Year End Message from the Dean

As we approach year end what should I say about the year 2020? We accomplished an incredible amount despite COVID-19 and in some cases because of it.

Ho, ho, ho….

As we approach year end what should I say about the year 2020?

We accomplished an incredible amount despite COVID-19 and in some cases because of it. I must acknowledge all the hard work of our academic staff and support staff in order to transition our services and classes online, and adjust to the rapidly changing environment, all while still providing the best possible learning experiences for our students.

Our graduate students and academic researchers have continued to forge ahead during this time publishing and disseminating important scholarly work despite the many challenges that have arisen.

All of our researchers have continued to make advances in their work and have secured funding support for important projects to come.

Students have adapted well to remote learning, and continue to serve the community through their placements in various practice settings.

We graduated two new classes of PharmDs in the Spring and Fall of 2020 including eight graduate students with Masters and PhDs.

We have successfully completed our interim accreditation process. We have also retained our Faculty status and survived further budget disinvestments and restructuring.

Further congrats on the Faculty side to:

  • Dr. Charrois, Dr. Hall, and Dr. Breault for winning CSHP Alberta Branch Awards
  • Dr. Siraki and Dr. Ussher on their promotions and our librarian Janice Kung receiving tenure
  • Drs. Necyk and Charrois on receiving their doctorates, and to Tara Leslie on receiving her Masters of Education
  • Dr. Sadowski for being awarded her Certified Health Executive designation
  • Dr. Mahmoud for being named a Fellow of the Neurocritical Care Society
  • Dr. Ogbogu for being named a Fellow of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation
  • Dr. Brocks for receiving a Great Supervisor Award from FGSR
  • Dr. Loebenberg, Dr. Brocks, Dr. Jamali, and Dr. Lavasanifar for being in the top 2% of biomedical scientists in the world in their discipline according to a recent Stanford study
  • Dr. Ussher on being named Canada Research Chair in Pharmacotherapy of Energy Metabolism in Obesity
  • Associate Professor Marlene Gukert on her retirement
  • All of the Faculty who received other awards and grants throughout the year. The list is longer than Santa’s

And Congrats on the student side to:

  • Dr. Trina Gartke (PharmD 2020) for receiving the Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) Gold Medal, and the Premier’s Silver Medal Page 2
  • Dr. Jessica Buhler (PharmD 2020) and Scott Dyer (PharmD 2021) on receiving ACP Past President Awards. Scott was also awarded a Centennial Leadership Award from The Canadian Pharmacists’ Association
  • Graduate students Sams Sadat and Daniela Amaral Silva on receiving CIHR Canada Awards
  • Keeley Watt (PharmD 2022) for being named an Academic All-Canadian for a second year
  • Ahmed Darwesh on being awarded the prestigious Issak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship from the University of Alberta
  • Dr. Dillon Lee (PharmD 2020) on being awarded the National Hospital Pharmacy Student Award
  • All of the other students who received scholarships and awards throughout the year

These are just some of the highlights from this year and there are many others that you can read about on our revamped website or in the next issue of The Mortar & Pestle coming your way soon.

Our Advancement team is on track to meet our fundraising targets for this fiscal year despite many challenges related to COVID-19. Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation has played a significant role in this success, bringing in many pharmaceutical research contracts this year and providing student placement opportunities.

Importantly, two new student awards have been established, one from Rexall to support Black and Indigenous students, and another award from the Class of 1985. These will be given out starting next school year, along with another class award that's also in the works. So stay tuned…

In 2020, there has been a renewed focus on reconnecting with our alumni through regular updates with the alumni e-newsletter, The Mortar & Pestle magazine, webinars, and the reestablished Pharmacy Alumni Association. Speaking of alumni, former faculty member Professor Sheila Kelcher deservedly received this year's Outstanding Alumni Award. It was a spectacular achievement to see our very own Dr. John McNeill from the Class of 1960 receive the Order of Canada, and also to see alumna Margaret Wing from the Class of 1985 receive an Alumni Honour Award from the University of Alberta along with numerous other alumni successes over the past year. Very inspiring indeed!

We're looking forward to the virtual White Coat Ceremony that will take place in January to officially Welcome the Class of 2024 to the profession. Stay tuned for more info on that too!

Above all, this year has reminded us to appreciate everything we have. May the peace and joy of the season renew our spirits and well being.


Dr. Neal Davies, BSc(Pharm), Ph.D., R.Ph.

Dean and Professor