In Memoriam: Dr. Richard Fedorak, Dean, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

It is with a deep sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. Richard Fedorak, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. On behalf of…

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It is with a deep sadness that I announce the passing of Dr. Richard Fedorak, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. On behalf of President David Turpin and the entire University of Alberta community, I extend my sincere condolences and support to Richard's family and loved ones - especially his wife, Karen, and their children, Kristin and Bryan.

As President Turpin said to me this morning, "both the university and the broader health sciences community have lost an exceptional academic and a bold, thoughtful, and values-based leader." A proud alumnus, Richard was an integral member of the University of Alberta academy for more than 30 years. During that time he served the University of Alberta as a clinical investigator, as professor and director in the Division of Gastroenterology, as associate vice-president (research), and as dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry from early 2015, first as interim and then with a full appointment. He was also a member of the medical staff at both the University of Alberta Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute, and a consulting physician at the Stollery Children's Health Centre of Northern Alberta and the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

Richard led the development of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry's ambitious five-year strategic plan in 2016 - and then worked with the faculty to complete most of their objectives within 24 months. Characteristic of his leadership, the plan took a strong focus on people: Richard was an ardent supporter and champion of his exceptional community of faculty, students, alumni and staff. He could envision and then follow through on a wide range of programs, opportunities, and partnerships. He was committed to innovation in the U of A's health sciences curriculum, resulting in a more inclusive and culturally-competent approach, and was instrumental in fostering international partnerships for medical education and training.

Richard also strongly believed the faculty has the capacity to play a central role in the development of a more innovative culture in Alberta. He was director of the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre, co-founder of Metabolomic Technologies Inc., part of the steering committee for the City of Edmonton's Health City initiative and a driver behind the launch of the University of Alberta Health Accelerator program in partnership with TEC Edmonton.

During his tenure, Richard was instrumental in helping the University of Alberta secure several major gifts, including a $54.5 million gift to the Women and Children's Health Research Institute―the largest gift in the university's history - and most recently, a $7-million commitment to recruit and establish the new Dianne and Irving Kipnes Chair in Lymphatic Disorders.

In addition to his administrative leadership and entrepreneurship, Richard was an internationally respected scholar. The recipient of numerous awards, research fellowships and grants, he was a recognised expert in inflammatory bowel disease. As dean, he maintained an active basic gastrointestinal research laboratory in the area of mucosal immunology, inflammation, and membrane function and structure. He led a large gastrointestinal disease clinical research group, and served on multiple national and international scientific advisory boards and organizations. During his career he published more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, and secured two patents on colonic-specific drug delivery.

In recognition of his many academic contributions, in 2017, Richard was appointed a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh. He was a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and the Royal Society of Canada.

I am grateful for Dennis Kunimoto's leadership in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry during Richard's medical leave. He has agreed to continue in his current role as acting dean while we determine next steps.

The University of Alberta and Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry will hold a celebration of Richard's life and contributions in the coming weeks. We will share details as they are finalized.

In sympathy,

Steven Dew
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)