From the desk of George Kim: New year, new goals, new leadership

During the past few months, three committees, focused on leadership, operations and communications, have been very active completing a long list of projects in support of the goals identified in the Distributed Education Network Strategic Plan. The work for all three committees will be winding down in March as they turn their attention to implementation.

The Steering Committee, chaired by Dr. Bertha Garcia, is now identifying the next round of Strategic Plan goals requiring attention. In the coming weeks, a number of School leaders will be invited to participate in the next phase of Committee work.

It’s very rewarding to be moving into this next phase of our work, and even more rewarding as we maintain the planned timeline for this critical project.

With the new year comes new leadership. You will recall in December, I shared with you the names of two of the Regional Academic Directors: Dr. Robert Black, Elgin-Middlesex, and Dr. Shanil Narayan, Huron-Perth. I can now share with you the names of three additional academic directors: Drs. Michel Haddad and Susan Munro for Kent-Lambton and Dr. Liz Urbantke, Oxford.

We look forward to sharing news about the remaining positions as they are filled. We will also be rolling out a series of public announcements related to these positions during the next few weeks.

In each of my reports in the coming months, you will have an opportunity to get to know our Regional Academic Directors through a Q&A. This month, I am pleased to introduce Dr. Robert Black:

Tell us about your background.
I was born in Stratford and grew up in Southwestern Ontario with formative years spent in Woodham, Lucan and London.

Where did you receive your medical education (undergraduate and residency)?
MD’89, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry; comprehensive Surgical internship, Victoria Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC); General Surgery residency, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry; Clinical Fellowship in Community Surgery at Victoria Hospital, LHSC.

What is your specialty?
General Surgery with additional training in Plastics and Orthopedics.

What has been your past experience with distributed education at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
Adjunct Professor of Surgery since 1997; original Academic Director of Community Surgery for Southwestern Ontario Rural Medicine Unit (SWORRM); and Southwestern Ontario Medical Education Network (SWOMEN).

Why did you want to take on this new role as an academic director?
I have enjoyed my years as Academic Director of Community Surgery for Southwestern Ontario. I look forward to focusing more locally in Elgin-Middlesex across all specialties and in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

What will you do first in your new role?
I need to liaise with the preceptors in my home area, outside of General Surgery.

What do you hope to achieve in your first year?
I hope to obtain first-hand knowledge of the preceptors in my area who are keen to meet the educational needs of undergraduate and postgraduate students in our home area. I plan to establish a network of teaching excellence in our locale across all domains.

What do you believe are some of the opportunities and challenges facing distributed education for medical schools in Canada?
Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Distributed Education Network provides our students with opportunities to obtain superior medical education in a community setting, thus better preparing them for practice outside of large urban centres. It is imperative that the teaching experience remains on par or exceeds the experience in the tertiary care centres.

What can Schulich Medicine do to meet those challenges and opportunities?
Schulich Medicine & Dentistry needs to continue to provide the high level of support for faculty continuing medical education.

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
My wife and I have four children (two boys and two girls) who are actively involved in hockey and figure skating. So when I’m not at the hospital, I’m in a cold arena clutching my “Timmies”. In the summer, we enjoy the serenity and relaxed pace of life up in Parry Sound.