Let me begin by offering all my best wishes for the New Year. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all those who were working and/or training over the holidays in our hospitals, research labs and other essential areas. In addition to all you do in our clinical environments, your commitment to education has remained steadfast. You have the Faculty’s deepest gratitude.
We had all hoped 2021 would begin on a more positive note, but we are clearly in another difficult period in this pandemic. Nevertheless, there is hope that the new public health measures announced on January 6, along with the vaccine rollout, will lead to a reduction in the spread of the virus and alleviate the impact on our health care system. Although things are very hard right now, we are fortunate to live in a country with the means to procure and administer these vaccines. Our colleagues in other parts of the world are not so lucky; we stand in solidarity with them as they fight the same battle with fewer resources.
We have come a long way since the pandemic first emerged last winter. We are much better able to treat patients with COVID-19 and the survival rate has increased; we know much more about transmission and how to reduce it. These achievements are the result of the outstanding efforts of scientists and clinicians around the world, working together and sharing their knowledge in a way never seen before. This, in turn, has brought into sharp relief the critical importance of McGill’s mission as a research-intensive university, and the expertise and preparedness of our scientists, clinicians and trainees to take on the challenges of a global pandemic. We have many reasons to feel proud.
In 2021, our Faculty priorities remain unchanged: to ensure the safety of our learners, faculty and staff; to ensure the integrity of the education our learners receive, including clinical skills training; and to ensure the success of our research. The Faculty’s leadership across all our Schools is relentlessly following the situation as it evolves from day to day, and will continue to work closely with you to adapt to each new phase, to innovate and to offer the best possible solutions.
Quebec is once again at the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada. As members of Quebec’s health care community, we must continue to heed public health directives and lead by example. I thank you for modelling our shared commitment to the health care system and to evidence-based science through your actions and words to family, friends, colleagues, students and the broader community.
By the same token, I encourage you to take the time to be kind to yourself and those you work and live with, and whenever possible be flexible in your expectations. We are fortunate to be in a country with hope on the horizon, but I know there are many in our community who are struggling in these very difficult times. Please do not hesitate to reach out for help or refer others to the Faculty’s and University’s resources, such as The Well Office (for health professional learners), the Wellness Hub and keep.meSAFE (for all other students), and HR’s Wellness Resources During COVID-19 (for faculty and staff). Clinical faculty are encouraged to access support through their hospital or via PAMQ.
The great strength of our Faculty is the incredible people who work, teach and learn together on our two campuses and at our clinical sites. As difficult as these times are, this is what we have been trained for. We will continue to face these challenges with our world-class clinicians, researchers and learners leading the charge, and with the expert support of all who are on the frontlines and behind the scenes. We have worked hard to get to this point; it will be a tough winter, but we will get through it, together.
Dr. David Eidelman
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences