COVID-19 Update #19

Dear faculty, staff, residents and learners,

I hope you and your families continue to remain healthy and safe. There’s no question that physical distancing is a challenge, but we know that it is making a difference in flattening the COVID-19 curve, and I’m grateful to all of you for observing the restrictions that have been put in place by public health.

During the past several weeks, people across the School have been incredibly innovative in their approach to classes, exams, thesis presentations, research, administrative support and community engagement.

Thank you for continuing to advance education programs, for maintaining great service in support of operational matters, for advancing research, for continuing to engage with the community, and for providing care to people in the community.

This is what our School is known for, and it’s wonderful to witness everyone working together during this pandemic.

Your research, clinical care, volunteer efforts and academic expertise are also helping to keep the broader community informed locally and nationally. For weeks now, media have turned to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty for expert opinions on a range of issues related to this pandemic to ensure the community has access to factual information and news of advancements.

Here is just a sampling of the commentary by and interviews with the School’s faculty and learners.

Recently, Dr. Saverio Stranges provided expert commentary on a number issues, including producing and sharing data, how young people are not immune to COVID-19 and on whether or not health authorities and governments waited too long to bring in measures to help curb the spread of the virus.

Dr. Claudio Martin responded to media inquiries related to ventilator use; Dr. Marat Slessarev commented on the shortage of drugs used for ICU ventilation; and Dr. Allison McConnell spoke with the Toronto Star about her experiences on the front-line of the pandemic.

Stephen Barr, PhD, participated in an interview with University Affairs that focused on the vaccine work related to COVID-19 that is being done in Canada. Stephen was also a guest on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks, speaking about the development of the vaccine. Eric Arts, PhD, is collaborating with the Faculty of Engineering on a cough chamber, which was covered by a number of media outlets. And Chil Yong Kang, PhD, spoke to Global News about vaccine development.

Dr. Ruth Lanius collaborated with Margaret McKinnon from McMaster University on an op-ed about the moral wounds that health care providers are facing during this health care crisis.

Locally, Dr. Michael Craig spoke about how his family practice and teaching has changed during the pandemic, and Amy Reichelt, PhD, spoke to CTV about her research related to stress eating during the pandemic.

And medical students were profiled for their important work in COVID-19 contact tracing.

The Senior Leader Council (SLC) continues to meet several times a week, and make decisions about education, research and operational issues as they arise. Dr. John Yoo, the School’s incoming Dean, has been part of these meetings for many weeks and he also joined me at a meeting with the President and Deans from the University’s faculties this past week. This will ensure a seamless transition on May 1. I’m grateful to him for his involvement and early contributions to our work.

I’m also pleased to announce that Dr. Terri Paul has agreed to take on an additional role as Interim Assistant Dean, Resident Wellbeing. Dr. Paul’s expertise in learner, equity and wellness will be of tremendous support now and into the future.

Last week, we also announced the 2020 Awards of Excellence - London recipients. Congratulations to all faculty and staff who received awards. We have tentatively rescheduled the event to September 30, and we hope that we can get together to celebrate your achievements then.

The School also shared the stories of Schulich Dentistry students who are volunteering in the community during the pandemic and some reflections from Yun Lee, an international student in the Master of Public Health Program.

In the coming weeks, we hope to get more direction from the University on promotions and tenure for Clinical and UWOFA faculty, as well as on convocation. I look forward to sharing more details shortly.

For the next month, many members of our School community will be observing Ramadan. This year, observances will no doubt be complicated due to the pandemic, however, I hope you are able to connect with your families and friends and I wish you a happy Ramadan.

Thank you again for your continued support of the School, one another and the community.

As I have done each week, I want to remind you that our leadership team can be reached by phone (519.661.2111, ext. 89258), if you have any concerns or questions.

If you or any of your colleagues do need to reach out for additional support, I want to remind you of the resources available:

Learner Experience – for medicine and dentistry students and residents
Western Student Experience – for BMSc and graduate students
Workplace Health – for staff and non-clinical faculty
Faculty Affairs – please email or call 519.661.2111, ext. 88867 – for clinical faculty


Acting Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Distinguished University Professor, Western University

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