An enlightening Q & A with Dr. Bernard Jasmin, Interim Dean

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine and Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 sign a joint international neuromuscular research partnership.

This week marks Dr. Bernard Jasmin’s first as Interim Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Many of you already know Dr. Jasmin from the Research Office and his many other roles within the University and beyond. Now, as he takes the reins as dean, we were excited to gain insight into his strategy for meeting the objectives of an entire faculty.

Already a proven leader at the Faculty, Dr. Jasmin plans to continue his collaborative, collegial style in this new role. The self-described “rassembleur” lets us in on his priorities as dean and his intended approach to the Faculty’s continued success.

Q & A with Dr. Bernard Jasmin

Q: Congratulations on your new position of Interim Dean of the Faculty of Medicine! What excites you about stepping into the role?

A: Thank you, I am deeply honoured to be appointed as Interim Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and to have received strong support from so many members of the Faculty and University as I begin in this new role. Overall, I believe the Faculty of Medicine is in excellent shape. We have done extremely well on so many fronts in recent years, especially with the outstanding delivery of our educational programs as well as with our research activities. We should all take great pride in these accomplishments because everyone has contributed in one way or another. 

I do, however, have big shoes to fill. It is very exciting for me to be able to build on all of our recent accomplishments and keep the Faculty on its upward trajectory, amassing one success story after another in both education and research. Continuing this way can only be achieved by working collaboratively with everyone throughout the Faculty, affiliated hospitals and research institutes via constant, open and collegial interactions.  This is clearly one of our major strengths, our ability to partner and work together collaboratively to accomplish goals. I truly feel privileged to have been associated with the Faculty for many years and look forward to working with so many wonderful and driven individuals to keep us moving forward.

Q: What will your priorities be in leading the Faculty over the next year?

A: In recent years, we have benefited from an enviable financial position which allowed us to develop new educational and research programs. However, fiscal constraints have recently surfaced across the University which could affect the Faculty’s collective vision, growth and progress if we don’t plan strategically and carefully. Given these emerging constraints, better integration at multiple levels and optimization of resource allocation will be a priority. Our revenues need, more than ever, to be completely aligned with and invested in our educational and research missions.

In addition, we are preparing for the accreditation of our undergraduate medical program. This is of the utmost importance. All of us need to rally behind this and work diligently to ensure a smooth and successful accreditation. We are only months away so everyone’s dedication and support are essential and greatly appreciated.

Finally, it will be important to continue working closely and open-mindedly with everyone in the Faculty, hospitals, research institutes, and across the University of Ottawa to meet our objectives in a timely manner.

Q: Indeed, you’ve been a leader for many years already, having been co-Director of the uOttawa Centre for Neuromuscular Disease, Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Vice-Dean, Research and, most recently, Vice-President, Research, for the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC). How might your leadership style change to meet the needs of an entire Faculty?

A: I am first and foremost a team-builder, a “rassembleur”, who enjoys working closely with all of our stakeholders. This is, I believe, what best characterizes me, and this has always been my leadership style. I do not think that will change. Quite the contrary, in my view, it will be more important than ever to work together to meet our challenges over the next several months.

As many know, I am also very social and a believer in the idea that easy going/informal interactions can often serve as the catalyst to help formalize our common strategic initiatives. I intend to remain collegial, transparent, inclusive, and process-oriented, ingredients that are key in building trust, respect and fairness which, in turn, are necessary for long-term collaborative interactions and to ensure the success of our educational and research priorities across our institutions and administrative units.

Q: uOttawa is one of Canada’s most research-intensive Universities. How will you continue to grow the Faculty’s reputation in this capacity?

A: With the basic science departments, clinical departments, and affiliated hospitals and research institutes, the Faculty has developed in recent years a number of flagship programs and initiatives that have had a clear positive impact on education and research. For example, the creation of the Department of Innovation in Medical Education, the Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy, the Clinical Research Chairs program, our MD/PhD program, and our joint recruitment plan for professors/scientists with clinical departments and research institutes, represent a few examples where working together laid the foundation for these key strategic initiatives/programs and coordinated investments. Together, each of these new joint-programs/initiatives are, in fact, being increasingly recognized as innovative, allowing us to better deliver on our academic mission, and to increase our visibility and obtain greater recognition nationally and internationally.

Despite our financial challenges, the recipe for continued success remains rather simple: better integration across the broader Faculty and judicious allocation/optimization of resources. This sounds obvious, but may at times present some difficulties. With our recent demonstrated success in working together more collaboratively and efficiently than ever before, I feel the elements are already in place to allow us to reach the next level. As leaders, we are here to facilitate and support the dedicated efforts and ingenuity of all our stakeholders in developing the very best processes, initiatives and programs. I firmly believe that there has never been a better time and environment across the Faculty for such a concerted effort, and I know that our hard work will pay off, especially for our learners and members of our communities.

Q: Do you have a message of inspiration to share with us as you take the helm as Interim Dean of the Faculty?

A: We should pause for a moment and reflect on our collective achievements over the past decade. We should all have a tremendous sense of pride in what we have accomplished. And the future is exciting! Together, we are on such a solid foundation, and now have the opportunity to build upon this success. I am looking forward to working with everyone so that we can continue to make significant advances in education and research.


Main photo : L-R: Dr. Bernard Jasmin, Interim Dean at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine; Brigitte Proucelle, Cultural and Scientific counsellor, French embassy; University of Ottawa President Jacques Frémont; Mona Nemer, former Vice-President, Research at the University of Ottawa; Professor Frédéric Fleury, president of Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and vice-president of the Université de Lyon; Kareen Rispal, French ambassador to Canada; and Professor Laurent Schaeffer of the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, following the launch of a joint international neuromuscular research partnership.
Max Sedmihradsky and Dr. Bernard Jasmin at Roger Guindon Hall.

Dr. Jasmin helps Max Sedmihradsky into his lab coat during a stop by Max’s Big Ride at Roger Guindon Hall last month. Photo: Metroland Media


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