For Your Health

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

From the Dean: Congratulations, Dr. Basson, and thanks

Earlier this week we held a reception to thank Dr. Marc Basson, senior associate dean for Medicine and Research, for all of his contributions to the UND SMHS over the past eight years, and wish him well in his new role as the next dean at the Northeast Ohio College of Medicine (NEOMED) in Rootstown, Ohio. Marc starts his new job on July 1, 2023. His time here has been marked by truly outstanding accomplishments, especially in medical education and research. Under his guidance and direction, our medical doctor program designed and implemented a major revision to the curriculum that was formulated to address four major areas that required attention: 1) earlier exposure of our medical students to clinical patient contact; 2) enhanced preparation and support for the medical licensure examination; 3) more and earlier opportunities for elective clinical rotations; and 4) enhanced integration of basic biomedical curricular content into the subsequent clinical rotations.

Unfortunately, we began to implement the associated major curricular changes of the new curriculum just as SARS-CoV-2 hit, and, as you might expect, the combination of the two produced some snags and complications in the roll-out of the new curriculum. Yet, thanks to the focus of Dr. Basson and the decision to involve the medical students in addressing the twin challenges of a new curriculum and COVID-19, the new curriculum is now in place, and we have an enhanced and augmented team approach to curricular problem-solving that more fully integrates the student perspective into our curricular management process.

As a consequence, the medical education program had a most successful re-accreditation effort, culminating in a virtual survey visit by a team from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) a little over a year ago and the subsequent determination by the LCME national committee that our program was fully accredited again for the full eight-year cycle (the maximum allowed under the operant guidelines). Again, well done Dean Basson, and thanks again for your guidance and leadership.

The other realm where Dr. Basson has provided incomparable guidance, leadership, and mentorship is in the area of our research enterprise. Here too he has excelled, both as an individual scientist and researcher and also as the leader of the School’s research effort. On the individual side, Dr. Basson has led a basic science laboratory making important discoveries in the breast cancer field and secured a large grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to help expand and strengthen the School’s efforts in clinical and translational research. The grant, called the Dakota Community Collaborative on Translational Research (DaCCoTA), is one of the Clinical and Translational Research grants (CTR) funded by the NIH.

From an institutional perspective, Marc has helped guide our research effort, and has assisted in the professional maturation of a variety of investigators. The results have been spectacular, with a substantial increase in the amount of external sponsored funding the faculty and staff have garnered over the years. The quantity of such funding is perhaps the most easily quantifiable metric to measure the growth of research and service activity. The majority of such funding comes from federal agencies, most commonly the NIH. Sponsored funding has increased (using a three-year rolling average methodology) from $22.2 million to $39.3 million in fiscal year 2022, with a one-year record of more than $48 million in 2022!

Looking forward to July 1 and beyond, it is clear that Dean Basson cannot be replaced. But with his help, we have devised a plan to divvy up his various responsibilities to current and incoming team members so that all these accomplishments will be sustained and serve as the foundation for future growth. I’ll share the specifics of this plan with you in the next week or so and well before Marc’s departure on June 30, 2023.

I’m sure that you will join me in thanking Marc sincerely for his many contributions and wishing him all good things as Dean of NEOMED.

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