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Forging the Future

Pitching the case for faculty integration

January 23, 2015 — 

The newly established Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) hosted its very own version of “Dragon’s Den” yesterday at the Bannatyne campus as part of the Forging our Future inaugural symposium.

The symposium brought together faculty, staff and students from across the Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences in the FHS with an eye to develop a stronger sense of community and demonstrate how the new faculty will foster creativity and collaboration.

Keynote speaker Dr. Louise Nasmith, associate-provost health, at the University of British Columbia shared the experiences UBC went through when they started a similar process of integrating their own health programs three years ago.

Nasmith spoke about the challenges faculties can face when they become isolated, noting that UBC had 15 health programs spread across the campus.


Dr. Louise Nasmith delivers the keynote address at the Forging our Future inaugural symposium.

“You can end up with a lot of silos that end up doing their own thing,” she said.

Nasmith stressed the need to establish a vision, goals and principles to guide medical colleges through the integration process. She also noted how important it is to focus on the positive aspects of collaboration between the health professions.

“This is about increasing cooperation, collaboration and integration. Integration is the result of the first two,” Nasmith said. “We have fertile ground to build on with our colleges. When you get an interdisciplinary group around the table and the ideas start flying, it’s magical. Bringing a lot of different perspectives to the table really does allow us to innovate.”

Nasmith’s speech was followed by “The Pitch”, an entertaining and educational contest (similar to “Dragon’s Den”) consisting of four mixed-college teams presenting ideas for exciting and emerging opportunities in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Judging the pitches was an all-star panel consisting of recent mayoral candidate and Program  Director of Aboriginal Focus Programs at Extended Ed, U of M Robert Falcon-Oulette; Jeanette Edwards, Regional Director of Primary Health Care and Chronic Disease, WRHA; and Dr. Nasmith.

Pitch ideas ranged from a new collaborative board game called Cards Advancing Humanity, to an initiative that involved creation of a practice lab and rural and northern learning opportunities that capitalized on power words from the University of Manitoba’s Trailblazer campaign to a reminder that we must look at our past, present and future.

In the end, the winning group brought forward an idea for a “new” app called FHSbook that would give health professionals from across the FHS the opportunity to call, consult and collaborate with one another.


Dr. Jeff Sisler, Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, and MC for Forging our Future.

The afternoon session saw faculty and staff from the colleges breaking into groups to identify strengths of their respective colleges, strengths colleges share and      discuss further opportunities for collaboration between the colleges.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Arnold Naimark, President & Dean Emeritus; Director, Centre for the Advancement of Medicine and supporter of the day’s events, spoke    about the significance of the symposium in bringing all of the Colleges together as the new FHS launches and also stressed the importance of collaboration.

Ed Giesbrecht (Rehabilitation Sciences) and Mary Bertone (Dental Hygiene) make their pitch to the judges.

“I think this university has a great opportunity to build on our successes,” he said. “We need to talk to each other and make sure that we all think  about the same things in the same way and understand what we’re saying to each other. Ours is not to predict the future but to enable it.”

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One comment on “Forging the Future

  1. J.A.Paterson

    Congrats to the teams and the organizers for a very productive event. The afternoon break-out groups wrote their suggestions for strengths to be shared in future, and these written notes were to be transcribed into a file for future use. Perhaps this file could be put online.

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