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Message from the Department Head

Dr. Richard Leigh

Dr. Richard Leigh, Zone Clinical & Academic Department Head

As 2019 draws to a close, we can look back on a number of success stories and accomplishments in the Department over this past year. Many of these were highlighted in the recently published Department of Medicine 2019 Annual Report (available online here), and I’d urge all of you to browse through the report to learn of the many achievements and initiatives within the Department during this time. Despite an increase in clinical workload across all the Divisions, we continue to provide exemplary clinical care to the ~15,000 inpatients and over 44,000 outpatients seen in the Department of Medicine. Department members receive letters of commendation from grateful patients and families on a regular basis.
In addition to the outstanding clinical care we provide, we can be incredibly proud of the excellent core Internal Medicine Residency Program within the Department of Medicine, which continues to graduate exceptional young physicians who are a great credit to the Department. As a Department, we should also recognize the excellent sub-specialty residency training programs in all 10 Divisions and the several Canada-leading Advanced Fellowship training programs, such as Therapeutic Endoscopy and Interventional Pulmonary Medicine. It is also a source of great pride to see so many members of the Department contributing to the medical school teaching curriculum and to the various continuing medical education programs. Learner evaluations of our Departmental faculty teachers are invariably outstanding.
As a Department, we secured $6.88 million in CIHR revenue (a 23% increase in CIHR funding over a 3-year period) and published over 800 refereed-papers in 2018-2019. Indeed, one of the achievements that I am most proud of in this past year has been the number of junior faculty members who have obtained CIHR and other tri-council funding within the last 12 months. Their success, in what is a tough national funding environment, is something we should all celebrate. The academic future of the Department of Medicine is strong!
In the New Year, I will be transitioning into a new role as Senior Associate Dean –Faculty Affairs within the Cumming School of Medicine, effective January 1, 2020. Drs. Jeff Schaefer (AHS -clinical) and Kelly Zarnke (University -academic) will serve as interim Department Heads while a formal search and selection process occurs in the first half of 2020 to identify my permanent successor. It has been an incredible privilege and honour to serve as your Department Head over these past 4 years and, as I reflect back on previous messages in earlier newsletters, I am reminded that we’ve championed the virtues of integrity, citizenship and professionalism within the Department. We will continue to excel if we adhere to these principles -‘Better People Make Better Doctors’.
In closing, I want to thank every one of you for the incredible work you do every day and I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Holiday Season with family and friends. May 2020 be a year of health, personal happiness, and professional success!