December Updates…Accreditation & Holiday Cheer!


Thanks to El Niño we have certainly enjoyed a relatively balmy start to our Saskatchewan winter. However, the pace of activities in the College of Medicine continues unabated. I would like to take this opportunity to provide updates on these activities and to send holiday greetings to all our staff and faculty members across the province of Saskatchewan.

Accreditation has been the theme of 2015 as we faced the fourth visit by accreditation teams to various parts of our college this year. From November 30 to December 3 a 30-member team from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) reviewed 21 post-graduate medical education programs.

I must congratulate co-chairs Dr. Keith Wycliffe-Jones from the CFPC and Dr. Sarkis Meterissian from the RCPSC and their team on the thorough, collaborative, collegial and constructive manner in which they conducted the review and provided their recommendations. At this point, the process is not yet complete and the recommendations must be reviewed and approved by the accreditation committees of the CFPC and RCPSC.

Suffice to say that at this point I am very pleased with the overall outcome of the visit. I was particularly pleased to see the strengths listed included praise for our Associate Dean Post-Graduate Medical Education (PGME), Dr. Anurag Saxena. I was also pleased to see the Academic Clinical Funding Plan identified as a strength and a positive step forward for the College of Medicine. The accreditors were quick to point out that we were in the midst of an ambitious agenda for change. In that regard I was very pleased that virtually all of the recommendations for improvement were in areas that we are already working.

There are many people to thank, but first I must thank our residents for the candid and constructive feedback they provided to the accreditation teams. Next, a profound thanks to the staff of the PGME who were highly praised by the accreditation team for both the daily work they do and the excellent organization of the visit. Our program directors worked hard to prepare for this visit and deserve much of the credit for the level of success we have achieved. Finally, I would like to thank the faculty throughout the province who teach our residents on a daily basis.

The College of Medicine, the university and the health regions are all committed to make the improvements recommended by our accreditors, and in particular to assist those programs identified as needing further follow-up.

Unfortunately, last week I missed the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) 2015 Santé Awards. An unexpected trip to Calgary was necessary as my grandson was in hospital with a febrile illness. As he is just eight weeks of age you can understand why I was concerned, but thankfully all turned out well. However, I certainly regretted missing the SHRF awards celebration as the College of Medicine was incredibly well represented, as you will see on the list of award winners.

In particular, I would like to congratulate Dr. Debra Morgan of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture for being awarded the SHRF 2015 Achievement Award. The following excerpt is from the SHRF website.

“Dr. Morgan is widely known for demonstrating excellence and achievement in the field of rural dementia health care. She is leading an interdisciplinary research group that has been sustained over almost two decades. Dr. Morgan’s work has fundamentally changed health service delivery in Saskatchewan for older adults with dementia and their family caregivers through the establishment of the innovative, telehealth-supported Rural and Remote Memory Clinic. Her ability to successfully mobilize large interdisciplinary research programs and as an internationally recognized leader in her field, Dr. Morgan is a most deserving winner of the 2015 SHRF Achievement Award.”

Much work in many areas continues at the college. Last week I had some time with a flip chart and now my office is wallpapered with the many strategic initiatives and projects underway at the college. Feel free to drop by and have a look. Most critical, of course, is the work being done on our faculty transition. We’ve created a dedicated team working in collaboration with the health regions and the Ministry of Health, and they are hard at work. You will hear much more about this work in the New Year.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a happy, restful and restorative holiday season. Again, congratulations to our researchers and thanks to all those involved in post-graduate medical education.

I look forward to an exciting 2016 as we continue to move the College of Medicine forward and progress toward our initial goal to be the best small medical school in Canada.

As always my door is open and I look forward to your feedback.