We just finished a busy time of year with convocation and virtual grad celebrations wrapping up but taking the time to look back at our faculty’s accomplishments makes me extremely proud.
Before I get into recent highlights, I would be remiss if I did not mention the tremendous grief our nation is experiencing over the deaths of the 215 Indigenous children from the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nations at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. On behalf of the medical school, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all whose anguish has been caused by residential school violence against Indigenous peoples.
June is National Indigenous History Month. For generations, Indigenous peoples in Canada have been activists and advocates for their communities and loved ones. We all have something we can do to honour the lives impacted by the violence of colonization and to support our Indigenous community partners in respectful ways.
The past two weeks have been especially difficult for Canadians. The horrific aftermath the recent attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario compounds this hardship and is felt deeply by our learners, staff, faculty, and patients. For many of our peers, especially those who have experienced racism here in Nova Scotia, this attack has hit close to home and has had an enormous impact on our learners, staff, faculty, and patients.
While we make gains to diversify our medical school community and celebrate our successes, we must remember that racism and oppression still exist, and we all need to work together to eradicate these forms of hatred. I hope you will join me in taking the time to pause, reflect, and better education ourselves on this unimaginable loss experienced by the families and communities who have been targeted and directly affected by racism.
Congratulations to the Class of 2021
On Friday, May 14, 2021, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick held its Virtual Launch Ceremony, which recognized the completion of four years of undergraduate medical education for medical students in their home province of New Brunswick. One week later, we celebrated the accomplishments of the entire graduating class with a live stream of the Virtual Convocation and Awards Ceremony and, despite celebrating remotely, cheered loudly as 106 graduates received their medical degrees from Dalhousie Medical School.
These two events would not have been possible without the hard work of Ms. Sharon Forward and the Student Affairs Office for the Virtual Convocation, and Ms. Alexandra Fournier at DMNB for the Launch Ceremony. Thank you and well done to you all!
As we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates and wish them well as they begin their residencies on July 1st, work within the Faculty of Medicine continues. To all our undergraduate students, graduate students, and residents, you have all done exceptionally well to have managed your affairs throughout this incredibly challenging year and I would like to commend all of our students for the encouragement and support they have been providing to one another. As we move through these uncertain times, it is especially encouraging to see everyone working so well together.
Convocation Honours and Awards
The Class of 2021 was an outstanding class. Many students were recognized for academic achievement this year. You can see the complete list of awards here.
This year’s recipient of the DMAA Silver Shovel Award is Ms. Wanda White. Ms. White is a Registered Nurse and coordinator of the DMNS procedural skills program who is known for her great compassion and sensitivity as a clinician and a mentor. The silver shovel is given each year to that very special educator whom the students select as most influential in their undergraduate medical training.
The Resident Teaching Award is awarded annually by the graduating class in recognition of teaching excellence from among the residents of the Faculty of Medicine. This year’s winner, as voted by the class of 2021, is Dr. Jessica Pinkham.
The Faculty of Medicine Convocation also saw the graduation of nine students receiving Masters’ degrees and eight students receiving their PhDs. Congratulations to all our graduating students.
Honorary Member of the Graduating Class
This award was established to recognize an individual who has gone above and beyond their duties and in doing so has contributed significantly to various aspects of student life at Dalhousie Medical School. By a landslide, the Class of 2021 voted the late Mr. Ryan Clow and the MedIT Department as honorary members of the graduating class. As some of you may know, Ryan tragically passed away very suddenly on February 5, 2021. He was the Director of MedIT and an integral part of students’ education across both campuses. On behalf of the entire medical school community, I am grateful to the Class of 2021 for selecting Ryan for this honour.
Annual Faculty Meeting
At our Annual Faculty Meeting on June 8, 2021, I had to opportunity to speak to how, throughout the ups and downs of this year, we have made the most of unforeseen opportunities. Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine has demonstrated a sustained resolve to serve and engage society and inspire and enable excellence in health and healthcare through medical education and research programs. You can read about some of the highlights over the past year in my annual report. For more details, I refer you to the Faculty Council webpage.
2021 marks the completion of the strategic plan of the Faculty of Medicine #DalMedForward. I want to acknowledge the leadership of our executive sponsors on the implementation of #DalMedForward: Dr. Jennifer Hall, Associate Dean, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, who has lead Education; Dr. Roger McLeod, Associate Dean, Research, who has lead Research; and Senior Associate Dean, Dr. Darrell White, and more recently Dr. Gaynor Watson Creed, who have led Serving and Engaging Society.
This plan has paved the way to fulfilling our vision to be internationally leading in medical education and research and being responsive to the health needs across the Maritimes. You can learn more about highlights and details of our strategic plan goals, success stories, and updates on how things have proceeded with our priority initiatives in our progress updates.
2021 Faculty of Medicine Awards
During our Annual Faculty Meeting, we recognized a number of faculty members with our annual Faculty of Medicine awards for education, research, clinical practice, and community service. We also recognized our leaders at all levels in the Faculty of Medicine for their continued commitment in supporting our departments, divisions, and units across the Maritimes in achieving the faculty’s academic mission.
The nominees chosen for these awards demonstrated significant accomplishments in their work directly related to Dalhousie’s leadership competencies, both as a team member or team leader. Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients. For a full list of awardees, click the links below.
- Faculty of Medicine Awards of Excellence [PDF]
- Faculty of Medicine Awards of Excellence in Medical Research [PDF]
- Promotions [PDF]
A special thank you to our 2021 selection committee, and those that took the time to recognize and nominate your colleagues.
Appointment of Dr. Eileen Denovan-Wright, Associate Dean, Research
On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Eileen Denovan-Wright has been appointed Associate Dean, Research, for a five-year term. This appointment is effective July 1, 2021. Dr. Denovan-Wright joined the Department of Pharmacology as a scholarship-funded postdoctoral fellow in 1995 and was appointed as an Assistant Professor in 2000 and as a Professor of Pharmacology in 2010.
In announcing Dr. Denovan-Wright’s appointment, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Dr. Roger McLeod for his tireless efforts and dedication to the research community over the past four years. Dr. McLeod has been instrumental in managing the successful operation of the Faculty of Medicine’s research programs throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.
Dr. Andrew Lynk reappointed as Head/Chief of the Department of Pediatrics
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Andrew Lynk has been reappointed as the Department Head for the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, and Chief of Pediatrics at the IWK Health Centre. In this joint appointment, Dr. Lynk will continue to direct and manage the clinical and academic affairs in the department, be responsible for administering and developing the clinical, teaching, and research programs, and will be a key member of the senior leadership team. This appointment is effective July 1, 2021, for a five-year term.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Lynk on his reappointment.
Another very successful residency match took place last month. We are pleased that 100% of our new entry-level residency positions have matched and will be ready to go for July 1st, 2021, and that 63% of our graduating students are choosing to stay at Dalhousie for their residencies.
We are also pleased that the number of students matching to family medicine increased this year from 37% in 2020 to 46% in 2021. As many of you are aware, under the leadership of our Department of Family Medicine, increased emphasis throughout our undergraduate medicine curriculum has been put into place to make our students aware of the importance of (and great career opportunities available to) family physicians.
Virtual Graduate Student Research Days
Congratulations to all those involved in planning the 2021 Virtual Graduate Student Research Day held on June 1, 2021. I would like to acknowledge that this event would not have been possible without the extraordinary ingenuity and collaboration between the Medical Research Development Office, MedIT, the various departments throughout Dalhousie, and the students and presenters, who have all stepped up to make this event a success.
Special mention to Prathyusha Konda, from the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, who was the recipient of the 2021 Faculty of Medicine Excellence in Research Award. This major award is given to the graduate student within the Faculty of Medicine who has demonstrated excellence in research. Each department within the Faculty of Medicine nominates one student, who is then evaluated on the basis of scientific merit by a review committee.
A wrap on Euphoria! Through the Ages
Thank you to everyone who helped support this year’s virtual production of Euphoria! Through the Ages. The Dalhousie Medical Students’ Society is proud to announce that it has raised a grand total of $20,465.49 and counting for this year’s chosen charity, Brunswick Street Mission. The DMSS will be offering a long term digital access/DVD option which will continue to increase their fundraising total over the coming weeks. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dalhousie IMPACT Awards
Every year at the Dalhousie IMPACT Awards, dozens of different awards are presented by the university and the Dalhousie Student Union to recognize the many ways individual students and student groups improve our communities every day.
Congratulations to the Individual Award winners, Mr. Eric Poon, MD Candidate, Class of 2023 (Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award), Ms. Emma McDermott, MD Candidate, Class of 2023 (Green Award), and Mr. Keegan O’Shea, Master’s Student, Department of Medical Neuroscience (Intramurals & Sports Club Award). Congratulations as well to the Faculty Leadership Award winners, Mr. Bright Huo, MD Candidate, Class of 2023, and Mr. Brett Ells, MD Candidate, Class of 2023. These students have exemplified the highest level of passion for their discipline, take initiative in creating new opportunities and encourage their peers to engage in faculty initiatives.
Read more about their work and the work of other IMPACT award recipients here.
2021 Doctors Nova Scotia Award Winners
Congratulations to the faculty members whose work was recently recognized by Doctors Nova Scotia with their 2021 annual achievement awards. The awards celebrate the dedication of Doctors Nova Scotia’s members, physicians who go beyond the call of duty, but are rarely acknowledged for their hard work. This year, Doctors Nova Scotia honoured eight physicians for exemplary achievement.
For the full list, and a description of achievements, please visit the Doctors Nova Scotia website.
Dr. Sarah Manos named 2020-2021 RDoC Award recipient
Dr. Sarah Manos, Director of Postgraduate Medical Education and Associate Professor at the Department of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University, is being honoured nationally for her contributions to improving the wellness of resident doctors in Canada. Dr. Manos is receiving the Resident Doctors of Canada Puddester Award for Resident Wellness, staff category.
Dr. Christine Chambers named 2021 Dennis Drotar Distinguished Research Award recipient
Dr. Christine Chambers, a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology and Neuroscience, and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Pain and Child Health has been named the recipient of the 2021 Dennis Drotar Distinguished Research Award by the Society of Pediatric Psychology Division 54 of the American Psychological Association. Formerly known as the Logan Wright Distinguished Research Award, this award recognizes excellence and significant contributions in establishing the scientific base of pediatric psychology.
Dr. Sharon Clarke receives CAR Young Investigator Award
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Sharon Clarke for winning the CAR Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Association of Radiologists. This award is presented to a CAR member in the early stages of their career and recognizes exceptional contributions to medical imaging-related research. Dr. Clarke is the first woman to receive the award in Canada and faculty members of Dalhousie University have won the award more than any other university.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s 2021 Scholars
Congratulations to Dr. Jasmine Mah, who has been selected as one of fifteen leading doctoral researchers from across Canada and around the world who have been selected for the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s leadership program as 2021 Scholars.
Dr. Mah is a resident doctor who is passionate about caring for older adults. She holds an MD from the University of Ottawa and an MSc from the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As part of the Clinician Investigator and Internal Medicine Programs at Dalhousie University, Dr. Mah’s doctoral research uses epidemiology and statistics to better understand how social vulnerability and frailty influence health outcomes, use of healthcare resources, and long-term care placement.
Dr. Amanda Caissie Appointed Interim Head, Department of Radiation Oncology
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Amanda Caissie has been appointed Interim Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Caissie is a radiation oncologist and assistant professor in Dalhousie’s Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Caissie’s contributions to national and international radiotherapy QI initiatives include Chair of the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology (CARO) Quality and Standards Committee and Steering Committee member of the Canadian Partnership for Quality Radiotherapy (CPQR) including working groups of Big Data and Patient Reported Outcomes.
In announcing Dr. Caissie’s interim appointment, I would like to thank Dr. Jean‑Philippe Pignol for his strong leadership in the Department of Radiation Oncology over the past three years. He recruited additional specialists, co-supervised graduate students, advanced capacity for original and translational research as well as clinical trials, directly impacting clinical care.
On-campus asymptomatic COVID-19 rapid testing clinic
COVID-19 testing is an important part of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and keeping one another safe. As Nova Scotia’s reopening strategy gets underway, and as more faculty, staff and students prepare to return to campus, regular testing becomes even more important. To make access to testing even more convenient for the Dal community, Dalhousie University has collaborated with Nova Scotia Public Health to launch a self-swab COVID-19 rapid screening program for faculty, staff, and students on the Carleton campus. For more information on hours and location, and to book your appointment, please visit Dalhousie’s COVID‑19 information and updates website.
Volunteers will play a key role in this important public health initiative. I know that the medical school community is caring and engaged, and I encourage anyone who is able to consider whether this is something that they can do to assist the province. For information about available positions, please check out these volunteer activities.
In Memoriam: Dr. Arnold Mitnitski
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Dr. Arnold Mitnitski, a retired faculty member and Professor Emeritus of Medicine, passed away on May 26, 2021, after a brief illness. Dr. Mitnitski joined the Geriatric Medicine Research team at Dalhousie Medical School as Assistant Professor in 2002 and devoted his work to the mathematical aspects of aging. As part of a longstanding collaboration with Dr. Kenneth Rockwood (Department of Medicine), he developed an integrated measure of human health known as the Frailty Index, which now has numerous applications in a variety of areas, including epidemiology, clinical medicine, biology, and most recently even in macro-economics.
Dr. Mitnitski was honoured to have been acknowledged as Professor Emeritus of Medicine. He had a special love for Dalhousie, and especially the opportunities afforded to him by the Department of Medicine. Donations in his memory can be made to the QEII Research Foundation, or the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, both long-time supporters of his outstanding contributions to science and to health care.
In Memoriam: Dr. Bernard (Bernie) Badley
It is with deep sorrow that I share the news that Dr. Bernard (Bernie) Badley, a retired faculty member, passed away on April 30, 2021, at the age of 87, surrounded by his loving family. Dr. Badley began his career with Dalhousie Medical School and the (now) Nova Scotia Health Authority in 1965 – a journey that would continue for the next 50 years. As one of the first gastroenterologists in Atlantic Canada, Dr. Badley revelled in his role as teacher to generations of medical students and postgraduates who trained under his tutelage. Dr. Badley held several administrative roles within Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine (including Vice-Dean) and the Royal College of Canada where, for several years, he served as Chief Examiner of Gastroenterology. Dr. Badley was the founder and Medical Director of Nova Scotia’s Colon Cancer Prevention Program, the most comprehensive in Canada, in 2009. Under his supervision, the novel program ultimately decreased the number of Nova Scotians being diagnosed with and dying from colon cancer.
Dr. Badley’s commitment to the Tupper Band was a role he held for over 40 years serving as the band’s conductor. As part of the Tupper Band’s 30th Anniversary Spring Concert that took place in April 2010, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, then Dr. Thomas Marrie, presented the first ever Dr. Bernard Badley Music in Medicine Scholarship. This was to honour both Dr. Badley and his dedication over many years as a faculty member of Dalhousie University and 30 years as the conductor of the Tupper Concert Band. A full obituary can be found online here.
As this extraordinary academic year draws to a close, I want to remind us all of the complexities and challenges faced by our students and residents as they have proceeded with their educations, and those of our staff and faculty as they continue to work remotely in a consistently changing environment. All faculty, staff, and students should feel incredibly proud of the way you have navigated your way through these unprecedented times together.
For those if you returning to Dalhousie in the fall, please stay well, get a COVID-19 vaccine when the opportunity becomes available, and thanks again for all you are doing. I look forward to welcoming you back in September.
Best wishes to all and take care of yourselves and your families.