Welcome back!

This is a very brief blog to welcome everyone back for the start of a new academic year. I want to welcome all of our learners: biomedical science students, graduate students, physical therapy students, medical students and residents! We are a big family, with about 2,000 learners here at the CoM.

I want to welcome our first-year medical students, as I missed your Orientation early in August when I was away in the Maritimes. We are thrilled to have you on board and I look forward to getting to know you.

Welcome back to all staff and faculty. I hope you had a restful and restorative summer break. I have been back now for two weeks, mostly on the road in Saskatchewan. I have been to Regina twice for meetings and last week I was at the university’s Senior Leadership Retreat in Waskesiu and an SHA board meeting in Meadow Lake.

With those meetings being back-to-back, I took advantage of the opportunity and the good weather to make it a 1000k motorcycle trip from Saskatoon to Waskesiu, to Meadow Lake, and then back via Blaine Lake, over three days. It was a great ride through some amazing scenery through our Saskatchewan Prairies (mixed grassland to be specific) and Boreal Plains ecozones!

It was great to visit Meadow Lake and meet with members of the community there at an SHA board reception held at the Meadow Lake Tribal Council offices. I also spoke with some of our medical faculty in Meadow Lake. They have done a great job as one of our two inaugural sites of our Saskatchewan Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (SLIC); two new third-year medical students have just started there this summer in that program. (Estevan is our other SLIC site, and we have two third-year students there this year as well.)

The community and our faculty are to be commended for a doing a great job last year and enthusiastically continuing this year despite a significant physician shortage, which the community and the SHA are working hard to correct. I had a great conversation with our SLIC lead in Meadow Lake, Dr. Rebecca Epp, and was very grateful to see the remarkable enthusiasm for medical education and commitment to their community. Both as dean and as an SHA board member I say thank you to these dedicated physicians!

As always, we have a lot to do this fall, with lots of exciting initiatives and, of course, the odd challenge to face. But for now, let’s focus on enjoying our last kick at summer relaxation over the Labour Day long weekend.

Have a great weekend! Go Riders! And remember my door is always open and I always appreciate your feedback.

P.S. Here are a few pictures from my holidays in the Maritimes – a fishing camp on the Miramichi River in New Brunswick and a cottage on the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia: