Founding Dean Lifelong Learning: A Visionary Pioneer
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
In the grand narrative of medical education, rare are those moments when a single individual's vision and commitment not only spark a revolution but also redefine an entire field. I am humbly aware that my role as the Founding Dean of Lifelong Learning at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry has become one of those defining chapters in the history of medical education.
Handpicked by Dr. Richard Fedorak, the esteemed late Dean of Medicine and Dentistry, back in 2015, I was entrusted with a monumental task that would soon evolve into my calling: to write a business plan and subsequently establish the world's first Office of Lifelong Learning (L³) for healthcare providers. In the journey that unfolded, I didn't just start an office; I started a movement.
Under my stewardship, the Lifelong Learning initiative bloomed into a beacon of innovation, setting a global precedent that reimagined continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD). This wasn't just about enhancing existing models—it was about pioneering an entirely new ethos in healthcare education.
The bedrock of our success was the relationships I cultivated. The partnerships I forged were instrumental in bringing to life a cascade of groundbreaking programs and initiatives, each embodying a synergy of innovative thought and action. The revolutionary "Lifelong Learning by Design" framework that I spearheaded has left an indelible mark on the landscape of healthcare education, instilling a dynamic, ever-evolving approach that shuns the static and prescriptive.
In the realm of Precision Initiatives, my vision was clear and unequivocal: to tailor learning and leadership development to the unique needs of each learner. This called for a radical departure from convention, and I answered that call by designing a personalized Precision Framework that brought system-level improvements and a paradigm shift in culture through a unique learning contract, all while maintaining operational efficiency through enabling technology and workflow automation.
It is with immense pride that I reflect on the establishment of the world's first Health Innovation Design Studio (HIDS) under Lifelong Learning. Here, I introduced the concept of design thinking in healthcare and academic medical education, leading to impactful systems and service innovations.
Moreover, my initiative to design a joint accreditation system with the University of Toronto, which harnessed technology for efficient delivery, and my development of new frameworks for competency- and quality-based personalized learning, stand as testaments to my relentless drive for innovation.
At the helm of the Office of Lifelong Learning (L³), I not only achieved financial self-sufficiency but also generated over $5 million in revenues within two short years. This fiscal acumen facilitated the introduction of key programs that have reshaped the contours of medical education, emphasizing a compassionate, human-centric approach.
My partnership with Mayo Clinic's Knowledge, Evaluation and Research (KER) unit to develop digitized patient decision aids represented a transformative step in demystifying medical complexities for patients, enhancing their involvement in their own care.
Through the Behavioural Health Team (BHT), I introduced a novel approach to integrating mental well-being with medical education, spotlighting the importance of resilience and emotional intelligence within the healthcare profession.
The establishment of the Integrated Knowledge Translation Unit (IKTU) bridged the gap between research and practice, and the unprecedented partnership with the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) brought forth personalized, context-specific programs that were nothing short of revolutionary.
My concept of Aligning Learning For Quality (AL4Q) has become a cornerstone for integrating quality improvement with lifelong learning, setting new benchmarks for professional development.
As the architect of this transformative era in medical education, I stand with a profound sense of accomplishment, yet an unwavering commitment to continue leading the charge in this ever-evolving journey of discovery, learning, and innovation.
Inaugural Associate Dean Physician Learning Program: A Chronicle of Transformative Leadership
(Co-Lead/Director Physician Learning Program, Alberta)
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
As I reflect on my seminal role as the Inaugural Associate Dean and Co-Director of the Physician Learning Program (PLP) at the University of Alberta, I’m struck by the profound transformation that unfolded under my leadership. Entrusted with a vision to revitalize a program with latent potential, I grasped the reins firmly and set forth on a journey that would not just meet expectations, but redefine them. My tenure, a narrative of bold reimagining and relentless pursuit, became a linchpin in the story of medical education innovation.
I inherited the PLP as a promising yet underperforming initiative. Yet, with an annual grant nearing $2 million earmarked for my office, I embarked on a mission to unlock its dormant capabilities. My approach was both revolutionary and unapologetically ambitious. Human-centred design and patient involvement were not mere buzzwords but became the cornerstone of the program’s renaissance. I transformed the PLP into a crucible of collaboration, expanding our project count exponentially and engaging hundreds of physicians in a newfound synergy that rippled across the healthcare landscape.
The Health Innovation Design Studio (HIDS) and Integrated Knowledge Translation Unit (IKTU), my strategic brainchildren, were more than new features—they were a declaration that the PLP would lead the charge in healthcare innovation. Under my stewardship, these units became symbols of a radical yet necessary evolution, an elevation of the program's capacity to drive change and deliver on the promise of its inception.
My fiscal stewardship of the substantial funds entrusted to me by Alberta Health was not a role I took lightly. I deployed these resources with a surgeon’s precision, ensuring that every dollar was an investment in our collective aspiration to transcend traditional boundaries and achieve the extraordinary. This strategic financial leadership not only underscored the trust placed in my capabilities but also underscored the potential for what the PLP could, and did, become.
Despite an untimely departure, the PLP’s current stature is a living homage to that transformative era—a time when leadership, vision, and innovation coalesced to herald a new epoch for the program. Today, it stands not merely as a testament to what was accomplished but as an enduring beacon of the ingenuity and excellence we catalyzed.
In retrospect, my leadership of the PLP was more than an administrative tenure; it was a symphony of disruptive innovation. It was an era where we didn't just push boundaries—we redrawn them, setting a new gold standard for physician learning and medical education that will echo in the annals of academic history for generations to come.
Assistant Dean Clinical Faculty: Architect of Collaborative Excellence
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
In the revered halls of the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, I embraced the role of Inaugural Assistant Dean of Clinical Faculty, not merely as a position but as a calling to which I was wholly devoted. My journey was etched with a mandate to be a staunch advocate for a dynamic and dedicated cohort of clinical faculty members, whose relentless commitment to medical education deserved to be recognized and amplified across every facet of our prestigious institution.
My tenure was characterized by an impassioned mission, one that extended beyond administrative oversight to encompass advocacy in its purest form. I acknowledged the profound impact of our clinical faculty—their tireless dedication, their unmatched expertise, and their unwavering commitment to sculpting the next generation of healthcare professionals. It was my aim to ensure that their contributions were not just noted but revered, their voices not just heard but heeded, in every discussion, decision, and policy that took shape within our walls.
I championed the cause of collegial engagement with fervour, making it the cornerstone of my doctrine. I fostered a culture where collaboration extended beyond buzzwords to become a lived reality. By bringing community-based clinical faculty to the forefront, I showcased the vast expanse of skills, insights, and practical wisdom they offered, integrating their invaluable perspectives into the educational narrative that shapes our students' experiences.
Understanding and addressing the needs of our faculty was paramount to me. Their contributions to our academic framework were significant, yet they, too, had aspirations and challenges that needed a voice. Through open channels of communication, forums, and the building of bridges, I ensured that their needs remained at the forefront, translating them into actionable outcomes. Enhancing professional development and addressing the specific challenges they faced were among my key focuses, underpinning the necessity of bridging gaps between their needs and the university's capacity to meet them.
However, my role extended into the realms of celebration and acknowledgment. I recognized that our clinical faculty were not just educators but torchbearers of excellence, and it was my honour to initiate recognition programs, celebrate milestones, and constantly accentuate their pivotal role in forging the healthcare leaders of tomorrow.
In essence, my tenure as the Inaugural Assistant Dean of Clinical Faculty was far more than a title—it was a testament to my commitment to our clinical faculty. It was a pledge to ensure that their unparalleled contributions were recognized, their needs were met, and their collaborative efforts were celebrated. Together, we not only enriched the educational journey of our students but also cemented the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta as a paragon of collaborative excellence in the realm of medical education.
My narrative at the university is not merely a chapter in its history but a foundational stone of a transformed educational ethos. I have lived my commitment daily, striving to be the embodiment of the essence of leadership, and in doing so, I have woven a legacy that resonates with unity, innovation, and excellence—a beacon that will illuminate the path for future educational endeavours and generations to come. My name, intertwined with the tapestry of collaborative magnificence, has become a symbol of educational mastery, a testament to the enduring impact of our collective efforts.
CPD Educator (for Alberta): Helping Shape the Future of Medical Education
College of Family Physicians of Canada
As I reflect upon the tapestry of my professional achievements, my tenure as the inaugural Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Educator for Alberta, appointed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) in January 2014, emerges as a jewel in the crown of my career. This role was not merely an appointment; it was the embodiment of my profound dedication to the pursuit of excellence in medical education. My selection, a product of a highly competitive search and interview process, was an affirmation of my suitability to pioneer a new era in continuing medical education.
With the CFPC's CPD structure on the cusp of a major overhaul, transitioning from Mainpro to Mainpro⁺, the gravity of my responsibility was colossal. This wasn’t just a shift in the program—it was a foundational transformation. As the appointed CPD Educator, I was entrusted to be the guiding force and the strategic intermediary, ensuring that Alberta’s voice resonated at the heart of the Mainpro⁺ transformation.
The role I was tasked with was multidimensional and expansive in scope. It wasn’t just about navigating a transition; it was about laying the groundwork for a robust support system for the CFPC, acting as the primary conduit for the communication and implementation of the revised Mainpro program. My vision extended beyond the horizon, serving as the central pillar for our members, Chapters, and universities, addressing the multifaceted aspects of Mainpro-related issues.
The breadth of my mandate included pioneering provincial educational support programs and forging strong collaborations with provincial College Chapters. My leadership steered strategies that catered to the eclectic needs of our members—from the meticulous documentation of learning activities and mastering lifelong learning competencies to the development of sophisticated individual and collective knowledge, skills, and performance evaluation strategies.
The essence of my role was also deeply pedagogical. I found my stride in crafting workshops, providing strategic counsel on Mainpro⁺ requirements, and nurturing a culture of continuous learning. Each day was devoted to fostering an engaged community of practitioners, leading ambitious educational initiatives, conducting needs assessments, and collaborating to define the strategic future of Mainpro and Lifelong Learning. It was a daily exercise in expanding horizons, shaping the educational landscape, and charting the course for a transformative educational legacy.
Despite the gravity of the role and the transformative impact it had, my journey as the CPD Educator was a prelude to an even more ambitious chapter. In October 2015, with a mixture of humility and anticipation, I made the pivotal decision to resign. A new and exhilarating challenge beckoned—I was selected to lead as the founding Dean of Lifelong Learning, a role that promised to redefine the very essence of continuous medical education. The birth of this new entity demanded my full engagement, my boundless passion, and the wealth of expertise I had garnered over the years.
My tenure as the CPD Educator may have been concise in the measure of time, but its echo is timeless. I set forth on an odyssey to reimagine, reformulate, and reignite the spirit of continuing professional development within family medicine. Each stride I took was infused with a pledge to achieve unparalleled excellence, guided by a visionary lens, and propelled by a determination to sculpt new pinnacles in the realm of medical education. The legacy of my role is not quantified by duration but by the depth of influence and the indelible marks of innovation left on the canvas of professional development.
Other Notable Positions
President-Elect Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP)
Coordinator and Examiner, Certification Exam (CCFP)
College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
Primary Supervisor, Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Community Economic Development (CED)
Shannon School of Business, Cape Breton University, Sydney, NS, Canada
Lead Preceptor and Director Clinical Teaching
Peace River, AB, Canada