This past week has been a very intense week at the College of Medicine. I know the news at the start of the week was for many both surprising and concerning. I want to assure all that the CoM is moving forward and continues to vigorously pursue the goal of being the best “small medical school” in Canada producing excellence in medical, physical therapy and biomedical education, superb MD’s and PT’s for Saskatchewan communities and doing the research that improves care for Saskatchewan people.
I am very pleased that Brad Steeves, an experienced and highly regarded university administrator, has agreed to serve as Interim Chief Operating Officer at the CoM. Brad has worked at the CoM in the past and most recently has been the Director of Operations, Health Sciences and has been the leader with the Health Science Deans in building and operationalizing the Health Sciences Building. I am grateful to the deans and the staff at the Health Sciences Council in supporting the CoM at this time. I have to say I have been impressed at the way people at the U of S pull together to support each other.
It has been a very busy week. On Tuesday evening, I joined my colleagues from the Presidential Search Committee and our incoming president, Dr. Peter Stoicheff to celebrate the collaborative and collegial process that resulted in the successful selection of our new president. Peter has made it clear that he is highly supportive in seeing the College of Medicine succeed and I look forward to working closely with him.
Wednesday was an extremely busy day for me. In the morning I had presented to the University’s Board of Governors an update on the progress of the CoM. In the afternoon, I made a presentation to the Board of the Saskatchewan Medical Association. Building strong partnerships for the CoM is key to our success but as we transition to a provincial-wide One Faculty Model, it is essential that the organization representing our profession and the CoM work together. I am committed to that goal. As I pointed out to the board there are over 1400 doctors in Saskatchewan (and therefore over half SMA membership) affiliated with the CoM.
Late Wednesday afternoon I attended the farewell celebration for our outgoing interim president, Dr. Gordon Barnhart. Gordon came in at a time of great need at the University of Saskatchewan and did an incredible job of creating stability, calm and bringing us together as a community. Gordon had been tremendously supportive of the CoM as well as me, personally, as dean. I want to take this opportunity to extend our collective, profound appreciation for his great leadership.
Wednesday evening was quite exciting as I participated on a panel for a students and residents forum. I was joined by Dustin Duncan, Minister of Health; Greg Ottenbreit, Minister Responsible for Rural and Remote Health; Dan Florizone, CEO Saskatoon Health Region; Dr. Mark Brown, President SMA and Dr. Dennis Kendel, CEO Saskdocs. I was really impressed that all these individuals made themselves available for our students. This is truly one of the great benefits to working in Saskatchewan. I was even more impressed by the questions to this panel from our learners and the professionalism in which they interacted with the panel. While some questions were of direct interest to the learners such as residency positions, many of their concerns were actually advocacy for our patients which made me proud.
This week cemented for me the collaboration and teamwork that I have felt since joining the University of Saskatchewan. In a time where the CoM was facing a looming deadline and the task seemed unattainable, my team was joined by a team from our Central Admin led by Jeff Dumba, and worked tirelessly to achieve the goal. I am truly appreciative to all these folks who put aside their daily tasks and made the CoM a priority. I would like extend my heartfelt thanks to these people who I am extremely proud of and extremely grateful to.
Remember my door is always open and I am interested in your input.
I hope everyone has a restful long weekend and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.