February 2016

Defining our excellence: A new strategic plan for the Faculty of Medicine

February 24, 2016
Dear Colleagues,

As we begin a new year, I am delighted to announce the launch of a strategic planning process to help us develop our blueprint for the future and guide the Faculty of Medicine through to 2021. 

Each of you has played a role in making us the outstanding Faculty that we are today, and we have tremendous and unique assets from which to move forward. I am grateful for all of your contributions and ask for your participation as we engage in this continued pursuit of excellence. 

We are at a critical juncture in view of the pace of change in both medicine and education, the breadth and reach of Faculty activity, and our need to balance the Faculty’s budget in the coming years. This new plan will build upon our many successes, and enable us to deepen and extend our leadership role in shaping British Columbia’s health system and contribute to the knowledge economy of our province.    

If our strategic plan is to have meaning and substance, we must ask probing questions regarding how we maximize our capabilities, particularly in a resource-constrained environment. We must consider how we continue to maintain and enhance our position in the upper echelons of global medical Faculties; standing still is not an option. We must ask, “What makes a university and a medical school great in the early 21st century?” Having a coherent and effective strategy for education and research is clearly a big part of the jigsaw. But perhaps what most defines an effective medical Faculty in the 21st century is the capacity to translate knowledge into direct benefit for patients and our population.

Confronting such challenges requires us to make difficult choices and consider changes in how we operate in order to enhance our academic effectiveness. As we look to the future, can we imagine an ideal set of structures, relationships, actions and physical resources? How do we build this framework? How do we create a Faculty that can exceed the expectations of society? Or our own expectations?  

In defining this vision, many questions come to mind, including:  

  • How will we ensure that we are educating and training practitioners prepared to work in an evolving health system?  
  • How can we further the work of researchers who are already making enormous strides in all facets of biomedical science? 
  • How will we create the translational structures that allow us to contribute at the highest level?
  • How will we extend our capacity to ensure diversity in attracting the best faculty and students? 
  • How do we create agile teams and processes to support innovation and focus on academic and clinical contributions?
  • How do we further develop our relationships with health care partners and other disciplines?
  • With whom will we collaborate most closely to maximize our impact?
  • What will we prioritize and focus on to ensure excellence? 

To address these questions, we need your engagement, feedback and ideas, as well as input from our government and healthcare partners, to ensure that we are creating a shared vision and roadmap.  

I welcome your views and look forward to hearing from you. Details regarding opportunities to participate in this conversation will be shared with you soon and will include a series of town halls across the province next month, as well as an opportunity to electronically send us your feedback​.  

We have an opportunity to define the future of medicine and the future of our Faculty. I hope you will join us in taking on this challenge. 


Dermot Kelleher, MD, FRCP, FRCPI, FMedSci
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
The University of British Columbia​​