Dear DFM members,
What a year it has been! It is staggering to think of the many challenges, changes and triumphs we have experienced together. Many of these are captured in the Annual Report for the 2019-20 academic year. If you have not done so already, I invite you to peruse the report, which features many highlights and stories from across the DFM. I am so proud of this department and the talented, resourceful and resilient people behind it. We have adapted to new ways of teaching, learning, collaborating and communicating, and while we eagerly anticipate a return to normalcy in many ways, I am confident that we are ending this year as a stronger team overall.
Thank you to our learners, who have demonstrated remarkable flexibility, patience and creativity over the past year. The many disruptions to your education and daily lives are no doubt burdensome and challenging. This is clearly not what you imagined when you began your family medicine residency. Our goal is to support you as best as we can to launch your exciting and rewarding careers in family medicine. I hope it is clear how much we value your participation, input and feedback. Your ideas over the past year have led to significant transformations that will enhance our program for current residents and cohorts to come. Your brilliance and optimism are inspiring and I am grateful for the opportunity to watch you all shape the future of family medicine.
To our faculty members, thank you for your tireless efforts to advance family medicine education, research and advocacy, and for meeting new challenges this year with grace and imagination. I was thrilled to be officially announced as the permanent Chair this year, and welcome 31 new faculty members to our department. Many of our colleagues were recognized for their achievements, including Dr. Jason Leclair (with the PARO Excellence in Teaching Award), Dr. Lyne Pitre (with the Order of Ontario) and Dr. Claire Kendall (with the CAHR-CANFR Excellence in Research Award). Similarly, we saw 16 members promoted in their academic rank. We established the New Innovator Award to support excellence and innovation in family medicine research, and announced its five inaugural recipients. The DFM Academic and Leadership Support Fund also supported five faculty members to pursue a range of professional development activities. It was wonderful to be able to connect with so many of you over the past several months to hear your ideas and visions for our department. I am moved by your dedication and enthusiasm, and it is a privilege to work alongside you as family doctors, medical educators and family medicine researchers.
Finally, to our administrative personnel, it is by no accident that our department was able to respond, adapt and operate so smoothly this past year. We are incredibly fortunate to have a dedicated team of administrators working behind the scenes to put ideas into action and advance our department. Thank you so much to all of our unit coordinators and the entire team that is normally based out of 600 Peter Morand. I am grateful for the months I was able to work in the DFM offices and experience the comradery of this cohesive group for myself, and can appreciate what has been lost for you in the transition to working from home. In addition to the disruptions from the pandemic, many of you eagerly took on new roles to adjust to the department’s shifting needs and quickly learned entirely new skills. This did not go unnoticed, and is a sign of your resourcefulness and commitment to our team. In his first full year as Director of Strategic Planning and Financial Services, Jeff Puncher launched a series of DFM Innovation Projects working in collaboration with our faculty members, learners and a team of software engineering students at the University of Ottawa. These exciting projects aim to digitally transform our teaching and learning resources to enhance our programs’ flexibility and agility.
The Departmental Assembly earlier this month was a wonderful way to acknowledge our accomplishments in 2020 while building excitement for what is to come. Thank you to everyone who has shared their thoughts, challenges and ideas for our department as we prepare to develop a new Strategic Plan to focus our efforts and energy over the next five years. Now, we are looking for members to join our Strategic Planning Working Group. This critical group will work together to interpret the information we have collected, clarify themes and guide the creation of the plan. The Working Group is scheduled to meet on January 11 and 19, 2021 at 6 pm. If you have an interest in analysis, strategy, and the development of an important and comprehensive plan to guide the Department of Family Medicine, we welcome your participation and expertise.
Thank you for a wonderful year in family medicine at the University of Ottawa. I hope you are all able to rest, relax and recharge over the holidays. As always, do not hesitate to contact me anytime with your questions and ideas.
See you in 2021!