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New dean sets sights high for Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

by Karmen Dowling | December 22, 2010

Schulich Dean sets sights high
Dr. Michael Strong Dean of Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Fellow of the Royal College of Physician’s and Surgeons of Canada

Since Dr. Michael Strong began his role as dean of Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in July 2010 he has been busy laying out his vision for the road ahead. It has been an energetic six months in which Strong has met with faculty, staff, students, Western colleagues, community partners and alumni to begin charting a course for the next ten to 15 years.

“Over the past decade, the School has grown immensely both in terms of research and education. We are at the tipping point now of taking our success even higher to enhance Western’s reputation nationally and internationally.”

His bold vision includes substantially increasing support for research. Strong has struck a research review task team with more than 40 faculty representatives to examine the Schulich research enterprise and its hospital research partners. Initial findings are expected in early 2011 and will set the stage for a vastly expanded support system for Schulich scientists and a more thematic, interdisciplinary approach. The research plan will also include a re-invigoration of the Robarts Research Institute as a key component of the research strategy for Schulich.

Though research may be a key focus for Strong, who is one of North America’s lead ALS reserchers and a distinguished university professor, he hasn’t taken his eyes off education. “Maintaining the exceptional quality of Schulich’s professional programs in Medicine and Dentistry is a priority and expansion in both Graduate Studies and the Bachelor of Medical Sciences program is on the horizon,” says Strong. A brand new component is also in the works: a school of public health.

“We are facing an aging population that will have a tremendous impact on health care delivery and health policy. We have to begin planning for it now and preparing our students,” says Strong. “Western has the expertise to form a unique core of individuals focused on these very important questions.”

The School is anticipated to launch a Masters of Public Health program in September 2012, followed soon after by a Doctoral program. In support of the new vision, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is launching an ambitious fundraising campaign. Besides a new school of public health, highlights of the campaign include building and facility renewal; research investment; students scholarships; and additional chairs, programs and projects.

“A long-term goal is a signature building which will be a bold symbol of how medical education, research and community health come together to promote and deliver the health care of the future,” explains Strong. The building will support dynamic, thematic-based research groups and provide a focal point for engaging the southwestern Ontario community. The campaign plan also includes new endowed chairs, translational research projects and extensive support for graduate and undergraduate students.

“I’ve been amazed at the energy, enthusiasm and willingness of our faculty members to take on these challenges and be excited about what lies ahead,” says Strong. “I know that passion can only spread to our alumni and partners.”


This article appeared in the Winter 2010 edition of Impact Western
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