Welcome back, everyone, to the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
We begin the Fall session against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, a situation we never would have imagined a year ago. Thank you, profoundly, for your extraordinary ingenuity and efforts to adapt to this reality. While the situation will remain challenging and require ongoing collaboration and adaptation, our educational programs are up and running because of your perseverance.
The Faculty now has a new name, you may have noticed. In April 2020, shortly after the pandemic hit, McGill’s Board of Governors approved the adoption of the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. At the same time, it ratified the creation of two new schools. This, on the cusp of the University’s Bicentennial, is a historic milestone. The new name celebrates our past, and our evolution into a multi health profession and biomedical sciences teaching and research organization, home to many of the world’s most accomplished scholars, professionals and students.
The Faculty now counts six unique Schools, all leaders in their domain: the new School of Medicine, including our new Campus Outaouais where our programs are delivered in French; the new School of Biomedical Sciences; the Ingram School of Nursing; the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy; the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders; and the School of Population and Global Health. Thank you to the leadership in each school and to everyone who actively engaged in the extensive consultations that led to the reorganization of our Faculty.
We are in a period of renewal. With McGill’s Bicentennial, we of course will celebrate our past successes. But, more importantly, we must challenge ourselves to do better in our pursuit of excellence. In education. In science. And in our commitment to society. The formidable challenges created by the pandemic, followed by the tragic killing of George Floyd, have humbled and moved us to re-examine all of our missions – how we teach, how we do research and how we conduct ourselves as an institution.
The Provost recently committed to delivering by the end of September a concrete Plan for Addressing Anti-Black Racism. In the Faculty, we have initiated many actions, including consultations and community events held by our Social Accountability and Engagement Office, with members of the Black community informing our efforts. Other steps we are taking aim to target systemic racism and microaggression, enhance curricular content and increase the representation of Black students in our Faculty. Once the University’s plan is set, we will finalize the Faculty plan and share it.
I am acutely aware that McGill’s new HR and Academic management system – Workday – has introduced additional challenges for many of you. While I do believe Workday will eventually bring benefits, I know many, especially in our Administrative community, are experiencing major difficulties. I am sorry for that. The topic is discussed at our weekly executive meetings, and our HR, Academic Affairs and Finance leadership, locally and centrally, are working very hard to find solutions. Please know that your efforts to master the system are very deeply appreciated. More communication on this topic will follow.
We are beginning the Fall 2020 session facing challenges, but with a remarkable resourcefulness, resilience and community spirit that characterizes who we are. The Faculty has surmounted many major obstacles over its 200-year history, and will surely do so again. The main reason for our continued success is that we have the best people to achieve it.
Thank you, and I wish everyone an exceptional academic year.
David Eidelman, MDCM
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
September 16, 2020