For Your Health
For Your Health

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

David Schmitz receives 2023 Moskol Award by 3RNET

David Schmitz, M.D., professor and chair of the SMHS Department of Family & Community Medicine, has received the 2023 Moskol Award from 3RNET, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that connects health professionals with organizations in rural and underserved communities seeking providers.

“One of my jobs when I came here,” said Schmitz, “was to engage communities in North Dakota with regard to maximizing the opportunity to teach health professions students and resident physicians in rural places, because we know the more time these individuals spend in a rural environment the more likely they are to be more competent and be confident about practicing that rural area, staying in that rural area, falling in love with the rural area, falling in love with someone in that rural area. All of these things help with retention of professionals.”

To that end, Schmitz was given the award for his many years of leadership in rural health, in particular for his engagement with UND’s Center for Rural Health and for helping develop the Community Apgar Project and Community Apgar Questionnaire (CAQ), an objective measurement tool to assess the characteristics and parameters of rural communities related to successful health professions education. The survey platform was born out of Schmitz’s desire to help communities understand what factors determine why some physicians choose one community over another for practice, and what factors cause physicians to either stay or leave a community. The CAQ has helped communities showcase their own unique factors in order to appeal to, and match up with, the right physician for their area. It has been replicated in a dozen states, and in Australia, in different formats, depending on the needs of each location.

“UND SMHS is a wonderful place, supporting not only rural medical education but also research related to rural healthcare recruitment and retention,” Schmitz told UND. “I am grateful for all of the opportunities to continue our work as a team here at UND. I can’t overstate the contributions of the UND Center for Rural Health to this work over the years.”

As a 3RNET news release on the award noted, “Dave’s dedication to and passion for rural are obvious and contagious.”

“Rural communities are full of people who care for each other,” Schmitz told 3RNET. “I feel like that is the ‘safety net’ and backbone of people struggling together to do the right thing with limited resources and against the odds. That makes rural really special.”

Congratulations, Dr. Schmitz!