The Time is Now

Photograph of Dr. John YooThese are the opening words of Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s new five-year strategic plan. The plan charts an aspirational future for the School – one in which we will realize our full potential in order to raise the bar for health, and lead at home and abroad.

This strategic plan is the culmination of activities that began more than a year ago. I was particularly encouraged by the strength of participation even in the face of constraints arising from the pandemic. I want to express my appreciation to Dr. Chris Watling, Acting Vice Dean, Education and Scholarship, who expertly led the strategic planning process. The entire School is grateful for his leadership.

We conducted 50 focus groups, surveyed more than 500 individuals, and interviewed nearly 400 faculty, staff, learners, alumni, donors, and national thought leaders. Additionally, we used this opportunity to undertake a reputation research project that engaged education and research leaders across North America and alumni worldwide. People generously shared their views about our vision, mission, and values; candid assessments on enablers and barriers; imperatives for the School to address; and imagined a collective desired future and a tangible plan on how to get there. These insights were discussed and debated by our Strategic Planning Committee, which included faculty, staff, and learners from across our School.

Throughout the development of the plan, we thought about our ultimate role to improve human health, in particular our responsibility within our region of Southwestern Ontario, and connecting it all to lead in health globally. In order to embrace our ambitious mandate, we must strive for excellence.

Anchored by our values of Belonging, Excellence and Accountability, the five strategic priorities form the foundation of our plan for the future: Educational Excellence; Research Impact; Social Accountability; People and Partnerships. Each has a list of goals that we aim to achieve in the next five years.

We aim to distinguish ourselves through innovative and forward-thinking curriculum design, through a strong commitment to research, and scholarship in education. And as a leader in a number of research areas in Canada and around the world, the School has aspirations of a more prominent national and global research footprint. Significant investment in our people and infrastructure will take us there.

For us, equity, diversity, inclusion and de-colonization (EDID) directly contribute to the health and well-being of our community, and we know that our commitment to social accountability begins with a more inclusive School. We have established a new Office of EDID. Upholding our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is among our highest priorities. We will continue our work to create a School environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can thrive here. Our collective responsibility will address the pressing health needs of society.

At the heart of our School are the people who learn here and share their talents as faculty and staff members. Our plan details goals, which focus on enhancing professional development, investing in leadership, strengthening mentorship and wellness programs and valuing the varied contributions made by our faculty and staff.

Partnership is critical to realizing our plan. As a School, we are privileged to enjoy such important partnerships, within the University and across the region, country and around the world. Nurturing these partnerships and deepening the relationships is crucial to our success and impact.

Our plan is a roadmap to where we see our future self, guided by our declared values of Belonging, Excellence and Accountability. We will use it to communicate our vision and ambitions, establish priorities, guide actions, secure necessary resources, and ultimately realize our goals. The time is now to be bold and to aim high – to lead in health…with our region for the world.

As you read through the 2021 issue of Rapport Magazine, you will meet many people who are dedicated to the School’s mission and vision, who are dreaming with us as collectively committing to a more inclusive, innovative and influential School.

Read more about the strategic plan or watch our video at