News at Medicine - November 2019 - Dean’s Notes - November 26, 2019

Dean’s Notes - November 26, 2019
November 27, 2019
It has been a busy month with many important events which have been extremely well attended and received. The following dean’s notes are for the past month as I was travelling for work.
I had the privilege of being a member of an external review panel for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. I then attended the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), of which our Faculty of Medicine is a member. The Council of Deans for AAMC have an Ignite session which highlights something your school has been doing based on a particular theme. This year the theme was professionalism so I presented a talk on Learner Mistreatment and it was extremely well received. Many thanks to Jacinta Reddigan who developed the slides. Dr. Tanis Adey, associate dean, Undergraduate Medical Education also attended and is now a member of the AAMC Senior Education Dean’s Committee which is looking at future challenges in medical education.
Since my last dean’s notes, Memorial University’s 38th annual Alumni Tribute Awards ceremony took place on October 24. Congratulations to Dr. Peter Collingwood who was awarded the JD Eaton Award and Dr. Boluwaji Ogunyemi the Horizon Award. Many thanks to all those in the Faculty of Medicine who attended the event to support our award winners.
Successful reunion events occurred on October 25 and 26 and it was the second time we had reunion during the wider university’s reunion. Eighty alumni attended the various events. There was a terrific Continuing Medical Education session with presenters: Dr. Valerie Taylor, Class of 1999; Dr. Colin Landells, Class of 1979; Dr. Jane Evans, Class of 1984; Dr. Ruth Connors, Class of 1984; and Dr. Bill Eaton, Class of 1974. The topics were interesting and extremely varied including the microbiome and depression, waitlists for specialist care, brainspotting, project outreach, and humour and medicine. Many thanks to Tracey Munden, Dennis Dillon and Virginia Middleton who ensured the event was a success.

On November 20, I attended the Antibiotic FutureForum organized by Quality of Care Newfoundland and Labrador. The World Health Organization has declared November 18 to the 24 as World Antibiotic Awareness Week. In keeping with the Destination Excellence strategic pillar ‘improving lives,’ areas of priority identified by Quality of Care NL such as this are important for all of us to support so that we can work together to address areas of concern. Quality of Care NL has prioritized antibiotics research in order to not only demonstrate the need to reduce unnecessary antibiotics prescribing in Newfoundland and Labrador, but also to show changes in the reduction of antibiotic use after implementing a number of strategies. Dr. Teresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer, and Honorable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services gave a few remarks and Dr. Peter Daley was the keynote speaker. The forum was an opportunity to keep the conversation going and to hear from experts in this field.
Many thanks to Dr. Barton Thiessen who has kindly agreed to be the acting assistant dean of Admissions for one year. I would also like to thank Dr. Thiessen, Lisa Breen and Dr. Cathy Vardy for their extensive involvement in TaMMI, our annual event to interview candidates for medical school. Special thanks to Dr. Reza Tabrizchi for giving greetings on my behalf at TaMMI on November 1. I would also like to thank all the learners, staff, faculty and community members who volunteered to make TaMMI successful. Approximately 260 people were interviewed with over 130 volunteers.

Congratulations and thanks to all those who participated in the third annual Faculty of Medicine Open House. It was a very successful event again this year with about 365 people attending. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase the incredible research and education that is done in our faculty. I would especially like to thank the planning committee which included: Virginia Middleton, Michelle Osmond, Tracey Munden, Leah Curnew, Jenna Ross, Stephanie Blandford, Susan Hutchings, Stephanie Tucker, Carolyn Sturge Sparkes, Jennifer Armstrong, Amy Carroll and Sherilee Chambers.

The third Aboriginal Health Symposium took place on Thursday, November 21. We had approximately 100 people attend. It was an honour to have Premier Dwight Ball, who is also the Minister of Intergovernmental and Indigenous Affairs and the Minister of Labrador Affairs, open the symposium. The Honourable John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services also spent a significant amount of time at the event. Ms. Catharyn Anderson, special advisor to the president for Aboriginal Affairs provided a presentation on the process for the development of a strategy for Indigenization of the Academy. The keynote speaker was Dr. Debbie Martin, a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples’ Health and Well-Being in the Faculty of Health with cross-appointments in the Faculty of Dentistry and School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University. She provided an excellent presentation on the Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network. She noted that Newfoundland and Labrador had the most publications in Indigenous health of all the Atlantic Provinces. However, there is much work to be done to increase research in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and obtaining Indigenous community ethics.

Monte Carlo took place Saturday, November 23 at the Delta Conference Centre and was a big success. There were over 500 people in attendance. They raised money for four charities: Thrive, Buckmasters Circle Community Centre, Islaview Foundation and the Angel Fund. This is a huge undertaking and I would like to congratulate all the learners who were actively involved in making the event fun and enjoyable as well as contributing to community engagement.

And, lastly, the final report for the unit assessment was submitted to Dr. Kachanoski, president of Memorial University on October 31. Many thanks to members of the unit assessment working group:
  • Paul Tucker, chief operating officer
  • Jacinta Reddigan, policy analyst
  • Greg Radu, assistant dean, Student Affairs
  • Janet Norman, manager, Human Resources
  • Vernon Curran, associate dean, Educational Development
  • Ann Dorward, assistant dean, Graduate Studies
  • Rhonda Shortall, sexual harassment advisor to the president
  • Tracey Pittman, manager, Academic Affairs, invited guest
  • Michelle Osmond, communications advisor
  • Tanis Adey, chair, Professionalism Working Group
  • Julia Curtis, Professional Association of Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador representative
  • Cathy Vardy, vice dean of Medicine
  • Erin Marshall, Medical Student Society representative
  • Emma Quinlan, Medical Graduate Student Society representative.
The unit assessment working group will be evolving to the Culture of Excellence Project Team as part of Destination Excellence and will be co-chaired by Jacinta Reddigan and Dr. Tanis Adey. The invitation to participate on the new project team will go out after the November 29 planning day. Letters of interest will be accepted during the first 2-3 weeks of December. I encourage learners, staff and faculty to apply. For further information on the unit assessment please check the website and to learn more what’s new with our strategic plan please check the website.