As we enter summer I trust we are all taking advantage of the weather and enjoying the benefits of living in the Maritime Provinces. As we come to the end of the academic year, I’d like to provide some updates about events and happenings around Dalhousie Medical School.
Convocation related activities started in May in Saint John with the Launch Ceremony celebrating the achievements of our Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) graduating students in the class of 2019. With Dr. Peggy Leighton, the President of the Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association (DMAA), we had a reception the night before the Launch ceremony in honour of the DMNB component of the graduating class of 2019 and also celebrating the 5th anniversary of the first cohort of students graduating from DMNB. More information on the Launch Ceremony and DMAA Alumni Reception can be found here.
This was followed by the 2019 class of Dalhousie Medical School walking across the stage at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium for convocation on May 21, 2019.
The class of 2019 was an outstanding class of 119 students, with many being recognized for academic achievement this year. This class was particularly special for me as this is the class that started medical school, as I became Dean. You can see the complete list of graduates and award winners here.
Special commendation also goes to the winner of the Dr. Chester B. Stewart Gold Medal for the highest standing in medicine from the class of 2019, Dr. Samuel Armstrong.
The Faculty of Medicine Convocation also saw the graduation of five students to receive Master’s degrees and three students receiving their PhDs. Congratulations to all of our graduating graduate students as well. Special congratulations to Dr. Alexandra Legge, who received the Governor General’s Gold Medal Award for the most outstanding Master’s Graduate while doing her Master’s in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology.
Congratulations and thanks to Dr. Christine Short, Head of the Department of Medicine, who gave the commencement address to our graduates.
New Dal President
As many of you are aware, Dalhousie recently announced the appointment of Dr. Deep Saini as the 12th president and vice-chancellor of Dalhousie University. Dr. Saini is joining us from the University of Canberra in Australia, where he is currently vice-chancellor and president. I am looking forward to working with Dr. Saini and welcoming him to Dalhousie when he begins his appointment January 1st, 2020.
I would also like to thank outgoing interim-president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Peter MacKinnon, for his collaborative leadership and passion for Dalhousie during the six months that he served in this role. Dr. MacKinnon will be returning home to Saskatchewan in July.
Dr. Stephen Miller was recently appointed as Director of Simulation at Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Miller is the Assistant Dean of the Skilled Clinician Program and Interprofessional Education in Undergraduate Medical Education at Dalhousie University Medical School. He is an Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and attending staff at the Charles V. Keating Emergency and Trauma Center.
In this newly created position, Dr. Miller will provide oversight and support the design, development, and implementation of the Faculty of Medicine’s simulation learning experiences across the continuum of undergraduate, post-graduate and continuing medical education. Dr. Miller will be the inaugural Co-chair of the SIM-Ed Network Collaborative committee that will serve to align simulation activities occurring between Dalhousie University, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre. Congratulations, Dr. Miller.
I am pleased to officially welcome Dr. OmiSoore H. Dryden, Dalhousie’s James Robinson Johnston (JRJ) Chair in Black Canadian Studies. Dr. Dryden has been appointed to the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Community Health & Epidemiology. This six-year appointment was effective May 1st, 2019.
Dr. Dryden will enhance diversity, foster community outreach, and build a health research program that is collaborative, interdisciplinary and nationally recognized. Dr. Dryden’s is the first James R. Johnston Chair appointment to the Faculty of Medicine. A full story can be read on Dal Med News.
I would like to say a fond farewell to Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) CEO, Mr. Brian Thompson, who has accepted the position of Executive Director, Health Affairs at McGill University. Brian’s enthusiasm and passion for health research has had tremendous impact in supporting research at Dalhousie. He spearheaded growth and reorganization of DMRF and aligned its supports with key research priorities in the Faculties of Medicine, Health and Dentistry at Dalhousie. Thank you very much Brian, and best of luck in the future.
I would also like to recognize two other research leaders in the Faculty of Medicine who are leaving us for great opportunities elsewhere. Dr. Jason Berman, the Program Director of our Post-graduate Clinical Investigator program and the interim Head of Research at the IWK is leaving for Ottawa where he is to become the CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. Dr. Ron George, who led the Research in Medicine program since its inception has accepted a position as Head of Obstetrical Anaesthesia at the University of California at San Francisco. Many thanks for the contributions of Dr. Berman and Dr. George and we wish you well with your new positions.
At our Annual Faculty Meeting on June 11, 2019, we recognized a number of faculty members with our annual Faculty of Medicine awards for education, research, clinical practice and community service.
Most deserving and moving for me was Dr. Stephen Couban, posthumously receiving the Senior Faculty of Medicine Award for Clinical Practice. Dr. Couban gave tirelessly to his patients, colleagues and staff over his illustrious career. In addition to being an outstanding clinician, he was a respected educator, scientist, mentor and friend to many at Dalhousie and the Nova Scotia Health Authority. His sister Ms. Stella Couban accepted the award on his behalf and his mother and cousin attended this ceremony.
At a reception following the Faculty Meeting, 32 faculty members who are receiving promotion as of July 1, 2019 were recognized, along with two retiring faculty members, Dr. Stacy Ackroyd from the Department of Emergency Medicine and Dr. Gary Allen from the Department of Neurosciences.
For a full list of awardees, click the links below:
We were also very pleased that several Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine members have been recognized by Dalhousie University for their achievements at the Dalhousie University Legacy Awards. For a list of recipients and their considerable accomplishments, please see the following link.
2019 Faculty of Medicine Leadership Awards
The 2019 Faculty of Medicine Leadership Awards took place on June 13th, where we 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. A special thank you to our 2019 selection committee, and those that took the time to recognize and nominate your colleagues.
2019 Award Recipients
Dr. Simon Field, Assistant Dean, Clerkship for Dalhousie Undergraduate Medical Education
Professional & Managerial Leadership:
Charles Hsuen, Postgraduate Medical Education Administrator for VISA/IMG Trainees
Leadership in Administrative, Clerical & Technical Support:
Daryll Lambert, Education Secretary for the Department of Family Medicine
Dr. David Vaillancourt, LICD Clerkship Director
I am pleased to report that after a recent meeting with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Family Physicians, that all of Dalhousie Medical School’s 54 Postgraduate Medical Education programs have received accreditation. Although some programs will require follow up in two years time to deal with accreditation issues, the vast majority of our programs do not require follow up until the next regular follow up cycle in 2026. As part of this process, our own internal institutional program was reviewed for the first time and received full accreditation.
This postgraduate accreditation process was complicated because Dalhousie was the first medical school to be reviewed with new national accreditation standards. The accreditation also took place a time where our specialty training programs are transitioning to a new evaluation system, Competency by Design. All program directors and supports deserve full credit for this outstanding result. Special thanks goes to our Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education, Dr. Andrew Warren, who lead the Dalhousie Post-graduate accreditation process.
The pillar being discussed was “Serving and Engaging Society”, which represents work already underway and established at Dalhousie Medical School, as well as new interactions, engagements, and interventions designed to improve the health of our communities and health system function.
The town hall was co-hosted by the pillar’s strategic plan lead and Assistant Dean, Serving and Engaging Society, Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, and Senior Associate Dean, Dr. Darrell White. The town hall featured lots of engagement, and the group provided input on better defining “Serving and Engaging Society”, as well as a plan to move forward. You can stay up-to-date on all of the activities of #DalMedForward, here.
Research Funding Updates
Over the past few months, several Faculty of Medicine members have received federal financial support for their research projects. This funding is a testament to the world-class research happening within the Faculty of Medicine, and an acknowledgement of the importance of their research. Below is a snapshot of some of the research projects / researchers that received funding. For a full list of research award recipients since my last blog, please see the following link.
Solutions for Kids in Pain – Dr. Christine Chambers, Department of Paediatrics:
The federal government announced a $1.6-million grant, over four years, for Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a new knowledge mobilization network to improve children’s pain management in Canada and around the world. SKIP will be based at Dalhousie University and will include more than 100 Canadian and international partners working together to put evidence-based solutions to child pain into practice. Read more…
The Government of Canada has made a $1.9 million investment in the innovative ideas of eight early-career researchers from Dalhousie. The researchers from Dalhousie are among the first 135 early career researchers to receive the funding. Read more…
On Friday, May 24, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, was on campus to announce an investment of over $12 million to support discovery research at Dalhousie. Dr. John Archibald was one of three Dal researchers to receive funding. The data generated in Dr. Archibald’s project will contribute to a robust picture of how microbes adapt and diversify in nature. Read more…
In the past couple weeks, the Faculty of Medicine received the exciting news that it has the opportunity to recruit five Canada Research Chairs in the following areas:
- CIHR Tier 1 CRC in Functional Genomics of Inherited and Acquired Disease (available immediately)
- CIHR Tier 1 CRC in Human Translational Immunotherapeutics (available September 1, 2019)
- CIHR Tier 1 CRC in Early Intervention in Psychiatry (available April 1, 2020)
- CIHR Tier 2 CRC in Surgical Bioinformatics (available immediately)
- CIHR Tier 2 CRC in Primary Health Care and Primary Care (available April 1, 2020)
These chairs are being recruited in alignment with four of our strategic wave priorities; Genomics in Medicine, I3V (Inflammation, Infection, Immunology and Vaccinology), Neurosciences/Brain Repair Centre and Health Priorities. We will highlight the recruitment of these chairs in subsequent blogs.
As the academic year comes to a close I want to say thanks and congratulations to all our students, staff and faculty. You are doing outstanding things and fulfilling the mission of our strategic plan initiatives in Education, Research and Serving and Engaging Society. The spring didn’t bring us a lot of weather to be excited about, but summer will be kinder to us. Thank you for reading, and have a safe, productive, and enjoyable summer with your family and friends.