UND, Sanford partner to train neurologists, oncologists

The Sanford-based Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program and Neurology Resident Training Program are part of a historic $300 million philanthropic investment, announced by Sanford Health in March, to transform rural health care delivery for generations.

102920.N.GFH.Joshua Wynne MD.png
Dr. Joshua Wynne, of the University of North Dakota. Photo courtesy of UND Today

Sanford Health and the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences have launched two new graduate medical education programs to enhance specialty care across the region.

The Sanford-based Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program and Neurology Resident Training Program are part of a historic $300 million philanthropic investment, announced by Sanford Health in March, to transform rural health care delivery for generations.

Sanford Health is working with its academic partners to create eight new fellowships and residencies in a number of critical specialty areas. The health care provider says the “unprecedented expansion will bring highly sought-after clinical expertise, resources and subspecialties to North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota so patients can access high-quality care close to home.”

Both specializations are growing in demand nationally and both are facing a shortage of providers, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Neurology, in particular, will likely see a “substantial increase in demand” over the next decade, according to one AAMC report.

The two programs will be sponsored by the UND medical school and funded by Sanford Health.


Dr. Jau-Shin Lou, director of the UND neurology residency and chair of neurology at Sanford Health, said in the release that North Dakota has a “very severe shortage of neurologists.” The state needs about 40 neurologist, but only has 22 currently, that need is expected to increase over the next two decades because of the aging population in North Dakota, he said.

The case is similar for the cancer-based hematology-oncology sub-specialization, said Dr. Matthew Tinguely, UND fellowship program director and hematologist/oncologist at Sanford Health. Tinguely’s new program will be conducting applicant interviews this fall for fellows who will begin in July 2022.

“In 2017 the Centers for Disease Control released a report revealing that while cancer death rates decreased nationwide between 2006 through 2015, there was a gap between urban and rural results,” Tinguely said. “Even though cancer death rates in rural America are decreasing, the decrease is not on par with urban America. In fact, the incidence of cervical, lung and colorectal cancer are still higher in rural America, as are death rates from cervical, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers.”

There also is evidence of under-diagnosis of some cancers in rural counties. Part of the solution, Tinguely said, is not only to recruit and retain more oncologists to rural regions, but to train medical oncology and hematology physicians locally for practice in a rural setting.

The new fellowship between UND and Sanford hopes to help bridge those gaps. The fellowship will be the first accredited program for hematology and oncology in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, according to Sanford.

The neurology residency has accepted three residents this year for its four-year program. The neurology residency program will have three residents per year. The three-year hematology-oncology fellowship will take two post-graduate fellows per year.

A fellowship is a program for physicians who have completed a residency in a related specialty. The new UND-Sanford hematology-oncology fellowship is accepting fellows who have already completed a three-year internal medicine residency.

“The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences has been a strong advocate for a ‘grow your own’ approach to addressing the health care workforce needs of North Dakota,” said Dr. Joshua Wynne, dean of the UND medical school. “These two new programs are the latest contributions to that approach, and the beneficiaries will be the people of the state and region.”

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 or call her at 701-780-1134.
What To Read Next
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
Sponsors include Farmers Union Enterprises, Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.
Earl Mallinger, farmed for his entire life, near Oslo, Minnesota, and still was actively involved in raising 1,000 acres of crops during the 2022 growing season.