Schmitz is new chair of Family and Community Medicine

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News Article

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—David F. Schmitz, MD, has been named the chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He is an internationally known and respected clinician who has extensive research expertise in training and retaining physicians in rural and underserved areas. Since 2013, Schmitz has been the chief rural officer for the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho in Boise, where he serves as the chief quality officer, as well as program director of the Rural Training Tracks for the Caldwell and Magic Valley Programs in Idaho. He practices as a family physician and teaches for the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho. Schmitz will begin work as chair at UND on October 15, 2016, although he will spend some of his time during his first three months at UND helping to wind down his activities in Idaho.

At the UND SMHS, Schmitz will work collaboratively with the faculty and institutional leaders to build upon the School’s strong nationally recognized rural medicine program. As chair, he will work with the SMHS's clinical partners to innovatively meet the need for education and training of current and future health professionals to effectively serve rural and underserved areas of the state.

“Dr. Schmitz’s background, training, and experience are almost a perfect match with our needs here at UND and in North Dakota,” said Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH, UND vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “Dave is a highly accomplished and highly respected family medicine clinician, scholar, administrator, and teacher with local, regional, national, and international recognition.”

“It is an honor to join the University of North Dakota,” Schmitz said. “My entire career has centered around the mission I personally share with this department and the UND SMHS. I am dedicated to serving the needs of our patients, our communities, and our school. Together we will continue to strive to meet the needs of the state of North Dakota while setting an example nationally.”

Schmitz earned his medical doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His residency training was completed in family medicine at the Family Practice Residency of Idaho in Boise. Schmitz is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is board-certified in family medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine, where he has been a diplomate since 1999.

While practicing in rural Idaho before returning to medical education in 2005, he served as chief of staff of a critical access hospital and cofounded the St. Maries Volunteer Community Clinic in St. Maries, Idaho. He is a past-president of the Idaho Rural Health Association and currently president-elect of the National Rural Health Association. He is the founding chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians Member Interest Group on Rural Health. He also serves the academy through its quality and practice, and its education commissions. Schmitz is an Advisory Council member for the National Rural Health Resource Center, Technical Assistance and Service Center. He is an executive committee member of the Global Association of Family Doctors Working Party on Rural Health. The association is a selected small group of rural medical education leaders who collaborate worldwide to share research, best practices, and opportunities for training rural family physicians.

Schmitz’s research and scholarly interests are in rural physician workforce development, recruitment, and retention; the development of rural communities’ healthcare resources; and quality improvement in rural healthcare. He has published and presented extensively on his research, having published or delivered over 150 publications, technical reports, and presentations.