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Western University Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Investing in the future of health care

Q&A with Dr. Michael Strong, Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

December 15, 2015

Investing in the future of health care
Dr. Michael Strong, Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Q: What is the vision for the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry?

A: We are striving to make Schulich Medicine & Dentistry one of the top medical and dental schools in North America and the go-to institute for medical and dental education and research. To get there, we’re focused on a number of areas, including recruiting the best faculty to drive us toward excellence; investing in the necessary infrastructure for these groups to succeed; supporting and developing our undergraduate and graduate programs; building an administrative cluster to support the School’s work; and ensuring we’re working closely with our health care partners. To achieve our goal of being one of the lead institutions in North America, each one of these has to be firing on all cylinders.

Q: What are some of the School’s recent accomplishments?

A: My first term as Dean was really about laying those foundations. Now I’m focused on moving forward and implementing what we put into place. In the past three years, we have completed one of the most aggressive recruitment periods in the history of our School, bringing in 36 new recruitments, including researchers like Dr. Eric Arts and his microbiology and immunology team, Dr. Marlys L. Koschinsky, the new Scientific and Executive Director for Robarts Research Institute, and many other scientists and clinicians who are leaders in their respective areas. These critical recruitments are an important investment and key to a fundamental redevelopment of the School. We are also focused on redeveloping our dentistry program with the aim to make it one of the top 10 programs in North America within the next 10 years. We are well along in an intensive strategic planning process and will be making strategic investments in information technologies, equipment and faculty in Schulich Dentistry. We have begun the process to recruit a new Vice-Dean of Dentistry to help guide this ambitious goal and bring us to the forefront of dental education, research and patient care.

Q: How have donations received from donors benefitted students, faculty and scientists at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?

A: We truly can’t do what we do without donors. Whether it’s funding for students that allows us to attract the brightest minds, donations to specific research projects or chairs, or undesignated donations that allow us to address our current needs effectively, we rely on our donors to succeed in all that we do. Currently, the funding milieu is challenging and will be for the foreseeable future. I’m not sure if our donors realize how absolutely dependent we are on them to achieve our goals. Right now, we need them more than ever.

Q: What are some of the School’s fundraising priorities as part of the Be Extraordinary campaign?

A: To be one of the top medical and dental schools in North America, the School is aiming to raise $145 million as part of the Western campaign. To reach that goal, we need financial support of all shapes and sizes. There are a number of specific priority areas, including student awards, scholarships and bursaries; endowed chairs in the fields of cardiology, vascular surgery and anesthesia; molecular brain research; and lab and room renovations. There are also undesignated funds that donors can choose to support, such as the Schulich and Robarts Funds, which are used to finance other critical needs of the School as needed. There are many ways to support a wide range of work being done at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, depending on the donor’s interest and the level at which they are able to support.

Q: Why should people support the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry?

A: It is a time of enormous opportunity for Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. Not only are we educating the future providers of health care, we’re also providing the cutting-edge research that will translate into better health care, which is something that will affect us – and our children – now and in the future. Medical training and research can be expensive, but it’s vital and we can’t be successful if we don’t have the resources. If we have the right people with the right equipment asking the right questions, we can achieve our goal of becoming a global leader in optimizing life-long health.

This article appeared in the Fall 2015 edition of Impact Western
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