2023 highlights: Faculty of Medicine thrives in research, education innovation

Faculty of Medicine
Research and Innovation
Research and innovation
Faculty of Medicine
A collage of 8 photos highlighting the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine for 2023 including students in the anatomy lab, a rendering of the new research building being planned, someone in protective gear in a biomanufacturing lab, students outside, a group shot of the first pharmD cohort, the prime minister touring the simulation lab, the health humanities charter signing and a brain-heart illustration.
Amid uOttawa’s 175th anniversary celebrations, 2023 provided an opportunity to reflect on our university’s rich history of change and innovation. Based on solid foundations, the Faculty of Medicine also celebrated many major accomplishments in 2023 that open the next chapter in innovation.

From the upcoming Advanced Medical Research Centre to the Brain-Heart Interconnectome program, as well as the launch of a new undergraduate Doctor of Pharmacy program offered in French for the first time outside Quebec, the Faculty of Medicine achieved remarkable progress in 2023.

Our continued excellence is the result of the work of faculty, support staff and learners, who have worked tirelessly to increase our global leadership in a constantly evolving environment. And people are taking notice. Maclean’s magazine has placed uOttawa among the top five Medical-Doctoral universities in Canada in their latest ranking.

Booming research with record-breaking funding

2023 was marked by multiple major grants in research.

A collaboration between the University of Ottawa and McMaster University has resulted in a major grant for the creation of the Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H), which will ensure Canada is better prepared to protect the health of our communities in the event of another pandemic.

After many years of building strength in the fields of heart and brain health, the University of Ottawa and its partners received the largest grant in its history to launch the Brain-Heart Interconnectome, a multidisciplinary network composed of high-caliber researchers, patients and other dedicated collaborators, with the goal of transforming heart and brain health outcomes forever.

It’s worldclass projects like these that prompted the University of Ottawa to commit the largest investment in its 175-year history to the creation of the new Advanced Medical Research Centre, which will foster interdisciplinary innovation focused on improving human health.

Innovation in medical education and an expanded offering of programs in both official languages

The Faculty of Medicine continues to bolster its commitment to excellence in medical education with the approval of the development strategy for the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CiMED). Aimed at transforming the work that teachers and educators do, this Centre has the potential to cement the Faculty of Medicine as a true international leader in medical education.

To meet the evolving needs of our students and society, at the start of the 2023 academic year, the Faculty of Medicine presented an expanded program offering, including master's programs in public health, applied science in anatomical science teaching, education (health teaching), as well as microprograms in biomanufacturing, simulation in health education and an introduction to health teaching.

The expansion also includes a major advance in education and Francophonie with the inauguration of the new undergraduate doctor of pharmacy, offered exclusively in French. This is the first time that French speakers in Canada can study to become pharmacists in French outside Quebec. The program will increase the availability of pharmaceutical care in French-speaking minority settings, as stated by Dr. Christine Landry, director of the new PharmD program.

Indeed, uOttawa’s educational work is attracting high-level attention. In the spring, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre. One of the most active and diverse simulation centres in North America, it has seen its annual number of learners increase by 50% since 2015.

Putting humanity, social accountability and global health at the heart of our work

2023 marked an important point in our commitment to social accountability as the faculties of medicine at Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and the University of Ottawa developed and signed the Health Humanities Charter as part of a larger partnership between the two institutions. The Charter commits the two faculties and their students to the goal of enriching medical training and quality care focused on humanity and social accountability, based on respect for all dimensions of the human person: physical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual, while also taking into account societal and environmental trends.

The Faculty’s work with international partners is growing considerably in other areas as well. Earlier this year the Faculty announced the signing of a promising MOU with the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge. Meanwhile progress has been made with existing partnerships at the Institute Gustave Roussy, Khalifa University, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine. A partnership with the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) in Tanzania has also led to many beneficial exchanges, including a delegation of uOttawa students visiting in June, and two delegations from KCMUCo visiting Ottawa this fall.

First-year medical students saw real-life integration of social accountability into the program when they participated in an immersive Empathy Project workshop led by the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa. The workshop offered students a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of those facing poverty and gain firsthand insight into the challenges people encounter while striving to meet their basic needs.

CityStudio, a community-campus initiative aimed at creating more inclusive, sustainable and healthier cities, has also begun to show promising results. In Winter 2023, the project enabled a group of medical students to collaborate with the Ottawa Paramedic Service to evaluate patient and provider feedback on the Mental Wellbeing Response Team (MWRT), a pilot initiative addressing non-violent, non-criminal 9-1-1 calls related to mental health or substance use. They were integral to the evaluation, and the project was recently featured in the Globe and Mail. The initiative is also expanding, as it recently welcomed Carleton University and Algonquin College as partners. Check out all of CityStudio’s 2023 project snapshots.

Additionally, the University of Ottawa partnered with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to create a new Clinical Research Chair in Gay Men's Health. This chair has received generous support from the Department of Medicine and the community through the Ottawa Hospital Foundation. Dr. Paul MacPherson has been appointed the holder of this Research Chair and as part of his new role he will work to fill the gaps in the health system for gay men, particularly by eliminating obstacles to care.

Based on countless innovative projects like these, entering 2024 the Faculty of Medicine is poised to be a world leader in medical education and research for generations to come.

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