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Interprofessionalism, introductions and interesting research

Greetings to all new learners, faculty, staff and other members of our Windsor medical education community. It was a pleasure to meet many of you at our annual Meet & Greet event. I look forward to reconnecting with returning students, residents and other members of our team as we embark on the new 2017-18 academic year.

As a medical program, we continue to evolve and explore innovative ways to train tomorrow’s physicians. One illustration of this is the enhanced integration medical students have with learners from allied health care disciplines; nursing in particular. Thanks to our nursing colleagues at the University of Windsor and especially Linda Patrick, Dean of Nursing, for her vision and leadership in this connection.

We hope to continue to expand on this interprofessional education theme in the months that will follow, including an increased involvement with programs at St. Clair College, but in the interim we took a new step in this direction by involving nurse practitioner students at this year’s Meet & Greet event. Knowing the close proximity that future nurses and physicians will have to one another, it is never too early to find ways to enhance the communication and relationship building process; ultimately, we hope efforts like these will translate into improved patient care.

During the summer, you may have heard of some important developments that have the potential to lead to significant change. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry welcomed new Vice Deans: Dr. Davy Cheng, David Litchfield, PhD, and Dr. Jay Rosenfield, respectively leading the School’s Faculty Affairs, Research & Innovation and Medical Education portfolios. We look forward to hosting many productive visits to the Schulich Medicine – Windsor Campus during the next few years.

You may have also heard that Dr. Alan Wildeman will vacate his role as President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Windsor. Dr. Wildeman will continue until June 2018, but he will leave big shoes to fill. In particular, Dr. Wildeman has been a strong supporter of the Schulich Medicine - Windsor Campus, attending many of our functions through the years from Meet & Greet events to Celebrating Excellence banquets to convocation ceremonies in London. Clearly, Dr. Wildeman has taken a personal interest in Schulich Medicine students and it shows. We will comment in greater detail regarding Dr. Wildeman’s legacy as June 2018 gets closer, however, this is an opportune time to reflect on how Dr. Wildeman’s efforts have helped to transform the local community and to demonstrate our appreciation for such.

Dr. Bertha Garcia has recently completed her second term as Vice Dean, Education at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. She has been a passionate supporter of distributed medical education and in this connection has been a national leader and expert. I want to thank Dr. Garcia for her assistance in helping the Schulich Medicine – Windsor Campus to arrive at its present state. Dr. Garcia will remain with Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, continuing her academic clinical practice.  

I want to draw your attention to two important milestones that we have experienced during the past few months. The Schulich UWindsor Opportunities in Research Excellence Program (SWORP), which encourages research scholarship for medical students in Windsor, has had its best year ever. All funds were awarded for the first time since the program began four years ago. Fourteen students shared 10 awards, as well as another three students engaged in SWORP-like research projects locally where there is a different funding model in place. We are very pleased with the result this year. Congratulations to all those who have received funding and sincere appreciation is extended to the research mentors; none of this would be possible without your active support and participation.

The second milestone involves Dr. Mark Awuku – one of our best known and most popular faculty members. Dr. Awuku has been promoted to the rank of Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. This is a critical first for the Schulich Medicine – Windsor Campus, and I truly hope that others will follow in Dr. Awuku’s footsteps. Obtaining the rank of Professor is a rare occurrence but even more so for faculty members working from a distributed location like a satellite campus. Well done, Dr. Awuku. You are a trailblazer.

In September 2018, the Schulich Medicine – Windsor Campus will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Time has flown by quickly. We will be planning some celebrations as we get closer to the official birthday but you can expect a number of events and activities to occur as the calendar flips to 2018. Stay tuned.

Until then, I wish you all a warm welcome back to the academic journey.

Gerry Cooper, EdD
Associate Dean