I am sharing here a brief update on some activities and some highlights from around the college and the university before we embark on what I hope for all is a restful and rejuvenating holiday with friends and family.
As you may be aware, our USask president, Dr. Peter Stoicheff has been reappointed for a second five-year term. This is great news for our university as we continue to benefit from Peter’s strong leadership and its continuity. Peter has worked with and supported our college and I look forward to continuing this relationship.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to India for 10 days with Peter, and the dean of the College of Arts and Science, Dr. Peta Bonham-Smith, as well as other university colleagues, and my own superb guide, Dr. Anurag Saxena, our associate dean of Postgraduate Medical Education. We all participated in a two-day conference on post-secondary education where our president was a keynote speaker. The primary purpose of the trip was to explore potential collaborations, including student and faculty exchanges, and advance our reputation as a great place to study and advance one’s career.
Dr. Saxena and I visited four different medical schools, one other university, and a nursing college that Dr. Vivian Ramsden, one our Academic Family Medicine researchers, has collaborated with for more than 20 years. Overall it was a great learning experience and we hope it will advance our mission. A further plus: I loved the food, and even finished some dishes Anurag couldn’t!
On this note of collaboration, I would like to highlight one of the commitments of the university plan:
The second commitment in our plan is Boundless Collaboration. It ensures that we invigorate the impact of collaboration and partnership in everything we do through four strategic goals:
- Enrich Disciplines
- Align Structures
- Embolden Partnerships
- Experience Reconciliation
Now I would like to draw your attention to our CoM news website and the number of news stories that emphasize collaboration. There are many, including the collaborative opportunities with the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital, but first note the collaboration between our Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health, internal medicine specialist Dr. Alexandra King and biochemist, Dr. Linda Chelico, and this introduction to the story:
“Linda Chelico and Alexandra King genuinely like each other. It’s why they keep finding interesting ways to work together. That, and their mutual respect for the different expertise each brings to the union, plus their willingness to admit their own weaknesses and learn from one another.”
Another is a great story involving a respirologist, Dr. Julian Tam, and a physiologist, Dr. Juan Ianowski, with the introduction:
“Building their partnership took time and diligence, but from the start Juan Ianowski and Julian Tam liked each other and got along well. That made the difference. Together, they have overcome the inherent hurdles in partnering across biomedical science and clinical practice and achieved significant research success.”
There are many more great stories about our researchers, including neuroscientist and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) researcher, Dr. Valerie Verge, who was recently honoured at the 2019 Women Against MS Gala Luncheon. Epidemiologist, Dr. Nazeem Muhharjine, received the U of S Distinuished Researcher Award at fall convocation.
All of these researchers and many more demonstrate Boundless Collaboration and all four of the strategic goals outlined above.
I also draw your attention to the great work of our researchers recently recognized by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) at the 2019 Santé Awards in Regina. College of Medicine researchers took five of the eight SHRF Excellence Awards:
- Kerry Lavender (PhD); Dept. of Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology— Top Establishment Grant: Biomedical
- Paul Mick (MD); Dept. of Surgery — Top Establishment Grant: Socio-Health
- David Kingston (PhD); Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA) — Top Research Fellowship: Socio-Health
- Francisco Cayabyab (PhD); Dept. of Surgery — Top Collaborative Innovation Development Grant: Biomedical
- Juan Nicolás Peña-Sánchez (MD, PhD); Dept. of Community Health and Epidemiology — Top Sprout Grant
In other news, many of us in administrative and administrative leadership roles in Saskatoon have recently moved to the newly renovated A-Wing of the Health Sciences Building! The entire building project is now complete with the rejuvenated A-Wing, known by many of our alumni as the original College of Medicine Building. This space is now a truly inter-professional administration building, with the dean’s offices of the colleges of Dentistry, Pharmacy and Nutrition, Medicine, and Nursing co-located here.
Most of our Saskatoon-based CoM leadership and administration are now located on the third and fourth floors of the A-wing; this will support us as we advance collaboration and teamwork. I am particularly excited to have our research leadership team with us on the fourth floor and UGME and PGME close by on the third floor.
We have beautiful space which I hope you will have the opportunity to visit. I have changed up my own office with more inviting and informal seating, so you will have even more reason to drop by and provide me with your feedback on the college or anything else you might like to discuss!
On that note I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone—learners, faculty, staff and partners—for all that you have done for the College of Medicine in 2019. On behalf of myself, my wife Jane, and (of course) our dog Murphy, I wish each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season filled with peace and contentment, wonderful meals, and special time with family and friends.