Time to Catch-up!

This blog is an opportunity for me to “catch up” with faculty, staff, and students after an incredibly busy spring. Speaking of spring, I must say I have had an incredible introduction to the “harsh prairie winters” and my family and friends in the Maritimes may still have snow in the woods!! Of course I know I may regret tempting the weather, but I figure enjoy it when I can!

In April and May, I have been away on a number of CoM activities.  Here’s a quick recap:

  • I chaired the full accreditation visit at Western University (formerly UWO).  This was a lot of work, but an incredible learning opportunity, especially for our full visit in 2017.
  • I hosted alumni events in Calgary, Victoria, and Vancouver. They were well-received as alumni seem pleased with the direction at the CoM, and some seem inclined to increase their support. Many thanks to all of those who turned out and to our excellent event organizer and advancement team.  I encourage all alumni to consider coming to Highlights 2015.
  • I attended the AFMC Board meetings, and the Canadian Conference on Medical Education. More on that below…
  • I also managed an unexpected diversion to the Maritimes for a family emergency. I would like to express great gratitude for the concern and well wishes expressed to Jane, Marie and me by so many of you. My mother is recovering nicely. I regret if it has been difficult to meet with me lately or if I cancelled a meeting or missed your event.

The CCME was very instructive, as usual, with lots of great faculty development. Of great concern is the shrinking number of PGME spots across the country, and the increasingly competitive CaRMS environment. I have assumed the position of the AFMC Dean representative on the Board of CaRMS, and hope to contribute constructively to these challenges.  A concern to the deans is some of the inconsistency in the approaches and policies of our PGME programs across the country particularly with regards to selection. I look forward to your input on that important topic.

Another topic discussed at CCME was UGME admissions.  Some of our peers are coming up with innovative ways to recruit students from historically under-represented groups, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, LGBTQ community, inner city and rural communities, etc.  Here’s the latest news from U of M:


While I think we have made some progress with our Aboriginal and rural students, I think we still have room to go to ensure our student body reflects the whole Saskatchewan population. Again, I look forward to your advice.

The abrupt trip to the Maritimes was even more abruptly ended by a rush back here to participate in the UGME accreditation visit. I mention this to give kudos to our event team and the IT teams here and at Dalhousie.  They created a superb back-up plan for me to participate fully in the accreditation visit by high-end VC equipment (acquired here just in time for the visit) from The Moncton Hospital!! “Ain’t technology great!”

I am very pleased to say our UGME accreditation visit went well, and kudos to all, but especially to Dr. Athena McConnell (our Assistant Dean, Quality), and Kevin Siebert (our Accreditation Specialist). Our briefing book was completed and edited to perfection well in time, the mock visits carried out smoothly with full preparation and participation by faculty members, and the logistics of the visit handled flawlessly.  The results will be heard in the fall, but the exit interview expressed progress or resolution of many of the 13 standards in question. It needs to be noted, however, that our primary focus for preparation is in fact the full visit coming in 2017.

Speaking of 2017, I hate to be a pain going on about this, but we also need to remind ourselves that our performance in the upcoming year and the responses from our graduating students on the Canadian Graduate Questionnaire in June 2016 will be the primary data for the full accreditation visit of 2017. I believe we have made great progress on many fronts with regards to accreditation, and soon this issue will be permanently behind us. We just aren’t there yet!

Finally, I write this blog on the plane back from Ottawa and on my way to Regina to meet with government, RQHR, and our faculty.

I hope you enjoyed a spectacular Saskatchewan weekend.  I went out Saturday on my motorbike to Watrous to meet with some of our rural faculty at SnoDocs.


One thought on “Time to Catch-up!

  1. Preston:
    Wow. Congratulations. I must be really out of touch because I just heard of your appointment. I was talking to a couple of docs in Halifax and I asked about you and that’s how I found out. Again, I’m so happy for you. You are an excellent choice. I still remember the reference I did for you but I hadn’t heard anything more after that. All the best to you. If I can ever be of any help, just let me know. I’m still enjoying retirement but get a little bored at times.

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