Radical Collaboration for a Healthier World. Two years ago, Queen’s Health Sciences chose that name for our new strategic plan. Those five words continue to define our vision, our stories, and our ambitions.
We can’t solve today’s biggest health problems alone. Teamwork is essential to leading "a revolution in the academic health sciences."
Transforming health sciences education, research, and care is not something a university faculty can do without collaboration. Internally, it requires hard work and decisive action, but it also needs committed, innovative partners—from health institutions and governments to the private sector and individual donors.
Thankfully, we are blessed on all fronts.
Last winter, we announced our partnership with the Weeneebayko Health Authority (WAHA) and Mastercard Foundation to develop a program for health professions training in the western James Bay region and support Indigenous youth pursuing careers in the health sciences.
Then, amidst widespread concern over Canada's family doctor shortage, we designed solutions. This fall, in partnership with Lakeridge Health in Durham Region, we launched a novel MD Family Medicine Program specifically designed to train family physicians. Our model has inspired interest from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia where they are launching a similar program.
In Kingston, the School of Nursing partnered with Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC) and KFL&A Public Health to open a newborn and early childhood clinic to provide well baby health care to infants who do not have a primary care provider.
Radical collaboration guides us within as we break down silos between students, programs, and labs. This is linked to our aim to have 20% of curricula delivered in an interdisciplinary context by 2026.
Collaboration is also reflected in our learning spaces. This year we opened the QHS Discovery Labs, our new experiential-learning and teaching spaces. This will allow the next generation of biomedical scientists to work collectively and conduct important research across disciplines. The Discovery Labs were made possible by funding from the provincial government and two QHS endowments—Julia F. Card Medical Research and the Dickinson Memorial Research Fund —further demonstrating the power of collective action.
In the same vein, QHS has established Research Excellence Clusters (RECs)—small groups of researchers with similar focus and objectives—to help increase funding and mentorship opportunities, and foster collaboration, integration, and research leadership.
Meanwhile, our equity, diversity, inclusion, Indigeneity, and accessibility (EDIIA) goals saw progress this year—from launching an EDIIA Action Plan to welcoming our first Associate Dean and Chair, Indigenous Health, Dr. Sarah Funnell. This groundbreaking position was made possible by a $1M donation from Dr. Nancy Tatham (Artsci'86 & Artsci'00) and her partner, Donna Henderson.
The health sciences should be a place where everyone feels welcome to learn, work, or seek care. An important reminder of why that idea is so vital was found in our September unveiling of a new plinth commemorating those impacted by a 1918 admission ban of Black students to Queen’s medical school.
By putting radical collaboration at the heart of all that we do, we hope to make it our standard. That means more community partnerships to solve pressing health problems. It means our graduates—the doctors, nurses, and rehabilitation therapists of the future—are trained to work in dynamic teams to improve patient care. It means researchers pooling expertise to make bold discoveries to benefit us all.
The stories highlighted in our year-in-review explore some of our success stories and a fraction of the engaging work conducted across this faculty every single day of the year. As 2023 draws to a close, I am so thankful for our ever-growing, dynamic community. I know the dedicated, visionary students, staff, faculty, and alumni—and our steadfast allies and partners—will continue to help us build a healthier world.
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