Our 150th has arrived!
Our long-anticipated 150th anniversary year has finally arrived! After a year of planning, it is very satisfying to see all of the events and tributes falling into place.
I’m especially pleased to bring your attention to our first two Dal Med Innovators—people who have made special contributions to the medical profession and our society as a whole.
Our first (January) Dal Med Innovator is Dr. Annie Hamilton, a true pioneer. She was the first woman to graduate from Dalhousie University with a medical degree, all the way back in 1894. Dr. Hamilton was well known around Halifax for crusading against tobacco and alcohol, and for making house calls on her bicycle. After a few years she travelled to China and spent the rest of her life there as a medical missionary.
Our second (February) Dal Med Innovator is a modern-day pioneer, Dr. Chadwick Williams, one of few African Nova Scotians to graduate from Dalhousie Medical School prior to last year. Even though he had no role models to inspire him on his path, Dr. Williams took a leap of faith in himself, graduating in 2004. He is now a highly respected gastroenterologist and clinical teacher, and an inspirational role model for young people in our African Nova Scotian communities.
The first indigenous African Nova Scotian to graduate from Dalhousie Medical School was Dr. Harris Barton, Class of 1978. Dr. Barton did his residency in psychiatry at the University of Ottawa and remained in Ottawa throughout his career and until his death in 2010. He was known for his compassion and dedication to his patients and his great love of friends, music and laughter.
We look forward to presenting a new Dal Med Innovator to you every month this year. We have truly been blessed by the contributions of so many outstanding individuals over the past 150 years.
If you are interested in learning more about Dalhousie Medical School’s remarkably colourful history, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Noble Goals, Dedicated Doctors: The Story of Dalhousie Medical School, written by our esteemed former Dean of Medicine, Dr. Jock Murray.
A sad farewell
Before I get any further into my announcements, I must unfortunately share some very sad news. Two members of our medical school community have recently passed away.
Dr. Angela (Angie) McGibbon, director of education for Horizon Health and an important part of our medical education team, died suddenly earlier this month.
Dr. McGibbon was a highly respected clinician and teacher. In 2017, the Canadian Association of Medicine Education (CAME) awarded her with a certificate of merit for her contributions to medical education in Canada. Among her recent contributions, Dr. McGibbon co-chaired the resident wellness task force that formed the basis for our resident wellness program, the Resident Affairs Office and the new position of assistant dean for resident affairs.
I have worked with Dr. McGibbon since she was a medical resident at Dalhousie. Her ability to multi-task and balance her work with a very active family life was inspiring. She always had great ideas and energy and was a wonderful colleague and friend. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. We extend our deepest condolences to Dr. McGibbon¹s family. View Dr. McGibbon’s obituary.
Another esteemed leader, Dr. William Francis “Bill” Mason—a former associate dean of postgraduate medical education—also recently passed away. Dr. Mason was a highly respected radiologist, who spent most of his career at the Victoria General Hospital. He served in executive capacities on numerous medical boards and committees and was a past-president of the Canadian Association of Radiologists, president of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia and a member of the board of directors of the American College of Radiology.
Beyond his professional life, Dr. Mason was very involved in the life of his community and province, receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions. Among these, he was instrumental in founding the Landmark East School in Wolfville, for children with learning disabilities. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and community. View Dr. Mason’s obituary.
150th events and celebrations on the horizon
Now that our year of 150th anniversary celebrations is underway, events are coming along quickly. I encourage you to take a look at the online event listing for an overview. At last count there were about 20 events lined up hosted by departments, students and other groups.
I would like to draw two larger-scale events to your attention. One is the Medical Education Institute on June 8, “Educating Leaders for the Next 150 years.” The Faculty Development Office is hosting this one-day seminar on how we can educate our learners to become leaders with a strong sense of social accountability.
The other major event is our 150th gala and celebration weekend from November 2 to 4. In addition to the dinner and dance on November 3 at the new Nova Scotia Convention Centre, there will be alumni gatherings and professional development events, a reception to honour our Dal Med Innovators and their families, and a breakfast hosted by Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation. We will share more particulars as we get closer to November. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, mark your calendar! This is a celebratory weekend for the entire Dalhousie Medical School community and our partners. It promises to be a fantastic weekend of events.
New leadership appointments
I’m pleased to introduce Dr. Tony O’Leary, the new head and chief of the Department of Critical Care, who will join us from Scotland in early March. Dr. O’Leary brings a strong background in clinical practice, teaching, and leadership to Dalhousie, along with a wealth of experience in the use of simulation training in medical education.
Dr. O’Leary earned his MD from the University of Dundee in Scotland, followed by training in general internal medicine, gastroenterology, anesthesia and critical care. On top of this, he holds a masters in health care leadership. He has held a wide variety of leadership roles, including a term as head of critical care at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
In announcing Dr. O’Leary’s appointment, I also want to thank Dr. Tobias Witter for taking on the role of interim head of the Department of Critical Care since 2016. He has done an excellent job leading the department and his contributions are greatly appreciated.
I’m also pleased to welcome Dr. Janice Chisholm to our leadership team, as our lead of Competency Based Medical Education (CBME). In her previous role as program director of the Department of Anesthesia’s residency training program, Dr. Chisholm led a CBME demonstration project that has provided her with unique insight and experience that will be useful to our clinical departments as they transition to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s CBME model, known as Competence By Design (CBD).
The PGME office has just launched its new CBME website, where you can learn a lot more about new this approach to medical education.
I am also happy to let you know that Ms. Jennifer Lewandowski has started as our new communications advisor this month. Jennifer brings many years of experience in the health sector to the Faculty of Medicine. Most recently, she managed public and media relations for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, and has worked in a volunteer capacity with the Ronald McDonald House Charity Atlantic Chapter, the Blue Nose International Marathon and the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run. She is the founder of Pacing in Pink, an Atlantic-Canadian initiative supporting breast health awareness in young women.
Dr. Jaymi Cormier has joined the Medical Research Development Office as manager of health research strategy, a shared position with the Faculty of Health. Dr. Cormier brings extensive experience in developing large-scale grant proposals to her new role and will be working with us to develop a high-impact health research strategy in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the IWK, the N.S. departments of Health and Wellness and Labour and Advanced Education, and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. It’s very encouraging to see this level of collaboration and alignment among the leaders of our health research organizations. The resulting health research strategy will be of great benefit to our region for years to come.
It is also exciting that this Integrated Nova Scotia Health Research Strategy is being developed at the same time a health research network is forming in New Brunswick, involving Horizon Health, the University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Community College. This collaboration with strengthen health research in New Brunswick. It is encouraging to see two of our Maritime Provinces recognizing and embracing the need for collaboration and partnership to maximize the success and impact of our research initiatives.
Accolades and acknowledgements
In keeping with Heart Month, I’m pleased to let you know what Dr. David Waisman, professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, is recipient of this year’s Dr. Greg Ferrier Award from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia. The foundation gives this award every year, in honour of the late Dr. Ferrier, to the investigator with the highest-rated proposal to its grant-in-aid competition.
Inside Dalhousie, MedIT member John Kyle has won the EMS Excellence in Clinical Simulation Champion Award. This award honours an individual who has been actively championing state-of-the-art clinical simulation-related technology, which Mr. Kyle has certainly been doing with faculty, staff, and students in the Centre for Collaborative Clinical Learning and Research. His efforts are helping transform how more than 20 health-related disciplines across Dal’s faculties of Dentistry, Medicine and Health work together to prepare learners for their careers.
On the national level, Dr. Jocelyn Downie has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada. This honour is reserved for Canadians who have made exceptional contributions to our society. Dr. Downie, a professor in the faculties of both medicine and law, is particularly well known for her contributions to the public discussion around spirituality and end-of-life care, the right to die, and physician-assisted death.
Faculty of Medicine Awards call for nominations
Several years ago, the Faculty of Medicine created a series of awards to acknowledge and celebrate excellence among our faculty members: The Faculty of Medicine Award of Excellence in Education; The Faculty of Medicine Community Teacher Award; and the Faculty of Medicine Award of Excellence in Clinical Practice.
We require excellent teachers and role models to produce excellent graduates. I encourage you to consider putting forth a nomination. The deadline for nominations is March 29, 2018. Details about eligibility for each of these awards is available here. The awards will be presented along with our faculty research awards at our June faculty meeting, to complement the awards we’ll be presenting this spring to our staff and graduating students.
We’re also seeking nominations for the Dr. Allen Cohen Memorial Award for Community Service, established in honour of the late Dr. Allan Cohen, a distinguished member of Dalhousie Medical School. This award recognizes outstanding community service among faculty, staff, and students who are making a difference through their dedicated efforts on behalf of health-related organizations and causes. The deadline for nominations is March 23, 2018.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research successes
I am very pleased with the success of Faculty of Medicine researchers, who have secured $7.7 million among them in the most recent CIHR competition. Of the 11 successful applications, three were ranked #1 in their committee. This is a tremendous achievement and indicator of the highest level of excellence, so congratulations to Dr. Susan Howlett (Pharmacology), Dr. Matthew Herder (Pharmacology, Health Law Institute) and Dr. Kenneth Rockwood (Medicine) for their top rankings! See this article for more about our winners and their projects.
We’re very pleased with these results, which place us slightly above the national average in terms of success rates this round. It has been extremely difficult to secure CIHR funding for a number of years, but recent changes to their process have made it more transparent and reliable in terms of rewarding the highest-merit proposals. At the same time, we’ve instituted an internal peer review process to ensure the top-notch quality of our researchers’ proposals, and provided bridge funding to allow researchers with promising ideas to gather proof-of-principle data to strengthen their applications. These factors together are helping our researchers succeed.