News at Medicine - June 2021 - A homecoming for new vice dean

A homecoming for new vice dean
June 30, 2021
For Dr. Dolores McKeen, Newfoundland and Labrador is more than just a place she calls home, it’s part of who she is. Now after 22 years of living in Nova Scotia, she will return home as the Faculty of Medicine’s new Vice Dean, Education and Faculty Affairs, beginning September 2021.
Dr. McKeen will be joining Vice Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Reza Tabrizchi, as a senior advisor to the Dean of Medicine, Dr. Margaret Steele.

“I am delighted that Dr. McKeen will join us to take on the important role of Vice Dean, Education and Faculty Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine,” said Dr. Steele. “She brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership, education and research. She has an inquisitive mind and will ask important questions to move the vision of the Faculty of Medicine forward.”
Dr. Dolores McKeen
Dr. McKeen is no stranger to Memorial University. She completed both her Doctor of Medicine in 1992 and a postgraduate residency program in the Discipline of Anesthesia from Memorial in 1997. She moved to Nova Scotia in 1999 where she fulfilled a Dalhousie University Obstetric Anesthesia Research Fellowship at the IWK Health Centre and attained an MSc in Clinical Epidemiology in 2004 from Memorial. She has practiced in Halifax since 1999, and currently is a professor at Dalhousie University and the Chief of the IWK Women's and Obstetric Department of Anesthesia.

At Dalhousie, Dr. McKeen has served as associate program director and has won numerous postgraduate departmental teaching and advocacy awards. She is active with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as a member of the Fellowship Advisory Committee, the Anesthesiology Oral Exam Board, the Residency Accreditation Committee and is chairwoman of the awards committee.

She is the current president of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society, and is vice chair of the Section of Physician Leaders, Doctors NS. She received a Canadian Certified Physician Executive designation in 2021 and was named one of Canada’s Top 10 Anesthesiologists to follow in 2020 on Twitter.

Why did she apply for this new role at Memorial University? Dr. McKeen explained that she strongly believes that by achieving patient and population health needs, it improves lives.

“Central to my academic practice and my leadership is the tenet that everything I do is rooted in improvement of knowledge and skills to advance patient care. The decanal position of Vice Dean Education and Faculty affairs allows me to accomplish and serve across all pillars, enhancing the lives of all the communities we serve.”

Dr. McKeen has a broad academic career path that crosses all pillars and has published on clinical research, medical education and clinical care. Her current research focus is on patient engagement, patient centered care and implementation of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS).
Some of her goals as the incoming vice dean, include supporting an environment where learners and faculty flourish to their full potential. She has a passion for engagement and participating in expert teaching and mentoring, and looks forward to returning to Memorial to work with faculty and staff to further progress innovative curriculum design and advanced graduate programs for population and health research.  

“As a class of ‘92 MUNMed alum, I am grateful for the multitude of opportunities that post-secondary education at Memorial University has allowed me. As I step into the role of Vice Dean, I am so appreciative of this opportunity to bring a wealth of transferrable academic leadership experiences to this role, that allows me to serve, and most importantly to impact change to improve the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.” 
On Sept. 1, Dr. Cathy Vardy, professor of pediatrics, will commence her administrative leave and complete her role as Vice Dean, Education and Academic Affairs, which she has held since 2014. Dr. Vardy has over 20 years of administrative leadership roles in the Faculty of Medicine, from assistant dean of postgraduate education, to chair of the Discipline of Pediatrics and vice dean.

“I would like to thank Dr. Vardy for her many years of senior leadership roles in the Faculty of Medicine. It has been a pleasure working with her as Vice Dean,” said Dr. Steele. “While I know she will enjoy her transition to retirement as she continues her faculty appointment, she has helped shape many important initiatives, including chairing our COVID-19 task force, which has been a critical decision-making group at the height of the pandemic.”