For Your Health
For Your Health

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

Retirement reception for three Department of Physical Therapy faculty on June 20

The Department of Physical Therapy is proud to announce a heartfelt and joyous retirement reception in honor of three remarkable faculty members who have shaped countless students throughout their careers: Drs. Meridee Danks, Schawnn Decker, and Mark Romanick.

The retirement reception will take place on June 20 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the SMHS West Atrium. Please join Team PT as they thank these longtime faculty for their service and wish them well.

  • Dr. Meridee Danks has dedicated 27 years to her role as an esteemed faculty member at UND. Throughout her tenure, she has provided invaluable guidance to countless students, nurturing their growth into exceptional physical therapists. Within the vast expanse of her service to UND, Danks has made significant contributions as a member of various committees, most notably as a longstanding member of the Institutional Review Board since 2002. Additionally, she has assumed leadership positions within the department, serving as chair of the scholarship committee, spearheading faculty search committees, and playing an integral role in the scholastic standards committee. Danks’s commitment extends beyond the confines of UND, as she has actively engaged with the North Dakota chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for an impressive tenure of 10 years. During her involvement, she served as the newsletter editor and contributed her expertise to several committees, including public relations, continuing education, quality assurance, and recruitment. Her dedication to the advancement of physical therapy is further evident through her scholarly endeavors, encompassing 17 peer-reviewed presentations (both platforms and posters), along with one peer-reviewed publication. Since 2019, Danks has also been an integral part of the Dakota Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) Health Resources Services Administration grant, further enhancing her impact within the field of physical therapy.
  • Dr. Schawnn Decker has been an invaluable member of the Department of Physical Therapy, dedicating 26 years to educating and shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals. Throughout her tenure, she has exhibited an unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching. As a Teaching Associate Professor, Decker has left an indelible mark on her students, inspiring them to embrace the challenges and rewards of their chosen field. Her ability to cultivate a dynamic and engaging learning environment has empowered countless students to realize their full potential and embark on successful careers in healthcare. In her role as Assistant Director of Clinical Education, Schawnn has been instrumental in fostering strong partnerships with clinical sites and enhancing the practical training experiences of PT students. Her attention to detail and unwavering dedication to maintaining the highest standards have significantly contributed to the growth and reputation of UND’s program. Decker’s impact extends far beyond her professional accomplishments; her warm and compassionate nature has made her a beloved mentor, advisor, and friend to many. She has consistently demonstrated a genuine interest in the well-being and success of her students and colleagues, leaving an enduring positive influence on those fortunate enough to have worked alongside her.
  • Finally, Dr. Mark Romanick, a distinguished member of the faculty at UND, has dedicated 29 years of his career to the university. Throughout this remarkable tenure, he has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of physical therapy by mentoring numerous students who have excelled in their profession. Dr. Romanick’s commitment to UND extends beyond the classroom, as he has contributed significantly through his involvement in various committees such as the graduate committee, SMHS committee on promotion and tenure, nominating committee, and curriculum committee. Notably, he has served as the chair of the curriculum committee for a year and as a committee member for several years, demonstrating his invaluable contributions to the program’s development. Additionally, his time on the scholastic standards committee has been instrumental in maintaining the PT program’s academic excellence. Dr. Romanick’s contributions extend beyond the university setting: he has made substantial contributions to the field of physical therapy by serving as treasurer and finance committee member for the American Physical Therapy Association in North Dakota for nine years. Moreover, his scholarly endeavors have yielded significant impact, with 34 peer-reviewed presentations and 10 peer-reviewed publications that have advanced knowledge in the field. Dr. Romanick’s retirement signifies the culmination of a distinguished career marked by extensive contributions to education, committee service, professional organizations, and scholarly achievements.

“While we will deeply miss Drs. Romanick, Danks, and Decker, in particular their expertise and presence within our department,” said Department of Physical Therapy Chair Cindy Flom-Meland, “we celebrate their achievements and wish them all a retirement filled with joy, relaxation, and new adventures. We express our heartfelt gratitude for their dedicated service and the immeasurable contributions they have made to our institution and the profession of physical therapy.”