Dean's message

Dr. Michael J. StrongThere is a renewed energy building at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry— it’s one that you feel when you know all the players on a team are working together to achieve the goals before them. As I begin my second term as Dean of the School, it’s this great sense of teamwork permeating at all levels of which I am most proud.

Each of the past five years has brought with it many achievements thanks to the contributions of all our faculty, staff and students. And to date, 2015 is no exception.

As you read this year’s issue of Rapport, you will learn more about our recent successes, and gain insight into some of the unique aspects of our education programs. These include our case-based teaching method in the Master of Public Health program, our summer electives in undergraduate medical education, the award-winning Dental Outreach Community Service program, and the distinguished Angus D. McLachlin Professorship.

The past three years have seen a tremendous investment in our School’s faculty complement, designed to fulfill the aspirations of our strategic plan. In this edition of Rapport, you will have an opportunity to meet some of these exceptional new faculty members.

Drs. Sam Asfaha and Christopher McIntyre, along with their peers Drs. Arlene MacDougall and Sandrine deRibaupierre, are undertaking fascinating work across the spectrum of medicine and represent a new breed of clinician-researcher.

This year, we will welcome Marlys Koschinsky, PhD, as the new Scientific and Executive Director for the Robarts Research Institute. Marlys brings with her not only a reputation as one of North America’s leading researchers in cardiovascular disease, but also a wealth of leadership experience.

We welcomed a number of new scientists to Robarts in the past 24 months, further solidifying its position as one of Canada’s preeminent research centres. In this issue of the magazine, you will have an opportunity to meet Dr. Julio Martinez-Trujillo, a neurophysiologist and the Provincial Endowed Academic Chair in Autism, and Andrew Pruszynski, PhD, whose research as a CRC Tier II scientist is focused on neural mechanisms underlying sensory perception and motor control.

This past year has also seen the renewal of the Centre for Education Research & Innovation as a University centre which, under the leadership of Professor Lorelei Lingard and Dr. Mark Goldszmidt, has become internationally recognized as a centre of education scholarship.

The newest recruitment to the centre, Saad Chahine, PhD, brings expertise in the study of new assessment standards locally, and how to improve the science of workplace-based assessment globally. Saad’s work is already finding tremendous applicability across a broad range of research programs at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry.

As we continue to focus on achieving our vision to become a global leader in optimizing lifelong health, we are also taking time to celebrate our extraordinary achievements, our rich history, and the people who continue to contribute to our mission.

As 2014 came to a close, we celebrated a $26.3-million investment by the Government of Canada to host and establish the Canadian Arrhythmia Network as a Networks of Centres of Excellence. Dr. Anthony Tang will serve as the Network’s Scientific Director and CEO.

We also publicly unveiled our plans for the Imaging Pathogens for Knowledge Translation (ImPaKT) Facility. Led by Eric Arts, PhD, it is unique in Canada, and will combine sophisticated imaging technology with a world-class biocontainment facility.

We welcomed 2015 with a kick off to the 50th anniversary of Dentistry. A year-long celebration has been underway, as we recognize the people who have contributed to Dentistry’s success during the past five decades.

True to our nature, we are taking this opportunity to develop a 10-year strategic plan that will position Dentistry as one of the top 10 preeminent dental schools in North America. It’s an ambitious goal, however, with full support from Western University’s senior leadership and plans to update several operational processes, develop a new simulation lab, and focus on our strengths—it is achievable.

At Homecoming this year, we will celebrate our 2015 Alumni of Distinction Awards recipients. Joining the ranks of their esteemed colleagues and past recipients are: Bessie Borwein, PhD’73; Fred Possmayer, PhD’65; and Drs. Jill Bashutski, DDS’05; George Kim, MD’03; Len Chumak, DDS, MClD’85; and William Wall, MD’70.

No issue of Rapport would be complete without stories about our students and alumni— all who live the values of our School and strengthen our pride in its mission.

This year, our student feature explores the value of artistic expression and the important role it plays in the lives of our learners.

Dr. Abdel-Rahman Lawendy, MD’03, PhD’14, is our cover story; he serves as a tremendous example of the more than 14,000 alumni around the world who are taking clinical and research innovation to the next level, and who continue to contribute back to the global community.

I am looking forward to the next six years as Dean of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, and the extraordinary achievements the team at the School will accomplish. I hope you will stay in touch with us through Rapport Magazine and our many online and print publications—there’s no doubt you will feel proud of your alma mater.

Dr. Michael J. Strong
Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Interim Director, Robarts Research Institute