Forging Our Future as the New Faculty of Health Sciences

January 28, 2015 at 9:46 am

Sharon Blady, Minister of Health, brings greetings

Last week, the Faculty of Health Sciences held an exceptional event: the “Forging Our Future” inaugural symposium bringing together more than 150 faculty members, support staff, researchers and learners to build our new integrated health sciences community.

The day started off with greetings from the Hon. Sharon Blady, Minister of Health, who noted that, “The Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Rehabilitation and Dentistry all play important roles in the lives of all Manitobans.” She added that the inter-professional collaboration encouraged in the Faculty of Health Sciences is being fostered in government as well through MyHealth teams, Quick Care clinics and Community Access Centres that bring together teams of health care providers to ensure Manitobans receive high quality care.

Our keynote speaker, Dr. Louise Nasmith, associate-provost UBC Health, presented the UBC story on why and how its health disciplines are coming together. All of us in attendance noticed many similarities on why we at U of M have brought together the health colleges in our new Faculty of Health Sciences. Dr. Nasmith said the vision for UBC Health was enhanced collaboration and connectivity among health professions, increased capacity for inter-disciplinary education and research and opportunities for innovation. They too identified benefits of one strong voice to government, health authorities and community partners to improve their effectiveness.

“It’s about social accountability, meeting societal needs, integration of curriculum, sustainable health care and creating a unified voice,” she said.

UBC organized discussions around education, research and practice but ensured the patients, clients, community and population were always guiding those discussions. Over two years, they looked at attributes of –and opportunities for– integrated education, research and practice.


Keynote speaker, Dr. Louise Nasmith

Dr Nasmith pointed out that IPE is a means to achieve integrated curriculum. For example, UBC is developing an integrated ethics curriculum across nine health programs. They are looking at what is discipline specific in current curricula, what is multi-disclipinary (where students across the disciplines learn the same principles), and what is inter-professional (where students can be brought together to discuss cases and apply the concepts they are learning.) They also plan to develop integrated curricula for professionalism and communication.

As is the case with any major change, Dr. Nasmith noted some will be resistant. “If anyone raises a challenge or barrier, I will challenge them: you need to find a solution. Every challenge has a solution.”

The Forging Our Future Symposium was all about developing ideas for solutions, opportunities, collaborations to strengthen our new Faculty of Health Sciences. As a dual campus Faculty, we need to get to know one another across the colleges (not just on Bannatyne campus) and discover how we can work together on shared goals and joint projects.

The day also included four entertaining “Pitches” exploring exciting opportunities for the new faculty. In the afternoon, participants identified their respective Colleges’ strengths; and shared strengths among the colleges that will foster collaboration and propel the Faculty of Health Sciences forward. We will share those findings in the near future.
Our symposium concluded with wise words from President and Dean Emeritus Dr. Arnold Naimark about building on our successes as a university, speaking the “same language” so we understand each other, and being flexible and responding quickly to any challenges as we forge ahead. “Ours is not to predict the future but to enable it,” he stated.

Thanks to the planning committee for an outstanding and stimulating symposium: Dr. Jeff Sisler (Associate Dean, Continuing Professional Development and Chair), Doug Brothwell (Dentistry), Heather Dean (Medicine), Drena Dunford (Pharmacy), Pam Wener (Rehab Sciences), Sandy Kluka (Nursing), Vanessa Voth (Grad Student), Ilana Simon and Garrick Kozier (Communications); Cindy Lewkiw, Sandra Enns, Karyn Iversen (CPD).

What were your takeaways from the FHS Forging Our Future Symposium?