New Leader. Fresh Perspective.

As the School’s new Chief Administrative Officer, Rachel Halaney guides operations and strategy to ensure the School delivers on its health education and research goals. With 10-plus years in postsecondary leadership, she’s expertly fashioning the right mix of people, resources, policies and plans to widen the School’s impact on a national and global stage.

Rachel Halaney sitting on the floor surrounded by colourful fabrics
Rachel Halaney, Chief Administrative Officer

What is something you’re good at that would surprise other people?

I’m an avid seamstress and quilter. I’ve been involved in these crafts since I was a child, completing my first embroidery project at age four and my first quilt at age eight. Some of my earliest memories involve rummaging through my mother’s fabric scraps to find the perfect piece for sewing doll clothing. It’s a creative outlet that brings me joy and allows me to express my artistic side.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Authenticity. I strive to be absolutely true to myself and to engage others with honesty and openness. I believe genuine connections are built when people feel they can be their most authentic self.

Any items on your bucket list you want to share?

I’ve always dreamed of seeing the Egyptian pyramids. The history and grandeur of these ancient structures fascinate me, and I hope to have the opportunity to experience them firsthand. I had childhood ambitions to be a paleontologist and hope to excavate a real fossil someday.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role as CAO at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

Our exceptional faculty, staff, and learners provide health care for millions, drive discoveries into action, and amplify research through global partnerships. As CAO, my aim is to fortify our potential, enabling impactful contributions from all members of our community by strengthening local and international engagement, and empowering positive change led by strong, interdisciplinary teams.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Growing up in the Southern United States, my idea of perfect happiness is spending a summer night with good friends under the stars in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The vastness of the night sky and the tranquility of the desert create a sense of contentment and peace that are hard to surpass.

Can you share with us your greatest fear?

Being unable to help a family member or friend who is in need.

If you were to die, who or what would you come back as, and why?

I would want to come back as a Giant Sequoia tree – seeing the passing of thousands of years would be fascinating.

What do you value most in your friends?

Staying power – life has many seasons and very few people walk with you throughout your entire journey through it.

Apart from its people, what is Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s superpower?

Our potential for meaningful impact – individually and collectively. I was attracted to the School in 2018 to contribute to educating the next generation of health-care leaders while supporting the local health-care needs of Southwestern Ontario. We have a unique opportunity to impact the lives of more than two-million Ontarians in our region by providing the best health care and research, and training the next generation of health-care providers.