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Communications - News at Medicine - March 2017 - Dean’s Notes - March 6, 2017

Dean’s Notes - March 6, 2017
March 7, 2017
It has been a busy few weeks in the Faculty of Medicine. 
Lisa Grant, strategic external liaison/coordinator for the NunaFam Family Medicine Residency Program, and Dr. Kath Stringer, interim chair, Discipline of Family Medicine, presented the innovative NunaFam Family Medicine Program in Iqaluit and the NorFam Family Medicine Program which was established in 1991 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador to Canada’s Arctic Council Advisory Committee at the Marine Institute on Feb. 23. The presentation was well received and is a model that could be expanded to other health professionals and across Northern Canada.

On Feb. 27, Minister Dr. John Haggie, minister of Health and Community Services, Dr. Linda Inkpen, registrar of College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador (CSPNL), Dr. Vernon Curran, associate dean, Educational Development and myself participated in the official launch of the online module for safe prescribing of opiods, benzodiazepines and stimulants. Desmond Whelan, fourth year medical student, also attended the event as he recognizes the importance of this educational initiative. More information on this important initiative can be found at

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Dr. Diana De Carvalho and Dr. Michelle Ploughman received $126,101 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation John R Evans Leaders Fund grant to establish a Comprehensive Biomechanics Laboratory. For more information on this unique laboratory, visit

Dr. Wanda Parsons, associate professor in the Family Practice Unit of Family Medicine and assistant dean of Admissions, received a 2017 Canadian Association of Medical Education Certificate of Merit Award which promotes, recognizes and rewards faculty committed to medical education in Canadian medical schools. Dr. Parsons is currently leading the Association of Faculties of Medicine Admissions network. Dr. Parsons and the Admissions team have also been leading the innovative TaMMI admissions process and have been engaged in research internationally.

Faculty Council occurred on Feb. 21. Dr. Rob Shea, associate vice president (Academic and Student Affairs) of the Marine Institute, who is chairing the Envision Teaching and Learning Committee, presented on the work of the committee and invited people to provide submissions ( The deadline for the committee to complete its work is March 31, 2017. In addition, a Faculty Council Working Group has been established and will be chaired by Dr. Cathy Vardy, vice dean. I would like to thank Drs. Cathy Vardy, Kim St. John, Robert Gendron, Veeresh Gadag, Kathleet Hodgkinson, Lindsay Alcock, as well as Virginia Middleton of the working group for sitting on this important working group which will look at the terms of reference of Faculty Council and its processes. This working group will then provide recommendations on how we move Faculty Council meetings forward so they are meaningful to our faculty members.  

I had the pleasure of meeting with Kendra Smith, president of the Medical Graduate Society (MGS), and Louisa Wiede, vice president of MGS to learn more about the many activities the MGS is engaged in within the Faculty of Medicine and the community.  One of the topics of discussion was how to better engage the graduate students with the Faculty of Medicine activities and a number of suggestions were made. I also met with the Medical Student Society where we discussed a variety of topics such as video lecture capture, leave requests and mentorship. It is very rewarding to know that the Faculty of Medicine learners are invested in contributing to the Faculty of Medicine and the larger community.
Strategic planning continues. I have interviewed several deans in the past few weeks including: Dr. Todd Hennessey, Fine Arts, Grenfell campus; Dr. Lynn Phillips, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Aimee Suprenant, Graduate Studies; and Dr. Alice Gaudine, School of Nursing.

Our Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been established with the first meeting scheduled for March 21. We have also established a small working group which will develop a plan on how we will communicate the activities of strategic planning. Many strategic planning activities will occur and I invite staff, learners and faculty to participate.

The 50th Celebration committee and the various working groups continue to work diligently to provide opportunities for learners, faculty, staff, and the community to celebrate the numerous accomplishments of the school and the impact the Faculty of Medicine has had in the province. Part of the celebration will be recognizing 40 years of telemedicine in the province. Memorial’s Telemedicine Centre was launched Apr. 7, 1977 when a closed-circuit hook up via the communications satellite Hermes linked Ottawa, St. John’s, Goose Bay, Labrador City, St. Anthony and Stephenville. Dr. A. M. House founded the Telemedicine Centre at Memorial University which is now widely known as a world leader in this field.

A new website has been created to keep everyone up to date on what’s happening to mark half a century throughout the year. Visit to find out how you can be a part of this celebration.

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