstanding contributions to “disaster psychiatry” and has been conferred with numerous teaching excellence awards, as well as a distinguished alumnus recognition. He has served on numerous clinical, administrative, and regulatory boards, including medical licensing and professional health programs, and has lectured internationally on pertinent behavioral and public health issues.

“There are opportunities to bridge work across other healthcare disciplines and the university on this topic,” McLean concluded. “In addition, because our university belongs to the people of North Dakota, I expect that this work will benefit our state’s many communities in both direct and indirect ways.”