UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences to Confer 75 Doctor of Medicine Degrees on New Physicians

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) will confer the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree on 75 graduating medical students in a Commencement Ceremony to be held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, at UND’s Chester Fritz Auditorium.

Along with UND President Andrew Armacost, Dr. Joshua Wynne, vice president for health affairs and dean of the SMHS, will preside over this 48th Doctor of Medicine graduation event.

The graduating Class of 2023 students have completed four years of medical education to earn their M.D. degree, beginning with twenty months of instruction on the UND campus in Grand Forks followed by more than two years of training with practicing physicians who volunteer to serve as their teachers in hospitals and clinics throughout North Dakota.

The ceremony’s keynote address, “Remember: Pathologists always travel in pairs,” will be given by Walter Kemp, M.D., Ph.D. A former faculty at the SMHS who now serves as Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Montana, in addition to his teaching roles at multiple institutions, Dr. Kemp was a repeat recipient of the School’s Outstanding Block Instructor Award, a five-time recipient of the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching, and three-time winner of the Portrait Award for Outstanding Support of Medical Students.

“It’s been trial-by-fire for these young physicians, to be sure, and they not only made it through – they excelled,” said Wynne, speaking of a cohort whose first year of medical school ended with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. “This is a strong group who matched into some very competitive residency programs in North Dakota and beyond, and we wish them all the best.”

Following graduation, most members of the M.D. Class of 2023 will begin a post-graduate residency, a three- to seven-year period of advanced intensive training in their chosen medical specialty, before beginning independent practice.

In keeping with tradition, over 52 percent of the MD Class of 2023 matched into primary care specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics & gynecology, and pediatrics. More than 13 percent of the class is set to enter family medicine, a figure well above the national average of students matching into family medicine. Other specialties chosen by this year’s class include anesthesiology, radiology, emergency medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery (orthopedic and general).

“UND prepared me well for this transition to residency by exposing me to many medical situations and encouraging independence in patient encounters,” said Velva, N.D., native Sarah Lesmeister, who is soon starting a family medicine residency in Bismarck, N.D. “I am so relieved to be staying close to home for the rest of my training. I feel lucky that we have opportunities to learn from talented physicians here in North Dakota.”

View a complete list of the graduates, their hometowns, and their residency programs hereThe Commencement can be viewed live online on May 6 at: youtube.com/watch?v=hH3QC8rq8RY.

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