Reflecting on the year past and enjoying Saskatchewan summer

I hope as this message reaches you that you are finding time to enjoy another wonderful Saskatchewan summer! And I encourage everyone to step back over the coming weeks when possible to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

I am looking forward to this weekend’s trip to Calgary to see my grandson, golf with my son-in-law and run the Stampede Half-Marathon with my daughter; beyond that, many hours in my garden with Jane and golfing with friends until mid-August, when I go to the Maritimes for two weeks—and more golf as well as lobster rolls and a family reunion with my siblings and their families.

I do want to take a moment first, though, to reflect briefly on some of the many accomplishments of the past year at our college.

I will start by offering my congratulations to the incoming first-year class of USask medical doctor students and to our MD 2022 graduating class. To the latter, I wish you all the best in your medical residency! Welcome and congratulations also to all new licensed physicians. I know many join me in thanking all medical learners for your remarkable resilience and valued contributions through a long second year of the pandemic.

In other areas, we have made significant steps in establishing a new Division of Indigenous Health. Most recently that included the hiring of Dr. Janet Tootoosis as interim vice-dean of Indigenous Health. Prior to that, a great deal of work and discussion was led by Dr. Veronica McKinney, Val Arnault-Pelletier and members of our Indigenous Health Committee.

I am thrilled to have two other key leaders on our team join us: Dr. Adekunle Garba (AG) Ahmed, Provincial Head of Psychiatry, started June 1, 2022, in a five-year term, and Dr. Erique Lukong, Assistant Dean Graduate Studies, started July 1, 2022, also in a five-year term.

We developed, launched and gave out new staff awards to improve recognition of administrative staff in the college—such a key and often unsung group of individuals on our team who are so critical in all areas of our mission.

Researchers in our college made important strides, achieving funding and improving knowledge leading to better human health across areas including Indigenous health, COVID-19, mental health, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and many more—too many to list here!

The Division of Continuing Medical Education did not slow down from all its work supporting professional education needs for the pandemic, recently announcing new programming supporting HIV and HCV, mentorship for new physicians, and enhanced support for internationally trained physicians—who play a critical role in supporting rural and remote care in our province.

Significant work over more than the past year resulted in the announcement a few months ago of our renewed admissions process for the medical doctor program. Our post-graduate program is well into work preparing for its next full accreditation.

As always, the year was busy and flew by. Another academic year with all its promise and excitement is ahead. But for now, let us take a moment to catch our breath and appreciate the enjoyments of another beautiful Saskatchewan summer!

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