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Director of UND's INMED program headed to Johns Hopkins in Maryland

Warne, who is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D., will be the first enrolled member of an American Indian tribe in history to serve as a full professor at Johns Hopkins University.

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Dr. Donald Warne, who has served as the UND medical school's director for the Indians Into Medicine program, will be heading to Johns Hopkins in September. (Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald)
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GRAND FORKS — Noted Indigenous health researcher and director of UND’s Indians Into Medicine program, Dr. Donald Warne, is heading east to Johns Hopkins University.

Warne will move to the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Hopkins as of Sept. 1. He will be a tenured full professor at Hopkins, located in Baltimore, and will be the Provost Fellow for Indigenous Policy and co-direct the university's Center for American Indian Health.

Warne, who is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D., will be the first enrolled member of an American Indian tribe in history to serve as a full professor at Johns Hopkins University.

During his time at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the school has seen growth in its public and Indigenous health programming. The school has also launched the world’s first doctoral program for Indigenous health, a program that has enrolled about 50 students in its first three years.

“I feel a lot of gratitude toward UND,” Warne said. “It's been a blessing to work here.”

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He said he is proud of the work the department has done and to be a part of the line of leadership at the INMED program.

Warne has overseen many parts of the medical school. In addition to being the director of the INMED program since 2018, Warne has also served as the medical school’s associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, chairman of the Indigenous Health department and was the principal investigator of a large National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant looking at the impact and response to historical trauma

He will remain on at UND with a 20% consulting role with the medical school, Dr. Joshua Wynne, dean of the UND medical school, said in a recent newsletter. Wynne said the medical school plans to split up Warne’s other various roles. Dr. Daniel Henry, co-director of INMED, will also be a key person in the leadership transition.

Wynne added that while it’s bittersweet to see Warne leave UND, his departure to a large school on the East Coast is also a reflection of the work being done in Grand Forks and North Dakota.

“That's a pretty good reflection on UND, obviously. Most of all, it's a reflection of Don and the work he's done,” Wynne said. “But it's also a reflection of what he was able to do here at UND. So we are sad, but also proud and happy.”

UND has been on the “leading edge” in the academic world in addressing Indigenous health, including nearly 50 years of the INMED program, and establishing a department in the area. In addition to being the first full professor to be an enrolled member of an American Indian tribe, Warne has been one of just three American Indian associate deans in the country and will be the first Indigenous person to serve in a leadership capacity at the Center for American Indian Health, he said. He added the name of center will be changing to the Center for Indigenous Health next month.

“I think one of the reasons I'm passionate about this work is that I'd like to get to the point in the relatively near future, when we can no longer say that we are the first in anything,” he said. “We should have Indigenous peoples in these roles in a much more pervasive manner . . . I’d like to get to the point where it's just the norm and not an exception.”

Warne hopes the programs being developed at Johns Hopkins will create opportunities for collaborative research and additional education for UND, as well, including postdoctoral training programs.”

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“The connectivities will be very strong, and it’ll create additional opportunities that do not yet exist,” he said.

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Sydney Mook has been the managing editor at the Herald since April 2021. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook has been with the Herald since May 2018 and was first hired as the Herald's higher education reporter where she covered UND and other happenings in state higher education. She was later promoted to community editor in 2019.


For story pitches contact her at smook@gfherald.com or call her at 701-780-1134.
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