Another busy, beautiful summer is upon us

I hope this blog finds you well and already enjoying the hot summer weather we’ve received early this year. Definitely we also must be reflecting on the challenges of wildfires right across our country that heat and wind have played a big part in. Let’s hope these circumstances only improve through the remaining months of summer in 2023.

With work pressures many in our college are feeling this summer, and other stresses we all manage in our lives and certainly are still working to resolve in healthcare, I do urge everyone to take some time for yourself with family and friends for some well-deserved downtime. Of course, with various time-sensitive areas of work underway now, I encourage and support flexibility in vacation planning and timeframes for our employees as they play their critical role in delivering on the CoM mission.

For myself, this summer will kick off with a trip to Calgary to enjoy the annual tradition with my daughter of running the Stampede half-marathon, and I’ll be playing my very first round of golf with my 7-year-old grandson! We then travel to New Brunswick to visit family and friends and spend lots of time with my two granddaughters, as well as my daughter and her husband, including four days at cottages on Prince Edward Island. Interspersed throughout the summer will be lots of golf, time in the garden and reading on the deck with two dogs at my feet.

I do want to take a few moments to reflect on another year at the college, and the strides we have made on many fronts.

We welcomed exceptionally talented new leaders to our college this past year. Most recently, Dr. Pat Brophy, a USask MD ’94 grad, joined us from New York in May as the new provincial department head of pediatrics. Dr. Mike Kelly became the new provincial department head of surgery this past February.

Dr. Janet Tootoosis joined our team as interim vice-dean Indigenous health. Over the past year she established a team forming the Office of the Vice-Dean Indigenous Health and that team, along with others, led amazing work resulting in the recent approval of a new Department of Indigenous Health and Wellness (DIHW) in our college.

We’ve continued to move forward on equity and diversity, and many of you participated in research conducted on our behalf by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission to develop a report that has given us a much greater understanding of systemic inequity issues we face. As I recently outlined on this blog page, we are now using that report alongside other initiatives—like ART in Med Ed being led by the Division of Social Accountability, our college-led EDI survey results, and your input through further discussion—to develop theme areas and an implementation plan for change. More to come on this important work!

We are a growing medical school, and given the challenges and needs of our healthcare system and its patients, this is certainly necessary and will be an important component of the province’s health human resources planning now and into the future. Examples of how we are growing can be found in the biomedical sciences undergraduate programs, co-delivered by our college with the College of Arts and Science. It can be found in new areas of training within Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME), with more growth planned, and the expansion of our family medicine sites to include southeast Saskatchewan.

In the School of Rehabilitation Science, it can be seen in the seat expansion announced earlier this year to 55 learners from 40 in the Master of Physical Therapy program, and in work underway to determine how and when we can add occupational therapy and speech language pathology to the programs delivered by the school.

There is a great deal of exciting work ahead, including the full accreditation review for PGME in November, next steps as we establish the new DIHW at the CoM, moving forward with a more concrete EDI plan for our college that is aligned with the university’s, to name only a few.

But for now, I hope you have some wonderful plans for enjoying the summer ahead!