News at Medicine - January 2022 - Dean's Notes Jan. 17, 2022

Dean's Notes Jan. 17, 2022
January 17, 2022
Happy New Year!! I hope you were all able to spend time with family and/or friends over the holiday season. Given the increase of the omicron variant of COVID-19, I would encourage those of you who have not been vaccinated with the booster to do so. By continuing to abide by the public health guidelines, we will move closer to seeing the end of the pandemic sometime this year.

COVID-19 News

I would like to thank Dr. Proton Rahman, Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology) and clinical epidemiologist, for his outstanding work as the head of the Newfoundland and Labrador’s pandemic data analysis group.

We are also very fortunate to have our Faculty of Medicine alumnus Dr. Janice Fitzgerald continuing to lead the public health process across the province. Dr. Cathy Donovan, Honorary Research Professor, who is sitting at the provincial medical officer of health table and assisting the re-established faculty of Medicine COVID task force.

I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Natalie Bridger and Dr. Peter Daley, both infectious disease specialists, who have been leading initiatives at the front line as well as Dr. Michael Grant, immunologist, and Dr. Rod Russell, virologist, who have been completing COVID-19 research and have been sharing their knowledge in media interviews. We have also had Dr. Brenda Wilson providing her knowledge as a public health physician and researcher and PhD candidate Hannah Wallace has been sharing the latest information about COVID-19 research and vaccines in interviews with local and regional media. All of these individuals have also contributed to providing up-to-date information about the many aspects of dealing with CoVID 19 to the people and communities of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dr. Dolores McKeen, Vice Dean, Education and Faculty Affairs, is chairing the revitalized COVID-19 Task Force. The Task Force which includes education leaders, research leaders, senior administrative staff and communications is now meeting on a weekly basis. The Medical Student Society will also increase the frequency of their meetings due to questions related to COVID-19.

Going Above and Beyond

On Friday Jan. 7, you may have been aware that there was a power outage and the Memorial IT system went down. The applicants’ admissions day was scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 8, and there were concerns that the IT service would be down over the weekend. With the leadership of Dr. Barton Thiessen, Assistant Dean, Admissions and Lisa Breen, Coordinator of Admissions, the Admissions team quickly contacted all applicants who had MUN emails and were to be interviewed on Saturday to ensure they had alternative emails so they could be connected for the interviews. Luckily the application interviews went off smoothly!!!
The other key activity was the submission of the CACMS accreditation documents which were due Monday Jan. 10. Dr. Taryn Hearn, Acting Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, and Mr. Brian Kerr, Undergraduate Curriculum and Accreditation Advisor were able to review the documents and submit the documents on Jan. 10. I would like to thank all of these individuals for going above and beyond to ensure that key activities were completed on time!!

 Annual Report

We would like to share with you the 2020/2021 Annual Report for the Faculty of Medicine. I would like to thank Virginia Middleton, Terri Coles and Jennifer Armstrong on completing the Annual Report.

The report outlines some highlights on learners, staff and faculty achievements which were able to occur despite living through the COVID pandemic.


Dr. Edward Roberts - Instrumental in the development of the Faculty of Medicine

On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the family of Dr. Edward Roberts on the passing of Dr. Roberts. Many of you may not know but Dr. Roberts was instrumental in the development of the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the construction of the Health Sciences Centre hospital in St. John’s. I was fortunate to have met with Dr. Roberts on several occasions. He was a kind and compassionate man who was incredibly proud and knowledgeable about Newfoundland and Labrador and readily shared his stories with me. He was always interested in the activities of the medical school and the university, for which he had been the Chairman of the Board of Regents. I feel very privileged to have shared interesting conversations and learned from him. We are incredibly grateful for the leadership and vision of Dr. Roberts for medical education and healthcare for the people of this province. You can read more about Dr. Roberts in his obituary.

Canadian Association for Medical Education (CAME)

Please join me in congratulating two recipients of CAME awards.
Dr. Alain Bateman, PGY2 psychiatry resident who was awarded a CAME 2022 Rising Star Certificate of Excellence. This award recognizes learners who have demonstrated a commitment and/or passion for medical education.

Dr. Jane Barron, Associate Professor and Chair of the Discipline of Laboratory Medicine, has received a CAME 2022 Certificate of Merit which promotes, recognizes and rewards faculty committed to medical education in Canadian medical schools.
Congratulations to you both!!

On Dec. 1, 2021, the Culture of Excellence Project Team participated in the Faculty of Medicine’s Destination Excellence Strategic Planning Day and received valuable feedback on their activities. The top three messages that they heard from participants were:
  1. The need for improved communications around professionalism messaging, especially via mediums that people frequent
  2. The need for various ongoing educational initiatives and incentives for professionalism; and
  3. The need for a permanent office and resources to continue to grow our culture of professionalism and respect at the Faculty of Medicine
 The Culture of Excellence Project Team, co-chaired by Dr. Heidi Coombs and Dr. Kara Laing, would like to thank everyone who participated in the Planning Day and provided feedback.
The Respectful Learning Environment in Medical Education policy and procedures have been approved. Please review them on the policy and procedures website. (

Research News

Congratulations to Drs. Desai Shan (principal investigator), James Valcour and Shree Mulay (co-applicants) for receiving a CIHR Operating Grant entitled “Forgotten at sea: occupational health challenges for seafarers during the CoVID19 pandemic”
And Dr. Michael Grant (principal investigator) for receiving a CIHR Operating Grant entitled “Immunogenicity and durability of COVID-19 vaccines in persons living with human immunodeficiency virus”.

How students can request a reconsideration:
Student Promotions Appeal Procedure:
Wishing all of you a good few weeks. Remember, if you hadn’t had your booster consider receiving it as soon as possible. I would like to thank all of you for your ongoing support of the academic mission despite the pandemic as well as those of you who working at the frontlines to assist people who are unwell. Stay safe.