News at Medicine - June 2019 - Dean's Notes - June 24, 2019

Dean's Notes - June 24, 2019
June 26, 2019
This is my last blog before the summer holidays. It is hard to believe that another academic year has passed. I hope learners, staff and faculty have enjoyed the past year and feel a sense of accomplishment with their achievements.
Last week, I went to Calgary with Dennis Dillon, development officer, to attend the Calgary Affinity event. The Calgary Affinity event is one in which alumni from Memorial University attend a dinner to raise funds for scholarships for Memorial students.

Dennis and I then took the opportunity to meet some of our alumni. It is amazing to hear of the significant accomplishments of our alumni.

We met with the following alumni:
~Dr. Greg Guilcher, MD class of 2001, an associate professor in Pediatrics and a pediatric hematologist\oncologist specializing in sickle cell anemia. Dr. Guilcher is also the Program Director for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology;
~Dr. Carla Coffin, who completed her Masters with Dr. Thomas Michalek and her MD in 2001, is a clinician scientist and professor in the Department of Medicine specializing in clinical and translational research in chronic hepatitis B infection especially in unique patient populations;
~Dr. Valerie Taylor, MD 1999, who is professor and Chair of Psychiatry and she also has a PhD from McMaster. Her clinical and research focus is looking at the association between obesity, chronic physical illness and mental health, specifically depression and bipolar disorder;
~Dr. Leanne Birkett, who did a rotating internship in Newfoundland in 1990, is a clinical assistant professor in Psychiatry specializing in mood disorders;
~Dr. Sam Lee, MD 1978, who is professor in the Department of Medicine and is a hepatologist who is currently working with Indigenous communities;
~Dr. Jen Williams, MD 2003, who is a clinical associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and is currently a board member of the Alberta Medical Association and is working on how best to improve work environments to ultimately reduce physician burnout and improve patient outcomes.
I would like to welcome and congratulate Dr. Michael Leitges who was announced as a Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Cell Signaling and Translational Medicine. Dr. Leitges is a well-established senior investigator who was recruited to Memorial from the University of Oslo, Norway.
Mr. Paul Tucker, Mr. Steven Bradley, Mrs. Stephanie Tucker, Ms. Tracey Pittman, Ms. Sandra Badcock, and Ms. Ashley Abbott rode bikes to support the Candlelighters Association of Newfoundland and Labrador which is a volunteer charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with cancer and their families. The Faculty of Medicine team, named Lord of the Wings, raised $960 and won the best team costume award!
Caption: Teams members of Lord of the Wings, along with their mascot (front left), Zooey Tucker.

I would like to thank Dr. Proton Rahman, who has been the associate dean, Clinical Research for the last 7.5 years, for moving precision medicine and translational genomics forward; Dr. Wanda Parsons, who has been the assistant dean, Admissions for over 20 years , for leading innovative and best practices in admissions provincially, nationally and internationally; and Dr. Tom Laughlin, who has been the assistant dean, New Brunswick, for moving medical education to the next level in the province of New Brunswick by leading the implementation of our first longitudinal integrated clerkship in Moncton, expanding postgraduate training and instituting core residency training in obstetrics and gynaecology, and increasing faculty engagement. I would also like to thank our three candidates: Dr. Peter Daley, Dr. Cathy Popadiuk and Dr. Christopher Kovacs for the associate dean, Clinical Research who are committed to advancing research in the Faculty of Medicine. After significant deliberation, a decision has been made not to fill this position at this time but rather review our strategy to increase clinical and translational research and to put in processes and procedures to enhance clinical research before we reconsider the role of Associate Dean of Clinical Research.
With respect to our strategic planning process, you will have received a wellness survey from Dr. Tracey Bridger and Ms. Janet Bartlett, the co-chairs of the Wellness Project Team. I would encourage all learners, staff and faculty to complete the survey  by June 30. The results of the survey will inform the further work the Faculty of Medicine will do in the area of wellness. For updates on Destination Excellence please see the website. 
On Tuesday June 18, 2019, I attended the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for
Health Information (NLCHI) Strategic Planning Day wearing three hats: a Board Member of NLCHI; a Faculty of Medicine representative; and a health-care provider. Dr. Kris Aubrey Basler, director of the Primary Health Care Unit and Chair of the NLCHI Board, opened the day. Dr. Aubrey Basler provides thoughtful leadership of the NLCHI Board and given his research to improve health outcomes for the people of Newfoundland Labrador is well situated to lead the NLCHI Board. Dr. Gerard Farrell, associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine, also participated actively leading the discussion on frontline healthcare tools. Dr. Pat Parfrey, who has been invested in improving healthcare in the province, was also an active participant. The other discussion topics included: emerging technologies in healthcare; patient access/engagement tools; and data and information services. NLCHI’s mandate is focused on developing an integrated provincial health information system. NLCHI is an important center to allow researchers to access important data to study and inform healthcare and clinicians to provide best practice clinical care.
On Thursday June 20, 2019, the Faculty of Medicine officially launched the diaries of Dr. Nigel Rusted. Dr. Rusted kept and maintained a daily diary for 88 years, detailing his medical and personal endeavors. This amazing digital archives can be viewed online. I would like to thank Dr. Rusted’s family who donated the diaries so they can be viewed worldwide.  Our holistic approach to teaching has definitely been influenced by early educators like Dr. Rusted. His vision for medical education helped pave the way for our success.
I would like to thank Dr. Rusted’s family for participating in the launch of the diary! I would also like to thank the following individuals: Dr. Jim Connor, the John Clinch Professor of Medical Humanities and History of Medicine, who provided an engaging presentation on the importance and value of Dr. Rusted’s diaries; Ms. Stephanie Harlick, archivist who led the digital archives project; and Ms. Melissa Hefford, the archival assistant who worked tirelessly to make the digital archives a success. Thank you to everyone involved with this project and for making this launch of the diaries a wonderful occasion.
I would also like to acknowledge the National Indigenous People’s Day which took place on Friday June 21, 2019. For our learners, staff and faculty who are Indigenous I would like to thank you for your significant contributions to our communities and to the Faculty of Medicine
Best wishes for a safe and fun summer. See you in the fall.