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It's in the name: Queen's Health Sciences

A name can hold power and purpose. A sense of identity. A sense of responsibility. As we move ahead in 2022 under the new banner of Queen’s Health Sciences, I’m thinking about what that name change represents – why it was important.  

As we started developing our new Strategic Plan, Radical Collaboration for a Healthier World, something became clear. We needed a concept to bind us together – to reflect our collective strength, our connectivity, and our united mission. A new name became a signal that we were part of a greater body – that we are committed to working across disciplines, departments, and schools for the betterment of students, colleagues, health research and Canadian health systems. 

This idea of coming together couldn’t be more relevant than it is this week. We are well into another wave of COVID in the Kingston region. Tensions are heightened. Yet just as teamwork has strengthened health systems throughout the pandemic, it is teamwork, across our faculty and beyond, that will help us to make it through another phase. 

Queen's Health Sciences Mug
Photo by Brooke Ring

I recognize that we come from different schools and departments – and everyone takes special pride in their own sphere. At the end of the day, we want to recognize that we – we all – are Queen’s Health Sciences – QHS! It’s a shared way to think of ourselves – to brand ourselves – internally and externally. 

Our name and what it represents also ties into two of our new strategic priorities: interdisciplinary research and integrated health sciences education. 

We want to breakdown silos in health sciences education and take down the walls dividing us. Simply put, we need to know one another better, understand each other, and work in harmony versus at arms-length. 

We want those falling barriers to have a domino effect. Across the research we engage in. The curriculum we teach. The daily experience of our students, staff, faculty, and alumni. 

Radical collaboration isn’t a buzzword in a plan that will sit on a dusty shelf. It’s a roadmap to get us where we want to be – to establish our identity and define QHS for years and decades to come. While interdisciplinary research, education, and service are strategic priorities, my hope is that one day they will be so natural and interwoven into the fabric of Queen’s Health Sciences that they are far from radical concepts. 

On the research front, we will “leverage our unique interdisciplinary strengths to discover and share solutions to the world’s most pressing questions in the health sciences.” 

On the education front, our goal is to have 20 per cent of the curriculum in our programs be delivered in an interdisciplinary context by 2026 – an achievement that would make us unique among Canadian universities. This is about integrating existing programs that have historically been siloed. In addition to having overlapping class time and courses, there will be cross-disciplinary opportunities when our health professional students go on placements. 

We want everyone in QHS to contribute to the vision for radical collaboration – to align their work, activities, actions, and ideas. We are in this time of transformation together.  

It turns out QHS also aligned with the central university’s new branding plan for many parts of the university. However, for me our name is not an exercise in marketing; it’s a true reflection of who we are and who we will become. 

We are many parts, but we are one. Let’s be proud to call ourselves Queen’s Health Sciences. 

2021 closes with our people working harder than ever to provide care and service in the community at a time of huge health challenges. I take enormous pride in the dedication and resilience of the QHS team. We will continue to count on one another and collaborate through this difficult period. Thank you for supporting each other to overcome each hurdle. 

I hope you will find some time to enjoy family, friends, and relaxation. I wish you and yours a holiday season with joy and peace. 

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