News at Medicine - May 2021 - Dean's Notes May 21, 2021

Dean's Notes May 21, 2021
May 21, 2021
As the pandemic continues, many people are getting more fatigued given the ongoing uncertainty about when we will be in a new normal. This time of year is also a stressful time normally with examinations for all our learners. Be kind to yourself and compassionate to others. Find time to relax and get outside to spend time in the fresh air.
The week of May 10 was Mental Health Week and I hope you were able to take time for yourself to self-reflect, relax, exercise and focus on your own mental health and well-being.

Society of Rural Physicians of Canada Recognitions
On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, it was my pleasure to accept the Keith Award which is presented to a Canadian post-graduate program which has excelled in producing rural doctors. It identifies the university with the largest number of graduates practicing in rural Canada for the most recent 10 years after graduation. This is the eighth time Memorial has won this award. Special congratulations to Dr. Danielle O’Keefe, Chair of the Discipline of Family Medicine, and Dr. Russell Dawe, Program Director for Family Medicine as they continue to lead the streams program in family medicine which has been a tremendous success.
Other award winners in the Faculty of Medicine included:
  • Dr. Margo Wilson, Assistant Professor in the Discipline of Emergency Medicine, who won the Rural Heart Award,
  • Dr. Peter Barnes, Clinical Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine in Botwood, who received the Fellowship of Rural Remote Medicine award.
  • Dr. Andrew O'Dea, BSc (Hons), MD a resident in St. John's, won the resident essay contest.
The Faculty of Medicine is also well represented in the leadership of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) with Dr. Gabe Woollam, Clinical Assistant Professor, Discipline of Family Medicine, Happy Valley Goose Bay, who is the President and Dr. Andrew Hunt, Assistant Dean, Distributed Medical Education, who is the Newfoundland and Labrador representative on the SRPC Board.

Physician Recruitment and Retention in NL Retreat
Memorial University’s Faculty of Medicine will be hosting a retreat to explore solutions to promote better physician recruitment and retention in Newfoundland and Labrador. The event is being co-hosted by Dr. Vernon Curran and Dr. Scott Moffatt and the discussions will be facilitated by Anne Becker from Climb Consulting Inc.
This will be an exciting day focused on exploring opportunities to enhance physician recruitment and retention in the province and developing actions to leverage the opportunities. Participants will include undergraduate medical students, resident learners, specialist and generalist physicians, administrators, educators, government representatives, and members from communities across the province.
The session will take place virtually using Zoom on June 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To register for this event, please visit:
To help us prepare for the retreat, please complete a short (15-20 minutes) survey by May 21, 2021. The survey is available at:
Questions related to the retreat can be sent to Gerona McGrath at
Strategic Plan Update
Despite the ongoing pandemic, the implementation of Destination Excellence is continuing. The Destination Excellence Implementation Steering Team (DEIST) held its regular bi-monthly meeting in April with the next one scheduled for June. 

Three of the original teams have now completed their work:
  • Social Accountability matters are being operationalized in the Office of Social Accountability, led by the Assistant Dean, Social Accountability, Dr. Bolu Ogunyemi. Their website continues to be updated.
  • Wellness related recommendations from the initial wellness survey will be reviewed and an action plan developed by the new Wellness and Well-Being Advisory Committee (WWAC), co-chaired by Dr. Tracey Bridger, Assistant Dean, Faculty Equity, Wellness and Professionalism and Dr. Greg Radu, Associate Dean, Learner Well Being and Success.
  • Research related work to reduce barriers to clinical researchers is being led by Dr. Reza Tabrizchi, Vice Dean, Research and Graduate Studies will remain on DEIST.
The Culture of Excellence team is continuing its work and regularly updating a heat map and an excel document of the status of progress with respect to implementing the unit assessment recommendations for the Faculty of Medicine. Since the last report, several items have changed from either red (not started) to yellow (in-progress) or from yellow to green (completed). It is important to note that although several recommendations are considered completed, on-going work will be required to maintain and sustain the changes.
The Balanced Scorecard Team has completed the development of the card and the Office of Finance and Administrative Services in the Faculty of Medicine will be responsible for data gathering and analysis. The project team will transition into an Advisory Group with some additional members to oversee results and provide advice on the implementation of the scorecard.
As reported last time, a new Internationalization team is being put in place to develop an internationalization strategy for the Faculty of Medicine. The team will be co-chaired by Dr. Sohaib Al-Asaeed, Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education and Ms. Cindy Whitton, Manager of Operations in the Office of Professional and Educational Development. A call for members went out to faculty and staff on May 5.
A new team on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is also being put in place to ensure a co-ordinated strategy to realizing our goals in these keys areas. This team will be co-chaired by Dr. Cathy Vardy, Vice Dean, Education and Faculty Affairs, and Ms. Tracey Pittman, Manager of Academic Affairs. More information will be forthcoming as the team is put in place. Given this is a significant area for improvement in the Faculty of Medicine I would encourage learners (undergraduate, postgraduate, and graduate) as well as staff and faculty to apply to sit on this important committee.
The Faculty of Medicine continues to work towards improving the learning and work environment so that it is free from racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, intimidation or harassment. I would remind everyone to review the professionalism website which provides links to all the policies and procedures.
For updates on the strategic plan please review the Destination Excellence website. The latest additions to the site include several unit strategic plans that have been developed under the overall Destination Excellence framework and the evaluation report from the 2020 update and planning days.
Undergraduate Accreditation 2022
As mentioned in previous updates, the undergraduate medical accreditation, originally scheduled for 2021 will take place April 3- 6, 2022.
We now have an accreditation website that houses general information about the process and how it impacts learners, faculty and staff.
Here is this month’s accreditation moment:
The full policy can be found at the Undergraduate Medical Education Policies and Procedures webpage.

Anatomy Laboratory
The new anatomy laboratory is now open for business, with the final steps of cleaning and moving in occurring over the coming days. Stages one and two of the laboratory renovations have been finished and the third stage is to be completed by late August. Many thanks to Dr. Trish Cousins, who has done a wonderful job navigating the rebuild of our anatomy laboratory which will be one of the best, if not the best, anatomy laboratories in a Canadian medical school. The laboratory will include downdraft tables and ventilated dissection areas, real cadavers, plastinated specimens,  point of care ultrasounds, models, an Anatomage table and updated technological equipment (PathMobile systems and displays). In addition, the Histology laboratory is also re-opening at this same time in its original location.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Many thanks to Eastern Health who donated various types of PPE including gloves, masks, etc to the Faculty of Medicine. If you require some for research, please visit room HSC-2767 daily from 10:00-12:00. Staff from the Medical Laboratories unit will be available to sign out PPE. This will continue as more items arrive, on a first come first served basis. Please contact Dr. Trish Cousins  at with any questions.

For this week's Professionalism Moment, I invited Dr. Greg Radu, Associate Dean, Learner Well-Being and Success, to share his thoughts on professionalism. 

Professionalism may be simply defined by what someone does or does not do, but is professionalism a singular characteristic of an individual or is it composed of different aspects of the self? Is professionalism simply an innate quality one happens to have, or is it achievable by anyone who strives to become that being who is professional in a community and culture that enables it? We, in Learner Well-Being and Success believe professionalism is a state of being that emerges from specific strengths and virtues which can be cultivated individually and collectively. Humanity, justice, courage, temperance and wisdom can be nurtured and can shape one's identity or identities and consequently can shape individual and collective actions.

In the Office of Learner Well-Being and Success, we value connection, communication and reflection. Through mentorship, engagement in activities, groups and events, and through authentic conversations that foster growth, we aim to uncover new ways of thinking, feeling and being that inspire learners to nurture whole and integrated personal and professional identities, thus enabling them and our community to thrive.
- Dr. Greg Radu

Research Highlights
I would like to congratulate the following grant recipients:
  • Medical Research Fund (MRF) Cox Grant: Dr. Ken Hiraswa
  • MRF Research and Development Grants: Dr. Janna Andronowski; Dr. Fraser Clift; Dr. Ann Forward
  • Ovarian Cancer Grant: Dr. Jules Dore
  • Dean of Medicine Collaborative Clinical and non-Clinical Grant: Dr. Craig Moore (NPI), Dr. Fraser Clift (Co-PI), Dr. Mark Stefanelli (Co-PI)
I would like to also thank Dr. Laura Gillespie who did a great job chairing the MRF and other grants. I would also like to thank the reviewers and the board of the MRF to contributing to this important initiative to enhance our research.
Graduation Celebrations
Carolyn Sturge Sparkes and I had the pleasure of attending the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada’s (IPAC) annual graduation ceremony for the Indigenous students who are graduating as physicians this year. It was a beautiful ceremony with Dr. Nel Wieman, President of IPAC, Melanie Osmack, Executive Director of IPAC, Elder, and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Hon. Carolyn Bennett facilitating the graduation. Congratulations to our Indigenous learners!
On June 2, the Doctor of Medicine class of 2021 will have a celebration of their significant achievement of completing medical school during a pandemic. If you would like to attend to celebrate with them please register by emailing
We also have a number of postgraduate learners who will be finishing their various residencies this spring. As well, we have 23 of graduate learners who will be completing their programs and a special video is being done to acknowledge their hard work. On June 3, the Memorial University wide graduation celebration will occur and you can register at
On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine I would like to congratulate them on their perseverance, resilience and stamina in achieving their goals despite a global pandemic and I wish all our graduates much success as they start a new chapter in their lives.
Provincial Reports
On April 29, 2021, the Postsecondary Review was released. The main items in the report that were specific to the Faculty of Medicine included:
  • Recommendation 27 - Increase the number and variety of interprofessional and interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities within the university and the college;
  • Recommendation 32 - Review faculty/campus representation at the senior level of the university (in the body of the document it mentions how the Faculty of Medicine is larger than the Marine Institute and Grenfell campus put together)
  • Recommendation 35 - Move the management and funding of three primary health-care clinics to the Eastern Health Regional Health Authority.
In the Provincial Economic Recovery Task Force (also known as the Greene Report) it had one specific recommendation for the Faculty of Medicine that indicated Memorial University should review our administrative functions. For the overall university there was a recommendation to cut the budget by 30% over six years.
Enjoy your last few weeks of the term. We hope to provide more information on the university’s plan for the fall of 2021 in June, 2021.