On June 1, 2014 I started as dean here at the College of Medicine! I find it hard to believe, as it feels like yesterday. On the other hand, I remember some days or weeks that seemed to last forever.
Overall, these have been some of the most fascinating and enriching years of my professional career. Some days my memories of pre-dean life are nostalgic: delivering babies, working through complex diagnoses, and helping my patients through their illness and suffering. Then I remind myself that I don’t have to do a difficult lumbar puncture on an upset toddler, tell people they have had a stroke or a heart attack, deal with a difficult shoulder dystocia, or do palliative care on a young mother with inflammatory breast cancer or a young father with melanoma. And even though I occasionally am staring at the ceiling at three in the morning, I am never called out in the middle of the night. These are all true stories I can assure you!
So, five great years as dean, and now I am looking forward to another five. As many will know, Provost Tony Vannelli announced May 13 that I will start my second term as dean of the CoM on July 1, 2019.
First, I profoundly thank all those learners, faculty, and staff who have worked so hard with me over the past five years. We have accomplished a lot together! Second, I thank the review committee and all of you who provided feedback to the review committee. I am humbled by the kind words and appreciative of the constructive feedback that was provided.
And third, we have lots more to do; don’t expect the CoM to be standing still! As you know, we have a great strategic plan, which you were instrumental in forming, and it is comprehensive and ambitious. My elevator speech for our plan: if our new normal is medical education excellence, then our priorities are Indigenous health, research, learner wellness, and faculty and staff engagement.
Yesterday was graduation day for our college, and a great day it was! For the first time in 50 years, convocation was held on campus, and I have only heard rave reviews of the venue, Merlis Belsher Place. A special thank you to our faculty who were on stage. I would highly encourage all faculty to think about joining us next year—to see firsthand our graduates crossing the stage and the beautiful venue.
At our CoM Graduation Banquet and Ceremony last night, we had a wonderful evening of celebration, with many awards handed out. I want to highlight the 2019 Faculty Teaching Awards given out to Dr. Trustin Domes in Saskatoon, Dr. Rashmi Bhargava in Regina, and Dr. Peggy Lambos in Prince Albert. Dr. Trustin Domes, a urologist and Director of Education for Surgery—now transitioning to our Director of Admissions—gave an inspiring keynote address.
Drs. Kiefer Lypka and Michael Schinold were masterful as our Masters of Ceremony. Dr. Bonnie Liu provided one of the best valedictorian speeches I have heard. It was warm throughout, funny, and highlighted many events and classmates of the past four years for the MD Class of 2019. Bonnie both inspired and challenged her classmates and herself to be the best possible doctors and people they could be, all delivered with remarkable grace and humility. All in all, I am very proud of our Class of 2019 students; they simultaneously inspired my confidence in their future and the future of the CoM.
For our graduates, convocation triggers the excitement and anxiety of starting afresh as a resident. For others, like myself, it truly signals the start of summer! And I do have some travel plans over the next three months.
To celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, Jane and I will start a two-week vacation June 14 in Europe, beginning in Budapest and ending in Prague, with seven days cruising the Danube (and a Jann Arden performance) in-between.
Later in the summer, I will be in the Maritimes for three weeks that will include a family wedding, seeing old friends and some fly fishing on the Miramichi River. On a more exciting note, I will be back in NB in September for the birth of my second grandchild!
So I wish all of you an excellent summer vacation and our graduates all the best wishes for an excellent residency experience. Rest assured, like all things, that first night on call will soon be a memory—you will do fine because you have great training and are great graduates of the U of S!
As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback.