It is my great pleasure to welcome you back from the holidays, and to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Despite last year’s challenges, we closed 2011 once again with a long list of successes, thanks to the strong commitment of everyone in this community. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Benaroya for his steady and true leadership as Interim VP-Dean over the last several months, together with the Faculty’s leadership team.
It is a special honour for me to take on the Vice-Principal and Dean role. I’ve been asked a few times since, “Why were you interested, why did you accept?” Simply, I consider it an opportunity to give back to the Faculty, to our community and to the province. Born in Montreal and bred at McGill, I owe my career to the Faculty, and I am very proud of this place. My parents and brothers were educated at McGill, and my son is here now. To come full circle, as VP and Dean, is really an extraordinary privilege.
I am also confident that I can help move us forward, bringing some of what I have learned about the Faculty, the hospital system and our research environment to bear on our future success. Clearly, I cannot do this in isolation, so the coming months will be very focused on listening and learning about all areas of the Faculty, including the Schools and our health community, and speaking with many of you.
While it would be premature of me, at this point, to define a vision for the Faculty that spans five years, having spent a good part of my life here, I do have some ideas about the way forward.
- With respect to our educational mission, we are now finalizing an updated medical undergraduate curriculum for 2013, which is fantastic news. The program, an outcome of the Faculty’s Strategic Education Design Group, includes a new emphasis on public health and population health, lifelong learning skills and Family Medicine, as well as inter-professional learning with the Schools. Our residency program is also being reviewed, and changes are underway in Nursing, Physical and Occupational Therapy, and Communication Sciences and Disorders.
- In our research, it is becoming increasingly important that we target the needs of the individual, as well as society at large. Equally pressing is the need to translate our basic discoveries into better health care. To remain competitive, we must benchmark our grant application results against the best North American medical schools and pursue more large-scale funding. We also need to direct research money to where it will have the most impact on society’s needs.
- In our health community, we must continue building on our collaborations across the McGill Academic Health Network, including the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, the Jewish General Hospital, the McGill University Health Centre and St. Mary’s Hospital Center. This applies not only to research and teaching, but also to the development of leading-edge clinical services. It is all the more important now, with the historic infrastructure renewals taking place, if we are to lead the coming changes in health care.
- We are a major contributor to the health sciences in Quebec and Canada, as well as internationally. As a publicly-funded institution, we must make sure we are providing the populations we serve with the very best education, research and health care. Indeed, Quebecers and Canadians, through government and public agencies, provide the bedrock of our support. We must also ensure we are actively participating in educational, research and health care policy-making, and that our voice is being heard at these tables.
Over the next while, the Faculty will be elaborating a vision, informed by this community, to help us build on our successes. I look forward to realizing this vision in collaboration with all of you in the months and years to come.
Once again, I wish one and all an exceptional 2012.
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
January 10, 2012