Reflecting on the past few years and eagerly looking forward

In the life of medical school programs such as ours, September always brings good news and this is because of two main events.

The first one is the satisfaction that our recent graduating class has gone on to start residency positions which come with more responsibility, as well as a step toward their ultimate career choices.

The second one is the arrival of new students who are joining us from various and diverse backgrounds. The diversity they bring to the program enriches it immensely.

It was wonderful to meet the new students during our recent Meet & Greet event. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has always been very welcoming to students and provided them with a wonderful learning environment and effective learning opportunities.

Many of you know that I have been on faculty with Schulich Medicine and with the Department of Paediatrics for more than 20 years, which predates the inception of the Windsor Program.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to see the Windsor Program flourish. The program began with 24 students and now has 38 students in each class, totaling 152 students for the four classes. This is not counting the more than 300 residents who passed through our Windsor hospitals every year.

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in the Windsor Program in many capacities. I was the Academic Director for Paediatrics, Clerkship Coordinator, Undergraduate Education Coordinator, Year Four Module Leader, Skin Coordinator, Acting Associate Dean, Global Health Representative and Assistant Dean, Faculty and Governmental Affairs.

I have learned a great deal through these opportunities, including a greater understanding when it comes to the humanity of medicine, social interaction, leadership and decision-making.

I have been supported by everyone I came in contact with during my time in administrative positions with the Windsor Program. The faculty have gone above and beyond, in many instances, wherever student education and other issues are concerned.

After four years, I have completed my term as Assistant Dean, Faculty and Governmental Affairs. During my role, I have received great support at the Windsor Program; from Anna Farias who was always looking for research opportunities we could pursue together; and Nicole Sbrocca, the Program manager. I’d like to extend a very special thanks to Gerry Cooper and his wife Sharon for their support and for the lovely party they organized at their home for me and my wife.

I would like to thank Dr. Michael J. Strong, dean; Dr. Margaret Steele, vice dean, Hospital & Interfaculty Relations; Dr. Bertha Garcia, vice dean, Education; Dr. Guido Filler, chair/chief Department of Paediatrics; Dr. Gary Tithecott, associate dean, Undergraduate Medical Education; Dr. Chris Watling associate dean, Postgraduate Medical Education; and Dr. Denise Figlewicz, vice dean, Research & Innovation.

It’s been 40 years since I completed medical school, and during the past four decades I have learned a great deal.

One should always try to encourage people who come one’s way and open doors for them. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated irrespective of their background in education or anything else. Give back to the community, and as a physician get involved in teaching. Lastly, humility comes before everything good gets added.

Many thanks to everyone who has supported me during the past many years. I will still be at the School as a fourth-year module coordinator, and faculty member within the clerkship program. I look forward to continuing to interact with all the faculty, staff and students.

Dr. Mark Awuku