Everyone can make a difference


I, like many, am still reeling over the outcome of the trial for the killing of Colten Boushie, which has dominated our news since Friday. I hope all our Indigenous students, residents, faculty, staff and patients know that your college supports you.

For me, the first shock was the use of peremptory challenge to eliminate anyone of Indigenous appearance from jury duty. As my wife had once served on a jury, I was familiar with this aspect of our criminal justice system, but it never occurred to me it could be used in such an openly racist manner here in Canada.

As I am in medicine and not law, I will make no further comment on the legal system. But this situation raises two questions for me.

First, what are we all doing this week, this month, and beyond to support Indigenous colleagues, learners, friends and patients? There is little doubt in my mind, if I was from any minority group that experienced this, my world would have changed on Friday night. It is incumbent on the non-Indigenous among us to reach out to our Indigenous community members and reaffirm our commitment to reconciliation and Indigenous health and well-being.

Second, as a part of the education, science and healthcare communities, what can we do to make things better, in response? As citizens we can take political action, and in our professional and learner roles, we can search for our own opportunities to make a positive change to the racism that still exists in our university and healthcare systems. As educators, we have a particular duty and opportunity, expressed by Senator Murray Sinclair, who identifies education as the key to reconciliation.

Our own actions can positively change the collective future of this province. We need to do this for our Indigenous colleagues and students and all members of our college. We need to acknowledge the hurt and anger and work toward a better society, one that is just and honourable. We need to create safe, respectful spaces to dialogue about racism. And we must respect, support and listen to Indigenous people as they make their voices heard.

Everyone can make a difference.


2018 priorities and challenges

One of the things I love about university life is that we have not one but two annual opportunities to reflect on our work, evaluate our priorities, and reignite our passion for what we do—every new academic year and every new year. So, first, let me wish all of our learners, faculty, staff and partners a happy, prosperous and productive 2018. My year got off to a great start with one of my favorite events of the academic year: speaking to the Med 2 class on leadership as part of a panel discussion on the CanMED roles.

As I reflect on the upcoming year, I remind myself and all of you that we have already talked at length about our collective priorities and we proudly presented that high level strategic plan to our peers during our recent accreditation review. In the coming weeks and months, you will hear more as we add detailed goals, objectives, actions and metrics to our five-year strategic plan, as well as on how it aligns with the university’s strategic planning process currently underway.

To start, I want to ensure you know my thoughts for 2018. First, let’s recall our mutually agreed vision and mission statements, which underpin all we do, followed by my reflections on our priorities for this year.

Vision: We are leaders in improving the health and well-being of the people of Saskatchewan and the world.

Mission: As a socially accountable organization, we improve health through innovative and interdisciplinary research and education, leadership, community engagement, and the development of culturally competent, skilled clinicians and scientists. Collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships with Indigenous peoples and communities are central to our mission.


Strengthen Research Capacity – 2017 ended with some good news for research. Dr. Stuart Skinner in Regina received a $2 million CIHR team grant, with total project funding of $4.65 million, for on-reserve diagnosis and treatment of HIV, HCV and sexually-transmitted disorders with a goal of building a First Nations led initiative that meets community needs and integrates Western and Indigenous approaches. The team is composed of almost 50 researchers, clinicians, policy makers and knowledge users with about half being Indigenous community members. At the 2017 Santé Awards Evening, hosted by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF), MS research was a top focus, with Dr. Michael Levin, U of S Chair in Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research, speaking about his work, and an MS patient shared her very moving story and her hopes for the future. Also at the Santé Awards, Dr. Cory Neudorf, Community Health and Epidemiology, received the SHRF Impact Award for his research on the effects of socio-economic status on health, and its dissemination to decision-makers, health boards, and regional committees.

In the biomedical and population health sciences, we have enjoyed great success in securing research funding, including through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), with $2.3 million and nearly $1.5 million awarded, respectively. Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine is co-leading a team awarded $16.5 million from the national Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development to increase maternal and newborn survival in Mozambique. These are only a few examples of the great work and achievements of our population health and biomedical scientists in 2017!

We need to continue building on these and other successes, however, and with some major progress made on things like the new MD curriculum and accreditation, I know I must put more of my attention to research. In that regard, I must emphasize what a big year it will be for our biomedical science departments. Under great leadership from Drs. Jo-Anne Dillon and Scott Napper and the hard work of many people great progress has been made on both the merger to two departments and the new biomedical sciences program. You will be hearing much more shortly.

Indigenous Health – Again, 2017 ended with the arrival of our Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health, Dr. Alexandra King and our new faculty member, Dr. Malcolm King, in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology. There is much more to do in responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Specifically, I think of work on the best structure and resources within the CoM to fulfill our commitment to this priority, engagement with our Indigenous communities and lots of work on Indigenous curriculum and research, and recruitment of Indigenous students, faculty and staff.

Integration and Alignment with the Health System – The Saskatchewan Health Authority was launched on December 4 and the CoM has been an integral partner. My own role on the SHA board will consume some of my time and I am sure will be exciting and rewarding. The authority has committed to both physician leadership and the academic mandate, and our provincial heads (formerly unified department heads) will be critically important as the authority works toward its provincial goals of Better Health, Better Care, Better Value and Better Teams.

Faculty Engagement – Much progress has been made with our move to One Faculty. One of the very positive comments by our accreditation visiting team was about our “engaged and enthusiastic faculty.” Credit goes to many, and Dr. Keith Ogle has provided us great leadership as vice-dean faculty engagement. Unfortunately for us, his new home in Golden, BC, and retirement beckon, so key for us this year will be the recruitment of a new vice-dean faculty engagement. Talk to me!

Social Accountability and Community Engagement – We continue to do great work in this area, and as social accountability has long been a strength at the CoM, this year we will be submitting an application for an ASPIRE award. The ASPIRE program recognizes international excellence in education in a medical, dental or veterinary school.

Education – A big promise to our learners throughout accreditation is that it was not a one-time event. We are committed to continuously improving the quality of our education programs and the student experience. Key topics on my mind this year are student wellness, Competency-Based Medical Education in PGME, growth in our use of medical simulation for education, and faculty development.

Distributed Medical Education – Exciting work is already well underway for the establishment of longitudinal integrated clerkship opportunities in our UGME program. With one provincial health authority in the SHA, we have an opportunity to standardize resources and support for DME throughout the province.

Enablers: We identified three key categories of enablers: people; partnerships and relationships; and organizational capacity. Related specifically to this priority, in 2018 I will be focusing on three components:

  • Strategic Plan – As noted above our plan needs much more detail if it is to effectively guide us over the next five years, and we must also define how it aligns with the plan, led by our provost, that the university is developing.
  • Diversity – Accreditation highlighted for us that while we have had some success in this area, there is lots of work to do to enhance diversity among our leadership, faculty and staff. I look forward this year to the activities of our Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.
  • Financial Stability – I must admit that while the highlight of the holidays for me was family, there is little doubt that second place went to seeing oil top $60 per barrel. I had no idea as dean I would be following the price of oil, potash and uranium, as well as the crop report. So be it!

As there may still be confusion about the current financial situation at the CoM, I want to ensure all understand three key messages. First, there is no new windfall of resources available to the CoM—the $20 million in funding returned to the CoM budget in September was excellent news, but there was no additional funding beyond that. Second, while we have made considerable investment over the last three-and-a-half years (and thus our cost base has risen), our expenditures have been exactly what we have told our funders both in our annual budgeting process and the five-year budget projections we have presented to government three times now: in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Finally, while we are all too aware of the fiscal challenges faced by our university and our government, I must emphasize the incredible support we have had from our university leaders and colleagues in government in our work to secure the necessary resources to continue our transformation and be the best medical school we can be.

So, it’s important that you know there will again be a challenging budget process and some tough choices to be made this year. I am told that is what Saskatchewan people have done forever, but I also focus a little bit on the rising price of oil!

On a personal level, 2018 for me will be about family (I got to put together a train set for my grandson Max at Christmas), books (I highly recommend Clearing the Plains by James Daschuk), photography (but no new lens purchase this year) and, of course, running (I signed up for the Boston Marathon again and I have a new training program!).

Again, happy New Year to all—and it would be wonderful in 2018 if more of you took me up on my offer to hear your feedback.

Have a wonderful holiday

As we start to wind down for the holiday season, I want to wish everyone at the CoM and our partners in education and healthcare all the very best!

It has been a great year for our college. We came together as a team to deliver a solid, well-organized accreditation visit at the end of October. The documentation and visit planning required to achieve this took up significant time and energy, and was of course a very big focus of our year. While we await the outcome of the visit, we can take satisfaction in achieving this major hurdle together, as we head into what I hope for each of you will be a peaceful and relaxing time as 2017 draws to a close.

Beyond accreditation, we completed our high-level five-year strategic plan. We’ve made important strides in the biomedical departments restructuring work, and the amalgamation of the current five departments to two departments was approved recently by our faculty council. In 2017, we hired the Cameco Chair in Indigenous Health and the Saskatchewan Chair in Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research, and in these roles respectively, Drs. Alexandra King and Michael Levin have begun their important work for our province and the world. We continued to support our researchers with our internal funding programs and celebrated their successes garnering external grants. We saw our One Faculty model achieve success with significant, measurable increases in medical faculty engagement in the mission of the college. The Saskatchewan Health Authority launched earlier this month, and our college played and will continue to play an important role in supporting and participating in this transformation. This just touches on some of the highlights of 2017.

Most importantly, thank you for your work for our college over the past year! I look forward to working with you in 2018, as we continue together to improve the health and well-being of the people of Saskatchewan and the world.

For now, however, let us rest, rejuvenate and enjoy this special time of year.

Thanks, team—we’re ready!

An incredible amount of work has gone into our preparation for the accreditation visit that begins this Sunday, October 29. Thank you to all!

To our 215 people participating in accreditation visit meetings and tours, thank you for all you’ve done to date to prepare, and thank you in advance for your contributions during the visit. We simply could not do this without your commitment, support and involvement. Your role is critical and deeply appreciated.

To our accreditation team—all of you “on the ground” in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert in this humongous effort—you are amazing! Talk about dedication; our college could not have asked for more. I’m thinking of all those who led and supported content gathering for our documentation, I’m thinking of the working and leadership teams focused on a quality visit, I’m thinking of students, faculty, staff and key stakeholders who worked on our subcommittees prior to the mock visit last February. On behalf of your college and all of the people you’ve supported for a successful accreditation outcome, I offer each of you a heartfelt and resounding thank you.

Extensive work has gone into improvements to our undergraduate medical education curriculum and student support and services, updating and organizing policies and procedures, gathering and presenting data, and much more. And in the midst of it all, we developed some fabulous processes in our preparation that will support our ongoing work on continuous improvement.

Leaders spend much of their time calling on people and relying on them answering. Your college called on you, and you answered. Together, we have shown the strength and commitment of our team. As your dean, I couldn’t be more proud.

This has truly been a team effort, and we have come together as only great teams do. We are ready.


Make mistakes in rehearsal!

You need to make mistakes in rehearsal because that’s how you find out what works and what doesn’t.  – Clarke Peters, actor, singer, writer and director

This week at the CoM, many of our faculty, residents, staff and stakeholders are participating in a series of rehearsal meetings to further our readiness for meetings with the accreditation visitors, who will be here October 29 to November 1. Our documentation is complete, we have completed our preparation meetings, and now the next leg of this journey is this week’s rehearsal meetings.  As we rally for this important push, I want to sincerely thank all of you who have participated in document writing or review official documents, review of the preparation materials, and your commitment of time, effort and support to showcase how proud we are of our college.  

We have used these rehearsals to test our knowledge, our IT systems, and to polish our group interview skills. This experience has also solidified that we are in this together; our faculty are sharing stories of individual experiences, which is actually sharing best practices among our peers! 

I hope you have, or will if your meeting is yet to come, taken good advantage of this opportunity. I appreciate your commitment to getting this right. Our accreditation experts and your colleagues at your meeting(s) are a great resource! So this week is the time for making mistakes, asking questions and getting more comfortable with your role as a participant in our fast-approaching accreditation visit.

If, after your rehearsal, you have walked away with some remaining questions or uncertainties, our accreditation team is here to help. This applies to our students, as well. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at med.quality@usask.ca

And, as always, I welcome your feedback.


Achieving success: one faculty and accreditation

Successful colleges and universities are composed of, and inspired and led by great students, faculty and staff. First and foremost, of course, are our learners. I recently met with the leaders of the Saskatchewan Medical Student Society and, as always, found myself impressed by the quality of our students and the dedication and passion of their leaders. On September 23, our annual student-led Global Health Conference will take place on the theme of The G Word: Gender and Global Health. The conference is dedicated to raising awareness about pressing global health issues and is one of many superb examples of leadership by students from all of the health sciences.

As we prepare for accreditation, I must reiterate my appreciation for our students’ participation in the Independent Student Analysis, and a host of accreditation-specific focus groups, college surveys, meetings and lunches, not to mention their support during the accreditation visit itself, coming up from October 29 to November 1.

The most striking change that’s taken place in our college in terms of both structure and engagement has been with our physicians, or medical faculty. As The Way Forward and previous accreditation challenges clearly documented, the faculty structure for physicians resulted in a town/gown divide that led to ambivalence or even disengagement by some physicians towards the CoM. A provincial health human resource plan done in 2014 documented that in Saskatchewan less than 50 full-time equivalents (FTEs) of physician time was devoted to academic work at the CoM. Similar-sized medicals schools had more than twice that physician engagement.

Of course, the primary driver for most physicians in Saskatchewan was the constant demand to provide clinical care in a growing province that had been historically challenged to recruit sufficient physicians. Improving national trends in physician manpower provide us an opportunity to engage more physicians in the academic mandate, supported by the fact that 75 per cent of learners want teaching and/or research as part of their career. To succeed, though, we also needed to change the structure and to invest!

This past June, the new Policy for Medical Faculty was approved by the university board of governors, and the associated Procedures for Medical Faculty were approved by the provost in July. No longer is there two appointment streams or titles for medical faculty. Furthermore, we worked with the Ministry of Health and the health regions to develop the Academic Clinical Funding Plan for some physicians and developed contractual arrangements for many who wanted to continue on a fee-for-service payment structure.

We welcome physicians from throughout Saskatchewan to be part of our team as medical faculty, recognizing there will be broadly diverse levels of interest and time commitment that will also vary considerably over each physician’s career. Our learners and our research will benefit, and very importantly, we know our patients will benefit! Teaching and research are directly correlated with quality of care. Physicians who teach report greater career satisfaction and are more likely to remain in their community.

And these changes for medical faculty are working! In our clinical departments we have more than 1,500 physicians throughout Saskatchewan affiliated with the College of Medicine. As noted above, prior to 2014 we had less than 5O FTEs of physician time at the CoM. Now that number is over 80 FTEs. In terms of number of individuals, in 2014 approximately 150 physicians had committed time (ranging for most from 5-30 per cent) to teaching, research and leadership at the CoM. Today, that number is approximately 250 individuals. At the time of the 2013 accreditation visit, we faced challenges at times finding faculty for lectures, tutorials and clinical placements. Today, we’re experiencing no such problems. In the 2016-17 academic year, a total of 1,000 faculty appointees were in contact with UGME students. We are witnessing more engagement in PGME, as well. Our physicians have really responded!

Standard Four (Faculty Preparation, Productivity, Participation and Policies) in UGME accreditation is all about faculty. Other standards also speak to the importance of faculty. It is true that without learners none of us would have jobs, but learners come to be taught by excellent faculty! We have talked a lot about the importance of seeing our faculty in the College of Medicine as One Faculty, in which the contributions of all are recognized and valued. The broad make-up of our faculty and the big changes described above that we have made regarding our medical faculty are important information for all of us in the CoM.

Broadly speaking, we are primarily biomedical scientists, population health scientists, educators, physicians and physiotherapists. Together, as our new mission highlights, we develop culturally competent, skilled clinicians and scientists, with the support of our staff. Across our biomedical science, clinical and Community Health and Epidemiology departments, we have 100 scientists. The education and research mandates of the college are absolutely dependent on these scientists. The number has remained stable since the faculty retirement incentive in 2013. Currently we are recruiting for two basic scientists to replace two retirements this past summer. In fact, since 2014 we have added a neuroscientist position for the Movement Disorders Program in the Department of Medicine, an academic programming appointment (APA, primarily teaching position) in Pharmacology, an APA in Pathology, a new scientist in the Department of Surgery, and we’ve converted two term appointments to tenure track positions. In our School of Physical Therapy, we have 37 faculty members.

Also, as we prepare for accreditation, I am again reminded how dependent we are on the superb staff that support our learners and faculty. The accreditation documentation (more than 1,000 pages) was submitted on July 21, a week ahead of schedule, and while it represented the culmination of 18 months of very hard work, it was done smoothly and efficiently. One of our great staff leaders, Marianne Bell, accreditation specialist, deserves enormous credit. Now, Sinead McGartland, director of planning and projects, leads our visit preparation. We have 100 per cent of our accreditation visit participants—more than 200 people—confirmed for the visit meetings and 86 per cent have had their first round of visit preparation.

An accreditation web page on our college site, including a video message from me summarizing all we have been doing over the last five years to prepare, plus much more information, is available for your perusal. Furthermore, all members of the CoM and our partner organizations are welcome to come to the dean’s office suite (5D40 Health Sciences Building on the U of S Saskatoon campus) and view our “wall walk,” where our progress since January and summaries of the accreditation standards are documented.

I am excited about our progress and every day I am increasingly impressed with our faculty and staff as people step up to the plate to serve the CoM and our learners. Please visit our accreditation page and see what, together, we have accomplished.

As always, I am open to feedback and questions. I am always happy to come to your department or unit. Thanks for your hard work!







Video explores rural healthcare in Canada

Earlier this year, I shared with you my experience attending a national summit on rural healthcare in Ottawa. We had the opportunity at that time to see an excellent video about the opportunities and challenges of rural healthcare in Canada. I’m sure you will appreciate, as I do, the great Saskatchewan presence in the video! It’s available online, and my purpose with this short blog is to share it with you.

Please take a moment to watch this excellent video, Rural health in Canada—it’s just 11 minutes long, in both English and French. For further reference, I share with you my blog, Improving rural healthcare, from this past February.

As always, I welcome your feedback.


Great Week for Research

Last week was a wonderful week for research at the CoM, with two major celebrations in our D-Wing atrium.

Kudos to Dr. Marek Radomski and our research office for organizing a celebration on Monday for all of the recipients of Tri-Council (Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) awards.

But the real kudos go to our successful researchers, listed below. It was truly inspiring listening to each describe his or her research with such enthusiasm. And the diversity was quite remarkable—from biomedical discovery work at the bench to community-engaged research in northern Indigenous communities.

CIHR Project Grant
Dr. John Howland
Dr. Jim Xiang
CIHR Catalyst Grant
Dr. David Cooper
Dr. Vivian Ramsden
CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant
Dr. Sylvia Abonyi
Dr. Caroline Tait
CIHR Training Grant: Indigenous Mentorship Network Program, Saskatchewan
Dr. Caroline Tait
NSERC Discovery Grant
Dr. Dean Chapman
Dr. Troy Harkness
Dr. Oleg Dmitriev
Dr. Erique Lukong
Dr. Scott Napper
Dr. Scot Stone
Dr. Peter Howard
Dr. Kerri Kobryn
Dr. Maruti Uppalapati

Great science is required for all Tri-Council awards. However, CIHR grants are exceptionally competitive, and seem to be more so every year. The two CIHR grants by Dr. John Howland and Dr. Jim Xiang were in a national competition that saw only 16.5 per cent of applications succeed. In addition, Dr. Deborah Anderson and Dr. Franco Vizeacoumar did well with their CIHR applications and the CoM was able to provide them with bridge funding this year. Our CIHR success is great evidence of progress in research at the CoM.

One thing I noted was the number of researchers who highlighted that their CoMGRAD grant or their Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) grant was instrumental in getting preliminary data or making other progress that led to their national award. It has been part of my elevator speech with our partners and funders that great people (researchers, grad students, post-doctoral fellows), great facilities and local funding are all essential to achieve success in Tri-Council competitions and with other national granting agencies.

On Tuesday, the CoM hosted our partners, SHRF and Heart & Stroke (Canada and Saskatchewan), as we announced and celebrated the renewal of Dr. Mike Kelly’s Saskatchewan Research Chair in Clinical Stroke Research for another five years. Particularly inspiring was the description provided by recovered stroke victim Don Bickerdike and his wife of the great care they received from the entire stroke team in our Saskatoon Health Region.

Mike—with an MD, neurosurgical training and a PhD—is a true bench-to-bedside researcher, who is from our college and university, and is changing care in Saskatchewan. In fact, his stroke research relies heavily on the synchrotron, taking advantage of key local resources. The CoM is very pleased to provide $100,000 per year over five years towards a total award of $1.5 million. Given the impact of the first five years of this chair, it was clear our partners at Heart & Stroke and SHRF were equally enthusiastic about Dr. Kelly and the great work he and his team are doing in stroke research and care.

Congratulations to our successful researchers. I know their success will be an inspiration to all, and we can look forward together to next year and seeing even more applications and more success!

As always I look forward to your feedback.

Advancing social accountability at our college

Guest blog from the Division of Social Accountability

Social accountability is not a new concept here at the College of Medicine. It continues to be a principle and lens that guides our actions. It permeates discourse in medical schools both nationally and internationally. Much has changed in the past year in terms of social accountability within our college.

Every student, every faculty and staff can support social accountability in the college. We are doing a great deal already.  Among our national and international colleagues working in this area, our college is looked upon as a leader in the area of social accountability, and we aspire to continue to measure up to our reputation. At the same time, we recognize that there is still much more to do. The division continues to collaborate and support college-wide strategies for building a culture of engagement and social accountability, working in partnership with our internal and external stakeholders towards integrating social accountability into the four areas of CARE. An overview of activities supported by the Social Accountability Committee was shared at the college’s May 2017 Faculty Council meeting.

Much work has been put into assisting the college through the accreditation process, particularly in light of the new CACMS accreditation element 1.1.1. Social Accountability. We have been working closely with the accreditation team to identify sources of information and outline processes for 1.1.1. (as well as other accreditation elements with social accountability components) and began the process of drafting measures of social accountability to capture progress to date and long-term impact. We look forward to sharing progress on those measures at the upcoming September 2017 Faculty Council meeting.

This past year, the team has been working closely with various internal units in the College of Medicine to advance social accountability. We were excited to see the college approve implementation of a Diversity and Social Accountability Admissions Program, put forward by the Admissions Committee after consultation with the division and the Social Accountability Committee. We received valuable feedback at the pilot of the Social Accountability Lens at the December Curriculum Retreat and continue to work with the UGME Curriculum Committee and its subcommittees to build social accountability into the foundation of the curriculum. We drafted an annual communique identifying priority health needs rooted in social issues, which was distributed to course chairs for integration into curriculum planned. A masters of public health practicum research project that began last summer is continuing into phase 2 this year with an appreciative inquiry of how Canadian medical schools are putting social accountability into action. The division continues to engage internally to expand capacity and understanding of social accountability in theory and in practice, co-presenting at grand rounds with various departments. Further, the division was fully engaged on many of the working groups and full-day sessions for CoM strategic planning and was enthused to hear such a strong emphasis on social accountability from numerous attendees.

Other areas of focus and activity have included global and Indigenous health opportunities in partnership with the Global Health Committee and the Indigenous Health Committee. We continue to manage the Making the Links global health certificate program with fifteen positions for first-year medical students each year. The two-year program was recently expanded to support students interested in an Indigenous Health Stream. With the help of the college’s Aboriginal Admissions Coordinator, Val Arnault-Pelletier, we expanded our community partnerships last year to include Kawacatoose First Nation in southeast Saskatchewan and rural and remote Indigenous communities in Townsville, Australia. We also partnered with various internal and external committees to put on numerous global health events this year, including our fifth annual student-led Global Health Conference: Sustain the Gains, a documentary screening of On the Bride’s Side, and community and on-campus conversations with speakers Dr. Ted Schreker and Dr. Eric Lachance. The Global Health Travel Awards Subcommittee updated the award program this year to better align with learner, faculty and college needs and now runs two award cycles per year. We have also been working to identify opportunities for mutually beneficial community-university partnerships and collaborations (e.g., SPRP/Health Region Poverty Reduction Strategy Consultation; YXE Connects).

On the people side of the division, in December, we welcomed back Carlyn Seguin, who had previously been away on maternity leave. We said goodbye to division head, Dr. Ryan Meili, and welcomed Dr. Eddie Rooke as acting director.  Erin Wolfson, Lisa Yeo and Joanna Winichuk all celebrated their one-year anniversaries with the division.

We continue to build a greater understanding of the ever-changing needs of the college and the larger community it serves. Reflecting our commitment to being responsive, relevant and accountable to our communities locally and globally, we expanded the roles within the Division of Social Accountability. This will allow the college to build on its existing strengths, programs and commitment to meaningful engagement, locally and globally. Some of the DSA staff roles and responsibilities have changed to reflect this commitment, and we share our staff information here to ensure you can connect effectively with us (contact information):

  • Carlyn Seguin continues to lead the management of the Making the Links – Certificate in Global Health (MTL-CGH) Program amongst various global health activities, in the position of Global Health Manager.
  • Lisa Yeo continues to provide strategic leadership, planning and project support in the Social Accountability Strategist position, serving as a resource to many areas of the college with a keen focus on measurement and evaluation.
  • Erin Wolfson has recently moved into the role of Community Engagement Specialist, expanding the college’s capacity and commitment to ethical collaboration and authentic engagement with communities. This involves enhancing and building community-university relationships and interdisciplinary collaborations that build health equity and respond to priority health concerns of partners and communities.
  • Joanna Winichuk, as Clerical Assistant, continues to provide invaluable administrative support to the team and to the MTL-CGH program, with an expanded focus on communications in the upcoming year.
  • Eddie Rooke has taken on the role of Acting Director, promoting and expanding capacity in social accountability throughout the college, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students, and liaising with internal and external partners to advance the vision of health equity.

Our division was established in 2011 to promote and support the college’s social accountability promise – a promise to direct its Clinical, Advocacy, Research and Education (CARE Model) activities towards the priority health needs of the communities we serve. We see this promise reflected in the 2017-2022 College of Medicine Strategic Plan and mission statement of our college. It’s a promise to address community health needs, but it’s also much more than that.

There is still much more to be done. With a focus on accreditation in preparation for our college’s full accreditation visit in the fall, the team continues to respond to incoming requests. We continue to engage with our partners internationally and some of the team recently attended the Social Accountability World Summit (check out the social accountability blog page in the coming weeks for learnings and invaluable resources from the summit).

We are excited for all that is to come and look forward to continuing to support the CoM in meeting the needs of the people of Saskatchewan and achieving health equity. We thank Dr. Ryan Meili, our former division head, who helped advance social accountability here for more than 10 years.

For more on the division, visit our webpage!

Medical education at the CoM

I attended events last week here at the College of Medicine that were great examples of medical education expertise and scholarship and, for me, inspire great confidence in our college.

On Thursday night, I attended Surgical Grand Rounds. Drs. Cole Beavis of the Saskatoon Health Region and Gordon Kaban of the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region combined to do a great presentation at Saskatoon City Hospital on the use of simulation in surgical education. They covered the pedagogy and tools of effective simulation, including a discussion on debriefing. They provided many great examples of hi-tech simulation tools and more frugal approaches, including a trip to Rona to construct a simulation tool for emergency cricothyrotomy (emergency airway puncture).

In the Health Sciences Building, we have secured space for a surgical simulation facility and our advancement team is working with Drs. Beavis and Ivar Mendez (unified head of our Department of Surgery) to raise funds for simulation equipment. RQHR has had the advantage of the Dilawri Simulation Center since 2012, due to a generous donation from the Dilawri Foundation.

On Friday, the Department of Medicine had its Resident Research Days. I have had a chance to review the abstracts for the posters and oral presentations. They were excellent and I am told the quantity and quality have improved dramatically this year. Congratulations to the residency program director, Dr. Karen LaFramboise and the assistant program director for research for the Internal Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Terra Arnason. The Department of Medicine had its Research Day for faculty earlier in the week, on Tuesday.

The week was capped off for the Department of Medicine with its Research Days Banquet & Faculty Awards at Marquis Hall on Friday. There was a great turnout of faculty and residents on a beautiful evening on our campus. Many awards for both faculty and residents were handed out. I would like to highlight four awards Dr. Sam Haddad, the unified head of medicine, has instituted, and their recipients from the Department of Medicine:

  • Researcher of the Year – Dr. John Gordon, Dr. Debra Morgan
  • Teacher of the Year – Dr. Anne Paus Jenssen
  • Clinician of the Year – Dr. Hassan Masri
  • Administrator of the Year – Dr. Erik Paus Jenssen

The evening was capped off as all of the finishing postgraduate learners in year 3 were introduced along with their next program and destination that will see them complete their postgraduate education. Congratulations also to these residents and the department for its huge success in the Canadian Resident Matching Service!

Finally, this past Friday was our first annual Medical Education Research and Scholarship Day. This initiative was led by our Director of Faculty Development, Dr. Cathy Maclean, who with her usual energy, enthusiasm and organization, did a fabulous job. We had over 50 participants, as well as guest speaker Dr. Doug Myhre from University of Calgary, 16 posters, 45 abstracts, three oral presentations and various workshops. It was a great day and a great example of our strategic priority to improve medical education scholarship and research here at the College of Medicine.

After those two days of seeing such commitment to the College of Medicine and so many dedicated researchers and educators doing great work, I felt I really deserved a great weekend’s rest. I was bacheloring it this weekend as my wife Jane and our dog Murphy are at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physician’s meeting in Whistler where Murphy is sitting by a research poster that documents the impact of a therapy dog in the Emergency Room! So my “rest” was cleaning and painting my garage!! I hope you all had a better weekend than that. But if you want to see a really neat garage, come by anytime.

As always I welcome your feedback.



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