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Department Profile: Internationalization - It's a small world after all

By Angela McInnes, BA'15

From their small office in the Clinical Skills Building, the Internationalization Office is helping to change lives across the globe.

Established in June 2015, the School’s Internationalization Office is new and focused on the future. However, this means it must first examine the past in order to gauge the direction it will go in.

The Office includes Silke Klenk as Director, and Jessica Jamieson as Administrative Assistant. In collaboration with the various Offices, Departments and Research Centres that comprise the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, as well as other Faculties across Western University, they oversee the School’s international activities.

“Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has had an international focus for many, many years,” said Klenk. “One of the things we’d like to do is bring better coordination and more synergy to what we’re doing. The main objective right now is to take stock of what we are doing internationally, and to develop a plan that will move us into the future in a strategic way.”

Internationalization touches every aspect of what happens at the School, such as teaching and learning, clinical training, research, international recruitment and retention, partnerships and mobility, and cross-border delivery of programs and services.

Because of their many connections around the world, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry researchers play a significant role in shaping the Office’s internationalization activities. The Office also supports professors and surgeons involved in capacity building projects in countries like Rwanda, Uganda, Peru and India.

In terms of student exchange programs, key partnerships currently involve medical schools in China, Tanzania and Brazil. The Office also creates the opportunity for students to engage with diverse cultures and worldviews by enhancing the integration and involvement of the School’s international students.

No matter what the location, the overall goal of the Office is to highlight the benefits of providing a global perspective to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

“In this day and age you can’t function in isolation. We live in a world that’s so interconnected and interdependent that if we didn’t include a global perspective to what we’re doing we wouldn’t be getting the full picture,” explained Klenk.

For the Internationalization Office, the world is filled with endless possibilities.

“There are many exciting things happening at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry internationally, and by developing a strategic plan that identifies our overall goals, our internationalization initiatives will have an even greater impact,” said Klenk.