It’s hard to believe that we’ve come to the completion of another academic year. It has been a busy five months since the start of our 150th anniversary year of celebrations—the time has flown. We’ve had some great 150th signature events and the highlight event of any year is of course Convocation.
On Monday, May 28, 108 graduates received their medical degrees. A class of this magnitude would have been difficult to conceive for the five graduates of the Class of 1872. Our first dean of medicine, Dr. Alexander P. Reid, led these five new doctors through an oath in Latin at this solemn event. A determined and visionary man with a passion for public health, Dr. Reid is our Dal Med 150 Innovator for May.
The diversity of our graduating Class of 2018 would also have been difficult to imagine in the late 19th century. The Class of 2018 represents a wide array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, including six graduates of African descent, for the second year in a row. We’re very proud of the increasing diversity of our graduates and look forward to seeing the richness of their contributions to the field of medicine and the communities they serve in the coming years.
Convocation honours and awards
The Class of 2018 was an outstanding class. Many students were recognized for academic achievement this year. You can see the complete list here [PDF]. Special congratulations to the ten physicians who graduated with distinction: Drs. Devin Betsch, Taylor Betsch, Madeleine Bohrer, Brad Fisher, Matthew Foss, Amye Harrigan, Allan Kember, Laura Kerr, Devon McLean, and Christy Stephenson. Special commendations also to the winner of the Dr. Chester B. Stewart Gold Medal for the highest standing in medicine, Dr. Matthew Foss.
Two students received Gold “D” as voted on by their classmates for making special contributions to the success and fulfillment of the class of 2018. Dr. Carly Baxter and Dr. Michael MacGillivary were presented these awards by the president of the Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association, Dr. John Steeves.
This year’s recipient of the DMAA Silver Shovel Award is Dr. Babar Haroon, an associate professor in the Department of Critical Care. The silver shovel is given each year to that very special professor whom the students select as most influential in their undergraduate medical training. Dr. Haroon is known for his great compassion and sensitivity as a clinician and a mentor in some of the more difficult aspects of medicine, including end-of-life care.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was the awarding of an honourary degree to our former dean of medicine from 2009 to 2015, Dr. Tom Marrie. As many of you are well aware, Dr. Marrie was instrumental in re-designing our undergraduate curriculum to the highest national standards in the face of a very unfavorable accreditation review in 2009. He also implemented the highly successful Research in Medicine program and oversaw the launch of Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick. He had an enormous positive impact on the medical school’s development at a critical time and is most deserving of this honour.
The Faculty of Medicine Convocation also saw the graduation of 10 students to receive Masters degrees and seven students receiving their PhDs. Four of the PhD students were supervised by members of the Faculty of Pathology. Congratulations to all of our graduating graduate students as well.
Medical Sciences first graduating class
2018 marked another convocation milestone, with the graduation of our first class from the medical sciences program. Fifty-five pioneering students will receive Bachelor of Medical Science degrees on June 1. This degree provides them with an exceptional preparation to pursue degrees in medicine, dentistry and other health professions, or further studies and careers in research. In fact, ten of the graduates have been accepted into our MD program!
This convocation ceremony was particularly special because the convocation address was delivered our assistant Dean for BSc Medical Sciences, Dr. Sarah Wells. Congratulations to Dr. Wells for this honour and for the great messages she brought to our graduates. Also graduating in this ceremony were students in our Biochemistry and Microbiology programs. Congratulations to all!!!
Graduate Student Research Day
The Professional & Research Education Program’s (PREP) Graduate Student Research Day was held May 17-18th. The event is one of the largest research showcases on Dalhousie University campus and promotes the importance and presence of the excellent research happening here. This year, the event received over 70 abstracts, which were presented during a full day of platform and poster presentations. 2018 Excellence in Research Awards were presented to Derek Clements (Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine) and Holly Matthias (School of Health & Human Performance, Faculty of Health). Congratulations to all students for their great research efforts.
Our anniversary celebrations are continuing with a steady stream of signature events. Most recently, the Faculty of Medicine Graduate Student Society, the departments of Radiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Bioethics and Pharmacology presented highly successful events, and the Department of Microbiology & Immunology teamed up with the Medical Development Research Office to host Graduate Student Research Day.
Coming in June
June brings several events, including the Medical Education Institute, on June 8, hosted by Continuing Professional Development. This event will include two guest speakers; Dr. Preston Smith, former Dean of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan (“Medicine and Leadership in Medicine: 2030 and Beyond”) and Dr. Susan Lieff, Professor, University of Toronto (“The Times They Are Changing and so Must Our Approach to Leadership”).
The 2018 Dr. Karen Mann Lecture and Reception will be held June 8, in honour of the late Dr. Mann, who was a great leader in medical education scholarship. Keynote speaker, Dr. Kevin Eva, will honour Dr. Mann’s collaborative and nurturing spirit by reflecting on the Herculean efforts she made to help others effectively and enjoyably enter health professional education.
June also brings the faculty development weekend—hosted by Family Medicine, with a focus on wellness—and the Department of Surgery Grand Rounds Lecture, which will take a look back at the medical response to the Halifax Explosion with an eye to lessons that can be applied disaster response planning today. The Department of Radiation Oncology is hosting the Atlantic Radiotherapy Conference in the middle of the month and, on the 20th, the Department of Anesthesia will host its 150th grand rounds lecture, The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action for Health, presented by Dr. Alika Lafontaine, president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.
The 2nd Symposium of the newly-founded Canadian Society for Virology (CSV2018) will be held June 13-15th and feature keynote speakers Dr. Kate O’Brien and Dr. David Kelvin. CSV2018 will unite basic, clinical, epidemiological and industrial virus researchers from across Canada, to discuss their research and foster exchanges and collaborative activities. There will be a strong emphasis on enhanced training opportunities for students and fellows, including breakout sessions on STEM communication, career development, scientific publishing and ethics.
New department head
I’m pleased to announce that we have appointed a new head and chief of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Jim Bentley. Dr. Bentley has been a member of the department since 1999, serving as head of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and playing an important role in women’s health. His primary interests are in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.
Dr. Bentley will be replacing Dr. Tony Armson, who served as the head of Obstetrics & Gynecology for 10 years. We appreciate Dr. Armson’s strong leadership over the past decade, guiding the department through significant advances in research, clinical care, teaching and global health. Upon his retirement, Dr. Armson will continue to pursue his passion for international women’s and children’s health. On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, I extend sincere gratitude and best wishes to Dr. Armson.
Save the date! Med150 Gala weekend is November 2-4, 2018
Even though the days are still getting longer, our long-anticipated 150th Gala Weekend is fast approaching. Plans for the weekend are coming together and it promises to be a fantastic time. We will kick off on November 2 with a symposium on meeting the health care needs of the future, along with guided tours of our research and education labs and facilities. These will be followed by a host of alumni gatherings, a luncheon to honour our Dal Med Innovators, and our gala dinner and dance on November 3. The weekend will wind down with a breakfast hosted by Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation and even more alumni events. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for information on how you can purchase your gala tickets!
On that note, I will wrap up with a big thank you to our faculty and staff for your hard work this year, and congratulations to our medical and medical sciences graduates for your tremendous accomplishment! I wish all of you the very best in the next stages of your career.