uOMedTalks: Quarterly summary from the Executive Leadership Team (July 2020)

Posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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Dear colleagues,

Without a doubt, 2020 has been an exceptional year thus far, to say the least. Recognizing the serious disruptions that many of us have faced, whether they be on the front lines, in our labs or in our homes, we as a faculty have nevertheless continued to lead the way. Indeed, I would say that despite the many challenges, the pandemic has brought out the best in us.

Your Executive Leadership Team (ELT) has worked hard to support the quick adaptations through which you’ve all shown such resilience. An online learning curriculum overnight, a new course-based master’s program, a first-ever virtual joint convocation between MD and graduate students, and many student initiatives helping our community, are just some examples. Our researchers have been forging an offense against the novel virus, including Alan Tinmouth’s convalescent plasma study; Marceline Côté and Patrick Giguère’s work to screen existing drugs for their effects on the virus; and Marc-André Langlois’ pursuit of therapeutic, diagnostic and preventive tools, among much other admirable work transpiring in our labs. Being the first faculty to return to research activities at uOttawa, we continue to monitor and reinstate research and academic personnel on campus in a responsible manner. In terms of business as usual (as much as possible), I welcome you to take stock below of some of the most recent quarterly highlights from your ELT’s meetings. Please continue as well to refer to the FoM’s designated webpage for COVID updates. And, very importantly, I encourage you all to take a much-needed break this summer—you deserve it!

ELT Highlights: April – June 2020

  • Town Halls: We took three opportunities to connect virtually with you this spring, bringing the Faculty together in a town hall with uOttawa’s president, Mr. Jacques Frémont, and in your choice of two town halls with myself and the ELT. This gave a chance to express our deep appreciation to our front-line workers and researchers for their valuable contributions to the fight against COVID-19, as well as to our learners and staff for their resilience in such unprecedented times. We were also able to celebrate the hard work that went into being the first faculty to implement a research reintegration plan—which has served as a gold standard for the rest of the University. Attendees made a strong showing and contributed valuable questions centring mostly on return to research activities.
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Response Program: On June 15 the Faculty launched by email a program to support new initiatives that accelerate the development, testing and implementation of medical, educational, social, and/or policy countermeasures aimed at mitigating the spread and impact of COVID-19. Initiatives are not limited to research projects, and applications were welcomed from faculty, learners, or staff, with a financial ask of between $2,000 and $50,000 to be used over one to two years. The submission deadline was Wednesday, July 15, 2020 and the program is being managed by the Research Office. 
  • FoM Awards of Excellence: In the same email of June 15, we also launched our new and improved slate of Faculty awards. These 24 awards recognize the outstanding achievements of our members, reflecting the Faculty’s five strategic priorities: Education, Research, Engagement, Francophonie, and Internationalization and Global Health. They will be granted to nominees who have earned distinction for themselves and for the University through their exceptional work in these areas. Nominate one of your colleagues, teachers, or mentors by July 31, 2020 through these competition details.
  • COVID Recognition program: To recognize our many remarkable accomplishments through this pandemic, the Faculty is additionally offering a designated recognition program, acknowledging 1) exceptional achievements in productivity/operations and 2) outstanding humanitarian efforts. As per the email call of July 22 and the story in this month’s MedPoint newsletter, nominations for both streams and for all groups (learners, faculty members and support staff), including individuals and teams, can be sent to medaward@uOttawa.ca until August 31.
  • Homecoming: In tandem with the University, the Faculty has cancelled all in-person events associated with our usual fall festivities, and we are in the midst of finalizing virtual options. Save the date for October 24 to 30, 2020, when we’ll be hosting a variety of activities in celebration of milestone class anniversaries, while participating in the Faculty's 75th anniversary celebrations. Of special note is the 75th anniversary Awards of Excellence Ceremony, which will take on a virtual format. Guests will create personal avatars and saunter through our exhibition of historic Faculty of Medicine photos, bump into friends and colleagues (in virtual form), chat and network to the tunes of a DJ, and watch the glittering awards ceremony and cheer for the winners of this year’s Awards of Excellence. Look out for updates on these important Faculty events.
  • Clinical Research Chairs: The ELT has supported funding of additional chairs specifically in recognition of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), which is a top priority for the Faculty of Medicine and an integral part of our Strategic Plan, Leading Innovation for a Healthier World.
  • Virtual Teaching: Ms. Aline Germain-Rutherford, vice-provost, academic affairs, was invited by the ELT to explore ways in which uOttawa’s Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) is helping with the challenges of the recent abrupt and widescale shift to online learning. She informed the group that TLSS has appointed a representative to each faculty to assist in this regard, and work has since been ongoing between Continuing Professional Development (CPD), MedTech and TLSS to offer resources to both teachers and students with regards to virtual coursework. 
  • Social Accountability: In line with our Strategic Plan, the Faculty has appointed an assistant dean of social accountability, Dr. Claire Kendall. Dr. Kendall shared with the ELT her vision, mandate and multi-year deliverables. An office will be set up, including support staff, to enable these plans.
  • Fundraising: The Faculty has welcomed donations for our COVID-19 Response Fund. Beyond the pandemic, the ELT and Fundraising Steering Committee gave input into draft fundraising priorities for the Faculty, and consultants are now creating case statements that will support FoM fundraising initiatives.
  • IT Strategic Plan: The Dean welcomed Martin Bernier, uOttawa’s chief information officer, and members of his team. Mr. Bernier presented the IT Strategic Plan for 2020–2023 for information and feedback.
    • Goal 1: Provide innovating and adaptive solutions to facilitate collaboration, innovation and discovery in support of learning, teaching and research.
    • Goal 2: Partner and innovate to support cutting-edge research through an integrated research infrastructure.
    • Goal 3: Modernize and streamline our administrative systems and processes to improve user experience and institutional effectiveness. 

Staying Connected…

A reminder that 2020 marks our Faculty’s 75th birthday! You can read more about the founding of the Faculty, and past and present-day achievements, via our 75th anniversary website.

The ELT always enjoys hearing from you. You can reach out to me anytime by emailing infomed@uOttawa.ca (or by calling ext. 8117).

Bernard Jasmin, PhD
Dean and Professor, Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa

Photo of Dr. Bernard Jasmin, dean of the Faculty of Medicine.


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