Dean's Corner

January to March 2019

Welcome to the first quarterly report of 2019. The first three months of the year have been full of meaningful engagement and activities with our whole School community. We have welcomed new staff who have joined us, reviewed the applications of those interested in studying with us, and invested time discussing our strategic priorities.

Thank you for checking in on the work we are doing. Together, we are building a strong School focused on promoting and protecting the health of people.

Appointments

I am pleased to welcome two administrative staff to the School. Hannah Hamilton recently joined the Office of Educational Programs as graduate programs advisor. A large part of her role is to support our MPH students. Katrina Whiteman began in February as communications coordinator in the Injury Prevention Centre where, among other responsibilities, she provides support for provincial awareness campaigns.

Academic Programs

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) electronic admission portal closed on January 31. Once again, we have seen very strong interest in our programs. I think this speaks to the caliber of our programs, as well as our faculty and staff. The review team, which includes faculty and staff, has worked diligently to consider the applications. Of the 900 applications (587 MPH, 197 MSc and 116 PhD), we have offered places to 132 individuals.

We look forward to having the new students join our School community this fall.

Academic Events

This is Public Health™ Lecture

In March 2019, we hosted the eighth installment of our signature lecture series, This is Public Health™. Assistant Professor Roman Pabayo gave a thought provoking lecture entitled How [income / race / where you live] affects your health. In case you missed the event, I invite you to view the lecture online and visit the Flickr album to see the photos.



Equity, diversity and inclusivity

The University of Alberta has a long history of work in support of equity, diversity and inclusivity (EDI). Our institution’s new Strategic Plan for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity aims to embed EDI into the culture of the University of Alberta community, from the grassroots to the senior-most levels.

Our academic mission is enriched by embracing diversity—including diverse perspectives and approaches to our common challenges. In our School, we believe it is important that all members of our community—staff, postdoctoral fellows, students and faculty—feel valued and that their strengths are recognized.

We are striving to create a culture of diversity and inclusion. One of the ways in which we are working towards such a community is to provide learning opportunities on related topics. For instance, in February, the School’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Group hosted a workshop on Gender and sexual diversity and inclusion. In this workshop led by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, participants explored strategies for creating inclusive and safe environments for LGBTQ+ people. In keeping with the spirit of diversity and inclusion, members of our School community recently participated in the University of Alberta’s Pride Parade, organized by the Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Services. I invite you to view photos in our Flickr album.

Indigenous and northern health

We continue our work in the area of Indigenous and northern health. In March, I was proud to be part of the delegation from our School to Yellowknife as part of northern and Indigenous engagement. The meetings were ably led and coordinated by Stephanie Montesanti and Susan Chatwood. It was wonderful to see the work we are doing with partners, such as the Institute of Circumpolar Health Research, and communities in enhancing access to our education programs, as well as advancing public health research and practice in, with and from the north. We have built a solid foundation upon which to address complex public health issues in a good way. (See the Flickr album.)

Strategic Planning

We are deep into our strategic planning process. The Strategic Planning Facilitation Team met four times during the first quarter of 2019. February and March was an intensive period of gathering input from our various groups both internal and external to the School through surveys and consultation meetings. I am very encouraged by the engagement in this process; the members of our School community and beyond have provided a great deal of input—almost 300 touch points through responses to two survey and discussion in 11 consultation meetings.

Our Strategic Planning Facilitation Team is taking time to consider all of this feedback. This phase is critical to ensuring coordination of all aspects of our work related research, education and service.

Accolades

I continue to be in awe of the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. Once again this quarter, we celebrate several individuals who have been recognized for their contributions to the School and, more broadly, to advancing public health.

Alumna Hannah Mercader (MPH '17) has been recognized as a Top 30 Under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation for her work as research coordinator with Mama na Mtoto, where she supports maternal, newborn and child health projects in Tanzania and Uganda.The Faculty of Graduate Students and Research recently presented student Kelsey Robertson with a Graduate Student Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding graduate teaching assistants. The United Nations Women Global Innovation Coalition For Change recognized alumna Suzanne Tough (PhD '96), the School’s first PhD graduate. The Coalition focuses on developing the innovation market to work better for women and to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. I am also pleased to congratulate Deena Hinshaw (MPH '08), who was recently appointed Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

These are just four examples of the outstanding work done by those who are part of our School community. Here is a full list of awards, scholarships and other accolades.

Our connections with collaborators, partners, alumni and the broader community are critically important if we are to address public health challenges locally and globally. We will accomplish so much more when we work together. Thank you for continuing to connect with us.

Shanthi Johnson, Professor and Dean

SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA