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“I have a healthy backlog of books, in

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 14:49

“I have a healthy backlog of books, in both French and English, I would like to dive into,” writes Principal Suzanne Fortier. “During the holidays, I plan to start with L’archipel d’ une autre vie, by Andreï Makine, an author I greatly admire. I also want to read Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last. We had the great pleasure of having Margaret as our Beatty Lecturer this year and I am eager to read her again. Finally, I am planning to read The Invention of Science, by David Wootton, one of our 2016 Cundill Prize finalists.


Victor Chisholm, Undergraduate Research Officer in the Faculty of Science, says that he’s been ”pecking away at a book for a while” but the our annual reading list “made me think what i really WANT to read instead.”

Chisholm’s picks include Ru, by Kim Thuy. “I’ve heard many good things about this book, her debut novel which won the Governor General’s Award for French language fiction at the 2010 Governor General’s Awards,” says Chisholm. “A novel about Vietnamese refugees coming to Canada seems very à propos now, since Canada’s welcoming of the Vietnamese some years ago has inspired many of us to try to do the same for Syrian refugees today… I haven’t decided whether to read it in the original French, or the English translation by Sheila Fischman who has done so much to bring French-language literature to the Anglo-sphere.”


Mathieu Hemery, a post doc Fellow in Physics/Biology has his sights set on four books including Satellite Sisters, by Maurice Dantec; The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell; Jean de Florette, by Marcel Pagnol; and the iconic To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee.


“I had planned to read Q by Luther Blissett (aka Wu Ming) – the first book one reads by an author is always extra exciting – but a friend of mine, finding out that I hadn’t read anything by Nick Harkaway, thrust Angelmaker into my hands with a stern look,” writes Torsten Bernhardt, course administrator and pedagogical developer in the Department of Biology. “If I make it through those I’ll dive into The Sting of the Wild, by Justin Schmidt, about one man’s personal exploration into stinging insects. Now I have three books, all by authors I’ve never read. Extra exciting!”


“I am very interested in history and identity – and how, in different times, places, and cultures, people adapt and respond to life’s circumstances – often resulting from difficult political situations or one’s status as an individual (or group member) outside the dominant culture,” says  Kendra Gray, projects officer in the Office of Student Academic Services. “I don’t find the subject matter to be depressing; rather I am amazed by our capacity to adapt and work within constraining circumstances.”

To that end, Gray will be finishing Hitler:  Ascent, 1889-1939, by Voker Ullrich and Memory Mambo, by Achy Obejas. Gray also will tackle some new titles, including Nightwood, by Djuna Barnes; Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov; and Leaving Berlin, by Joseph Kanon.


Emily Heer, an M.Sc. Public Health Candidate in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, recommends a trio of books for people looking for inspiration – sounding every bit like a a seasoned literary critic.

Of The Sellout, by Paul Beatty, Heer writes; “Paul Beatty is the master of satire and this particular one will make you cringe and almost hate yourself for enjoying the book so much, and I think that’s the point. It’s thoroughly entertaining and gives a perspective on race in America that is otherwise hard to find.”

Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts. “If you’re a fast reader and enjoy 900-pages of dreamy images, this is the book for you,” writes Heer. “It’s set in India, and Roberts’ vivid descriptions of the heat and humidity will almost make you forget the snow outside. It’s enthralling, fantastic, and will send you through a whirlwind of facial expressions in a single sitting.”

Finally, Heer recommends East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. “Everyone should read this book at least once in their life,” she says, “and now is as good a time as any.”


Speaking of suggestions, Isabelle Carreau, senior planning analyst in the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), “warmly recommends” Du domaine des Murmures, by Carole Martinez.


You’d think training seven days a week and maintaining a 4.0 GPA would leave little time for extracurricular reading, but François Jarry, McGill’s Top Eight Academic All-Canadian is looking forward to “reading a bit of science-fiction, probably some stories by H. G. Wells.”

Not surprisingly, for a person who, in a recent Reporter profile, said he tries to be as efficient as possible with his downtime, Jarry also plans on reading Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?: Workout Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise, by by McGill alumni and school 1500m record holder, Alex Hutchinson “I want to find out what I should do to improve my running and what’s useless according to science,” says Jarry.


“I’m into historical fiction or fantasy combined with mysteries at the moment,” writes Dr. Colleen Cook, McGill’s Trenholme Dean of Libraries.

Over the holidays, Cook will read Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway, which she calls “a combination of fantasy and British crime with a labyrinthine plot.”

Also on Cook’s list are 2000 Whitbread Book Award-winner, English Passengers, by Matthem Kneale; C. J. Sansom’s Dissolution; and Jamaica Inn, a murder mystery written in 1936 by Daphne du Maurier and made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock three years later.


Earl Zukerman, the Athletics and Recreation communications officer known for issuing press releases at all hours of the day and night, says that the holidays are usually the time he tries to catch up on his sleep. But, says Zukerman, “as someone who has a fascination with the origins of hockey, I am planning on reading Architecture On Ice – A History of the Hockey Arena, a new book by Howard Shubert, just published by the McGill-Queen’s University Press.”

Zukerman notes that the book includes pictures of six of the seven rinks that the McGill hockey team has called their home since being founded in 1877, including the Lower Campus Rink, Victoria Skating Rink, Crystal Rink, Westmount Arena, Mt. Royal Arena, Montreal Forum and McConnell Arena.


Like Earl Zukerman, Elyse Cragg, Assistant Manager on the Web Communications team, is hoping to use the holidays to rest up and recharge her batteries. That being said, she says “I may keep reading the fairly low-brow Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris, which is a mystery in the vein of books like Gone Girl. I may also pick back up Redefining Realness if I have the chance. It’s the autobiography of Janet Mock, a leader in the trans community whose honesty has brought a lot of visibility to the often life-threatening challenges facing this marginalised group.”


“My ‘to read’ list is always growing! I read widely, but for holiday reading, I particularly love intricate mysteries and smart, engrossing, character-driven novels,” writes Jan Bottomer,Music and Arts Career Advisor in the McGill Career Planning Service. “For the former, Wilkie Collins’ classic Victorian detective novel The Moonstone seems like a perfect winter read. I’ve also recently discovered Irish author Tana French and her excellent Dublin Murder Squad Series so next up is #2, The Likeness. For the latter, Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time are all on my wish list. Last but not least, over the holidays I love to re-read fellow bibliophile Helene Hanff’s totally delightful 84 Charing Cross Road which chronicles her warm and hilarious decades-long correspondence with Marks & Co. Booksellers in London.


Nicolas Chatel-Launay, M.Sc. Candidate and McGill-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute NEO Fellow, has divided his holiday book suggestions into two categories.

For those who have “way too much reading time” Chatel-Launay recommends a pair of  ”brick-like volumes.”

First, he suggests The American Commonwealth, by James Bryce. “If people are still shocked by Trump’s election, they may find interesting to read this classic of political science that describes the United States as they were in 1888. So much of what has happened can be explained by the fundamental structure of the American democracy,” writes Chatel-Launay The Viscount Bryce also managed to predict a lot of what has happened since his time. The Chapter titled “Why Great Men Are Not Chosen Presidents” sheds a new (or rather old) light on both Obama and Trump.


People still looking for inspiration on what to read over the holidays or what to give as gifts should take a look at the recommended book gift list of McGill-Queen’s University Press titles. Support you University press!







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Thomas Robinson wins Bloomberg Manulife Prize

Thu, 12/08/2016 - 11:36

Dr. Thomas Robinson as the 2016 winner of the Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health.

Source: McGill Newsroom

Dr. Thomas Robinson, a Stanford University professor of Pediatric Medicine and pioneer in using novel motivational techniques to combat childhood obesity, has been named the winner of the 2016 Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health.

The Bloomberg Manulife Prize, which includes a CAD $50,000 research award, was established in 2011 by McGill alumnus and Toronto-based investment manager Lawrence S. Bloomberg, C.M., O. Ont. MBA’65, and corporate sponsor Manulife to recognize researchers whose work is enhancing our understanding of how physical activity, nutrition or psychosocial factors influence personal health and wellbeing. The prize is housed at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management and administered by the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics.

Dr. Robinson is being recognized for developing a unique research program that goes beyond looking at the root causes of obesity and other health-related conditions by developing creative and sometimes unconventional interventions – from dance classes to educational courses – and measuring their impact on diet, weight loss and other barometers of health. The ultimate goal is to persuade children, adolescents and their families to adopt healthier lifestyles, often without them even knowing.

Among his more notable projects is one in which he introduced after-school dance classes to at-risk communities where children have been historically inactive. Within weeks, involvement in the classes showed positive effects on participants’ cholesterol and insulin levels, and showed signs of slowing obesity. In another project, focused on diet, university students who had taken classes that explored the environmental impact of certain unhealthy foods showed decreases in consumption of red meat and sugary snacks.

“In your career, you only have a limited time in which to create change and to move research forward so that it has an impact on health,” says Dr. Robinson. “Prizes such as this one give investigators like me the support we need to push the boundaries of our research. The increased attention that comes with this award makes it easier to share the implications of my research with opinion leaders and others beyond the realms of science and public health.”

Dr. Robinson, MD, MPH, is the Irving Schulman, M.D. Endowed Professor in Child Health and Professor of Medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. He is also Director of Stanford’s Center for Healthy Weight. In addition to his research and clinical practice, Dr. Robinson is a frequent appointee to expert and advisory panels for leading scientific and public health agencies, including the Scientific and Technical Advisory Network of the World Obesity Federation and the Clinical Obesity Research Panel of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“With the awarding of this year’s Prize to Dr. Tom Robinson, McGill University continues to recognize researchers whose work is building awareness of the important links that exist between physical activity, healthy living and disease prevention,” says Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean of the Desautels Faculty of Management. “Through his pioneering research program, Dr. Robinson is not only discovering novel ways to help stem the tide of life-threatening obesity among children and adults but is also ensuring that these discoveries are put into practice.”

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. In Canada, the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased at an alarming rate: more than doubling in children and quadrupling in adolescents over the past 30 years. Obesity in childhood is associated with a wide range of serious health complications, including the premature onset of such life-threatening illnesses as diabetes and heart disease.

“The healthy choices we make today have a positive outcome on our long-term health and wellness. Learning how and why we should make those healthy choices is crucial at a young age for developing lifelong habits,” says Marianne Harrison, President & CEO, Manulife Canada. “Manulife promotes the health and well-being of Canadians through corporate sponsorships and by providing products that encourage and reward healthy living, like Manulife Vitality.”

Since its inauguration, the Bloomberg Manulife Prize has gained the endorsement of prominent health organizations including The Canadian Cancer Society, The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, ParticipACTION Canada, The Canadian Diabetes Association, YMCA Canada and the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation.

Dr. Robinson will accept the Bloomberg Manulife Prize at a special ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, where he will also speak about his research. This will be followed by a visit to McGill in Montreal on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Dance and medicine come together in support of unique therapy

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 23:01

By Jason Clement

Growing up in France, Eloise Passarella began dancing at the age of six. She eventually worked her way up to take classes at the Conservatoire de Paris. Following a brief break – and a move to Montreal – Passarella enrolled in the danse-études pre-professional program in high school at the Collège de Montréal, attending classes in the morning and then dancing for three hours each afternoon at Ballet Divertimento.

First-year medical student Eloise Passarella.

During the same period, Passarella became fascinated by dissections in high school and then while in the health sciences program at Dawson College. As someone always searching for ways to answer questions she had, she was intrigued by the manner in which pathology helps to get to the truth in diagnoses, and decided she wanted to pursue a career in forensic medicine.

Combining two passions

Now a first-year medical student at McGill, Passarella has continued to dance four times per week and had been trying to come up with an idea that would combine her two passions.

“For a while I had this idea to combine my two greatest passions, dance and medicine,” says Passarella, “both in terms of the beneficiaries of an initiative and in the process of creating it.” The initiative to which she refers is the production of a calendar featuring Eloise and a collection of her fellow McGill medical students who also had previous dance training.

“The pictures were taken in various medical settings or in our learning environments so as to represent the health care system and we tried our best to include as many different dance styles as possible,” explains Passarella. Fellow first-year medical student Karmin Yu served as the photographer and, “has done a fabulous job with the photography and design of the calendar.”

Donating to dance therapy

Passarella, whose objective is to sell 250 copies of the calendar, decided early on that all profits would be donated to the National Centre for Dance Therapy of les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She had previously volunteered in a study aiming to determine if dance had an effect on the motor and non-motor skills of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease and found it, “very rewarding and touching to see these patients progress due to this art form that I love so very much.”

Dance therapy has ties to medicine in other ways as well. For example, it was a theme of one of the workshops at the Simnovate Summit hosted by McGill’s Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning in May 2016. Dr. Rajesh Aggarwal, Director of the Simulation Centre also sits on the board of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

“Dancing helps me deal with and express emotions and live for the moment,” says Passarella. “I highly recommend the National Centre for Dance Therapy as I believe it can help others as well.”

Calendars are available for $15 each ($12 for students). Those interested in purchasing copies can do so by contacting Passarella at and arranging for payment by e-transfer, cash or cheque. She will be delivering the calendars to various locations across the McGill campus, at the McGill University Health Centre’s Glen site and at the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning.

Fall semester final exams

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 22:30

The Fall semester final exams start on Wednesday, Dec, 7, and end on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Most exams will be held in the McGill Sports Complex (e.g. Currie Gym and Fieldhouse) with a small number in various classrooms on campus. As weather and transit delays are always a possibility in December, please stay informed of any potential scheduling delays by checking:

The final schedule with room locations can be found on the Exams website, along with other helpful information.

For exams administered by the Faculties of Law, Medicine, Dentistry, School of Continuing Studies and those held at Macdonald Campus, please refer to their respective websites.

A few important reminders before you arrive at your exam:

  • Please leave your valuables at home – you will not be allowed to keep personal items at your exam seat along with any materials not necessary for the exam – the University is not responsible for lost or stolen property.
  • Don’t forget your valid McGill ID cardyou must present it when you arrive at your exam.
  • Cell phones, smart watches or other electronic devices cannot be accessed or consulted during exams (including when escorted to the washroom) and must be placed under your desk with your belongings for the duration of the exam.
  • All final examinations are governed by the University examination regulations.
  • Conduct during examinations is also governed by the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities.

If you are looking for ways to de-stress during exams, the McGill Counselling Service is holding daily sessions of Yoga, Therapy Dogs and Guided Relaxation. No registration necessary.

Safe zone for completing online transactions

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 21:57

Security Services has launched a new Online Exchange Zone (OEZ) at McGill in an effort to make online transactions safer for buyers and sellers. In a move to improve safety for people who buy and sell goods online, the OEZ offers a place where people can complete transactions in the relative safety of Burnside Lobby.

The buy and sell zone is a crime prevention initiative aimed at reducing all types of crime, including fraud or even violent crime.

The exchange zone is under camera surveillance (but not necessarily monitored) in the lobby and the building is opened between 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Even if you don’t use the Exchange Zone, Security Services recommends that you think about the following if you do buy or sell something online: avoid conducting transactions alone; make a friend or family member aware of the details; meet in public areas if possible, complete the transaction during daylight hours, be extra cautious buying/selling valuable items, consider using email to transfer funds; and if someone is not willing to come to the Online Exchange Zone it could be a scam; finally -always trust your instincts.


Study to explore e-cigarettes as smoking cessation tool

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 21:38

Participants sought for clinical study

Despite the well-established risks of smoking, it continues to contribute to the death of more than 37,000 Canadians annually. Moreover, only 10 to 20 per cent of smokers will succeed in quitting using current cessation therapies, including nicotine patches, gum and counselling. The search for novel techniques prompted a new multi-centre clinical study of the effectiveness and safety of electronic cigarettes, which is being led by Dr. Mark Eisenberg at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH).

“The single most reversible cause of mortality in Canada is smoking,” emphasizes Dr. Eisenberg, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Lady Davis Institute at the JGH. “The goal of our study is to determine whether e-cigarettes can be used as a transitional tool from smoking conventional cigarettes to quitting completely.”

““The goal of our study is to determine whether e-cigarettes can be used as a transitional tool from smoking conventional cigarettes to quitting completely,” says Dr. Mark Eisenberg.

Participants over the age of 18 who have smoked at least ten cigarettes a day for more than a year and who are motivated to quit are being recruited. Investigators hope to involve 486 people. They will be randomized into one of three groups: nicotine e-cigarettes with individual counselling; non-nicotine e-cigarettes with individual counselling; or individual counselling alone. The treatment period will be twelve weeks, with follow-up for a year to evaluate whether the participants maintain abstinence, and their experience of withdrawal symptoms and side effects.

“Ultimately, multiple trials in multiple populations will be necessary to establish the efficacy of e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Eisenberg, “but ours is a significant first step.”

At the moment, neither Health Canada, nor the US Food and Drug Administration have guidelines concerning e-cigarettes. This trial will provide regulators, health care professionals, and smokers with important information about the efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation.

For further information about the clinical trial, contact Shauna McGee, E3 Trial Coordinator, 514-340-8222, ext. 3240 or

Library offers delightful holiday diversions

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 16:16

From novels to albums, DVDs to streaming audiobooks, board games to eBooks, the McGill Library is your go-to destination for holiday entertainment, enlightenment and enjoyment. Students, faculty, and staff members have access to millions of items found in our catalogue and online resources like Kanopy and OverDrive. Alumni can borrow print books, journals, audio materials and scores using their free Library Borrowing Card and with their McGill email address can access e-resources for alumni. Don’t know where to start? Library staff members have shared their picks for the holiday season. Questions? Want more recommendations? Ask us!

TV series

  • Slings and Arrows (3 Seasons) is a Canadian TV series that won 13 Gemini awards. Set at the fictional New Burbage Festival, a Shakespearean festival similar to the real-world Stratford Festival, this comedic series depicts each season as a modern day rendition of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, MacBeth and King Lear. The all-star cast is insanely funny and the theatrics are a laugh a minute thereby creating an unpredictable comedic soap opera. (EL)
  • The French TV series of George Simenon’s detective Maigret, formidably interpreted by Bruno Cremer. We have the complete series (54 episodes) with English subtitles. Sit back and enjoy Paris and the performances.  (LW)


  • Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands for performances by Johnny Depp and Dianne Weist, and for Danny Elfman’s music.  For the irony of casting Vincent Price creating his robot boy, Edward “Scissorhands”, as a substitute for the son he never had.  When Price has a heart attack before he can put the last touch to his creation – Edward’s hands, Depp looks at him, astonished and sad, and says “I’m not finished”….  Aren’t we all?  (LW)
  • I plan to view some of the performances and music documentaries available via Kanopy, one of McGill Library’s streaming video services. A couple on my wish list so far: A Not So Silent Night, the McGarrigle Sisters’ 2009 live Christmas performance at the Knitting Factory stage; and Brasslands: Uniting Cultures Through Music, a documentary that explores Balkan brass music through the stories of individual musicians. (CM)
  • Catalogue summary: “Brooklyn is the emotional tale of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant building a new life in 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland for the shores of New York City and is soon swept up by the intoxicating charms of new love. But when her new life is disrupted by her past, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.” Brooklyn was filmed here in Montreal – can you find the McGill “bits”? (JA)
  • Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 classic The Kid is a heartwarming tale about The Tramp, played by Chaplin, and an orphaned child – The Kid. Enjoy this timeless, silent comedy-drama “with a smile and perhaps a tear”. View it online through the Kanopy streaming service. (MR)


  • From our former Principal, now Governor General, The idea of Canada : letters to a nation by David Johnston is a collection of inspiring, thought-provoking and sometimes laugh-out-loud entertaining letters from an inveterate letter-writer.  Easy to pick up and put down for those of us short on time.  Available in our collection in print and eBook. (LR)
  • Publisher’s note: “Must the sins of America’s past poison its hope for the future? Lately the American Left, withdrawing into the ivied halls of academe to rue the nation’s shame, has answered yes in both word and deed. In Achieving Our Country, one of America’s foremost philosophers [Richard Rorty] challenges this lost generation of the Left to understand the role it might play in the great tradition of democratic intellectual labor that started with writers like Walt Whitman and John Dewey.” (CC)
  • L’art presque perdu de ne rien faire by Québécois author and Immortel of the Académie française, Dany Laferrière. “Je ne sais pas trop comment qualifier ce livre. J’hésite entre un roman des idées et un essai lyrique. En tout cas, j’essaie de brasser ensemble mes réflexions, mes émotions, mes sensations comme mes rires et mes délires, car je n’ai pas l’impression qu’on arrête de vivre parce qu’on est en train de penser.”- Dany Laferrière. (MDM)
  • Now that I saw the musical Hamilton in New York, I’m reading about the musical and about the life of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton : the revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCater is a book giving a behind-the-scenes view of Hamilton the musical and detailing many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton’s life. We have it as an e-book and an e-audio book, along with the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow that Lin-Manuel Miranda read and was inspired by to write his musical. Available in print book, e-book and e-audio book. For these and more resources related to the musical Hamilton click here. (JH)
  • John Waters : Interviews in print or eBook version is a collection of interviews with Baltimore’s most revered weirdo. (MC)


  • Carry me by Peter Behrens is a work of historical fiction extensively researched in McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections.  Beautifully written and totally engaging.  Available in our collection in print and eBook.  (LR)
  • And the birds rained down, eBook translated by J. Saucier and R. Mullins. Catalogue summary: “An award-winning and haunting meditation on aging and self-determination”. This is a terrific translation of Il pleuvait des oiseaux. Le Devoir calls Jocelyne Saucier “a magician for the soul”.  (JA)
  • La femme qui fuit by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette was the recipient of the 2015 Prix des libraires. “Un style magnifique, un sujet prenant, une sensibilité certaine. Cette lecture fait partie des grands coups de la rentrée littéraire. L’auteure trace le portrait de sa grand-mère, une figure qu’elle a à peine connue. Suzanne Meloche a côtoyé les signataires du Refus global, a été l’épouse du peintre Marcel Barbeau et a vécu une vie étonnante. – Dominique Lemieux, Les libraires.” (MDM)
  • Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine. Imagine a character who is a mix of Snow White, Harry Potter, and the Karate Kid.  This novel is an action-packed, fantasy adventure based on the story of Snow White, including a prince who can turn into a dragon, a princess who wields magic and street-fighting moves, and a quest to destroy a despot queen.  An easy, fun read. (GB)
  • Publisher’s note: “Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century, and Silence is widely considered to be his great masterpiece.” (CC)
  • 15 Dogs by Canadian author André Alexis won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. It all starts with a bet between the Greek gods Hermes and Apollo. The gods choose 15 dogs and decide to instil them with human intelligence and linguistic skills. What follows is a thought-provoking story that left me questioning everything I know about myself and the world around me. It’s a quick, fun read and dog-owners, like me, will love it! Available in print and Ebook. (MR)
  • Ru by Québecoise author Kim Thùy. Catalogue summary: “A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim Thuy’s Governor General’s Literary Award-winning RU is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec.” Available in original French and English translation. Also recommended: Thùy’s Vi, and Mãn. (MDM)
  • Anything by Pierre Lemaitre is going to be a page-turner, but one glass of your favourite wine won’t be enough while reading The great swindle – you’ll need the whole bottle. (LW)
  • À cause des garçons : roman & follow up novel Parce que tout me ramène à toi : roman by Québécois author Samuel Larochelle. « Il a 27 ans, du bagou, du talent. [C’est] l’histoire d’un photographe, orphelin de père, qui quitte sa Gaspésie natale pour Montréal, en quête du grand amour. Un jeune gai allumé qui pourrait très bien être notre meilleur ami.  » – Danielle LAURIN, Elle Québec (MDM)


  • For your listening pleasure, I recommend these thrilling Doctor Who episodes written specifically for audio. If you are a fan of David Tennant, you won’t want to miss The Day of the Troll, read by the 10th Doctor himself. If you are more of a Matt Smith fan, he reads two (1, 2) of the audio adventures available in OverDrive. (AC)


Take technology home for the holidays! Have you thought about tinkering with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi? Or maybe experiencing a virtual reality rollercoaster ride with an Oculus Rift headset?  These items are on loan now at the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering: Technology @ Schulich Library  (AC)


Did you know that the library lends board games? Strategy games like Settlers of Catan or 1812: The invasion of Canada are available for two-week loans at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library service desk in the McLennan Library Building. Just bring the call number to a staff member. And please don’t lose any pieces! For a full listing of board games, click here. (ED)

Special thanks to our contributors:

  • (JA) Jane Aitkens, Coordinator, ILS & Catalogue, Digital Initiatives
  • (GB) Giovanna Badia, Liaison Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
  • (CC) Colleen Cook, Dean of Libraries
  • (AC) April Colosimo, Liaison Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
  • (MC) Melissa Como, Senior Library Clerk, Osler Library of the History of Medicine
  • (ED) Eamon Duffy, Coordinator of Operations & Liaison Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • (JH) Joseph Hafner, Associate Dean, Collection Services
  • (EL) Edmund Lesniowski, Library Assistant, Loans, Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • (CM) Cathy Martin, Liaison Librarian and Coordinator, Music Library Access Services, Marvin Duchow Music Library
  • (MDM) Michael David Miller, Liaison Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • (MR) Merika Ramundo, Communications Officer, Office of the Dean
  • (LR) Louise Robertson, Coordinator, Receiving, Processing, Special Collections and Database Maintenance, Collections Services
  • (LW) Lonnie Weatherby, Liaison Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences Library


McGill remembers Polytechnique victims

Mon, 12/05/2016 - 13:58

McGill will commemorate the École Polytechnique massacre at the Université de Montreal, in which 14 women were murdered on Dec. 6, 1989, and another 14 injured. McGill’s flags will be set at half staff on Tuesday, Dec. 6, and a memorial service will be held at Birks Chapel (3520 University Street, 2nd floor) beginning at 5 p.m.

The Senate Subcommittee on Women submitted the following statement to the McGill Reporter:

On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 women were killed at École Polytechnique. They were killed because they were women, because most were students in an engineering program. What has come to be called the Montreal Massacre is an event we are all called upon to remember: violence against women continues to be part of our present.

It is 27 years since the murders of these women, and Dec. 6 is again to be commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is an occasion to remember the women murdered and for all of us to recommit to ensuring their deaths were not in vain. As we mourn the 14 deaths in 1989, as well as the too many women and girls murdered or abused since then, we need to continue to work for women’s equality, for policies that lead to equity among women, and to an end to structural and individual violence against women and girls.

Canada is still not a safe country for all women who live here, with more than 50 per cent likely to experience violence sometime in their lives, usually before they are 25. For some women, those most marginalized, these risks are even greater. Societal and structural policies and programs continue especially to harm single mothers, women with disabilities, and indigenous and immigrant women. These, as well as increasing limits on women’s access to justice and to continuing inequities, may explain why Canada is only at 19th place in the 2014 Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum.

The Fourteen Not Forgotten are:

  • Geneviève Bergeron, 21, was a second year scholarship student in civil engineering.
  • Hélène Colgan, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to take her Master’s degree.
  • Nathalie Croteau, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering.
  • Barbara Daigneault, 22, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and held a teaching assistantship.
  • Anne-Marie Edward, 21, was a first year student in chemical engineering.
  • Maud Haviernick, 29, was a second year student in engineering materials, a branch of metallurgy, and a graduate in environmental design.
  • Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, was a second year nursing student.
  • Maryse Laganière, 25, worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.
  • Maryse Leclair, 23, was a fourth year student in engineering materials.
  • Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, was a fourth year student in mechanical engineering.
  • Sonia Pelletier, 28, was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.
  • Michèle Richard, 21, was a second year student in engineering materials.
  • Annie St-Arneault, 23, was a mechanical engineering student.
  • Annie Turcotte, 20, was a materials engineering student.

Excelling in the classroom and on the field of play

Sun, 12/04/2016 - 05:24

Civil Engineering student Dori Yeats (in red) is following in the footsteps of her father, five-time Olympian, Doug Yeats. / Photo courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Committee

By Neale McDevitt

The recent launch of McGill’s Jean Béliveau Award to support top student-athletes underscored the commitment and discipline required to be successful in both sports and scholastics. Recently, the McGill Reporter spoke to two of McGill’s most successful student-athletes – Olympian Dori Yeats and Top Eight Academic All-Canadian François Jarry – to find out how they handle the enormous demands placed upon them.

François Jarry: Earning his successes the old fashioned way

When McGill distance runner François Jarry got called into coach Dennis Barrett’s office earlier this fall, his first reaction was ‘Uh-oh, what have I done now?’

As it turned out, Jarry had done something. Something quite exceptional.

François Jarry received his commendation from David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and former McGill Principal, during a ceremony in Ottawa in November. / Photo: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall, OSGG

The 22-year-old physical and health education senior from Lachine, was told by his coach that he had been named among the Top Eight Academic All-Canadians for the 2015-16 season by U Sports, (formerly Canadian Interuniversity Sport). The honour goes to the top male and female student-athletes in each of the four conferences under U Sport, for athletic excellence while maintaining an average of 80 per cent or better over the academic year.

Jarry was named an RSEQ conference all-star last season, while accumulating seven Top 10 finishes in eight races. He won the McGill Open before placing third in both the 2015 RSEQ cross-country championship and the 3000-metre race at the conference track and field championship meet. In the classroom, the three-time CIS Academic All-Canadian achieved a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and has been on the Principal’s Student-Athlete Honour Roll since his freshman year. He also received the Strathcona Trust Plaque in 2016, awarded to students with the highest academic standing in physical activity courses.

Still, even with his many successes, Jarry wasn’t expecting the news.

“Last year, when [Redmen basketball player] François Bourque [was named Top Eight Academic All-Canadian], I thought ‘Wow, that is pretty incredible,’ said Jarry. “Quite honestly, I never thought I had a shot at it. When Dennis told me I was totally surprised – and very, very happy.”

Jarry downplays the challenges he faced in his freshmen year, coming from a French Cegep André-Laurendeau to one of the most demanding universities in the country. “I had done English immersion and I’ve always taken school very seriously,” he said. “Sure that first year was a little tough, but I listened to my academic advisor and took four classes which helped.”

The toughest transition wasn’t in the classroom, it was on the track. Jarry discovered the sport relatively late in life. “I was not a great athlete when I was young. I had played soccer but I wasn’t very good,” he said with a chuckle. “So I stopped when I was 18 and concentrated on running.”

Used to training three or four times a week prior to joining the McGill varsity team, Jarry had to get used to training virtually every day. “I thought I took my running seriously before. But coming here made me realize I had to take it to another level,” he said.

And the hard work is paying off. Jarry’s season last year was like a long-running highlight reel – including winning a bronze medal at the Provincial championships; finishing in the Top 10 at the Canadian Olympic Trials at both 5,000 and 10,000 metres; and breaking the school record at 3,000 metres (“my proudest moment,” he says).

Like so many student-athletes, Jarry’s success has come the old fashioned way – he’s earned it through hard work, dedication and superior multitasking skills. “I don’t waste a lot of time. Every break I try to be as productive as possible,” he says, noting that when he does allow for some downtime, he’ll watch “half a movie” while eating supper. Then it’s off to bed.

In the class, Jarry is just as serious. “I like to work hard and I like to perform well,” is how he characterizes his approach to school. “I try to show respect for my teachers by studying, showing up for class and listening closely to what they’re saying. When I do that, the results usually follow.”

Dori Yeats: Finding the brain-body balance

To say Dori Yeats is goal-oriented is an understatement. The 23-year-old began gymnastics at the age of five with the dream of one day competing at the Olympics. By the time she was 14, Yeats had enjoyed a fair degree of success at the provincial level. But, ever the pragmatist, Yeats understood that her trajectory was going to fall short of achieving her long-held Olympic dream. So she made the most unlikely of career changes, vaulting from the grace and glitter of gymnastics to the guts and grind of wrestling.

The initial transition was not smooth.

Dorothy Yeats (right) receives her $5,000 bursary from Sandy Vassiadis, VP-Corporate Communications for Saputo / Photo: Normand Huberdeau/Groupe NH Photographes

“I really did not like wrestling very much, at first,” said Yeats. “But I knew it was the avenue for me to get to the Olympics, so I pushed myself to keep that focus because that was my goal since I was five years old. Since then, I’ve learned to love the sport.”

That unflinching focus paid off this past summer when Yeats represented Canada at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Entering the Games with a torn MCL in her knee, the Montreal native battled her way to the bronze medal match in the 69 kg class, losing a 2-1 heartbreaker to Sweden’s Jenny Fransson. “It was pretty bitter sweet,” she said. “Fifth place is the best result I had had internationally at that weight, but I know I could’ve done more. I shouldn’t have set the bar that low. I know now that the girls that I was competing against are not that much better than me and I can make it on to the podium. So that will be what fuels me – to make it to the podium at every major competition from now on.”

But as single-minded as Yeats has been in pursuit of her Olympic dream, she is far from a one-trick pony. The civil engineering student entered this semester with a 3.56 grade-point average and, earlier this fall, earned a $5,000 academic excellence award, from the Saputo Bursary Program in collaboration with the Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence.

“A lot of people on the national team are older and have already finished school and some have not gone much beyond high school so they could focus on wrestling,” said Yeats. “The award is good motivation because sometimes I find myself wondering if I should just concentrate on school or just concentrate on sport. This encourages me to do both.”

Even though she is enjoying a little post-Olympic downtime from training in order to recharge her emotional battery and let her body heal, Yeats is not taking it easy. Instead of spending long hours on the mats, Yeats has doubled down on her studies, taking her first full course load.

“It’s definitely tough. Midterms were very challenging. It’s not just sports that require recovery time,” she said with a laugh. “Before coming here, I was on the Dean’s List and I thought I was very smart. But McGill civil engineering has put me back in my place. But that’s good because I like a challenge.”

Yeats, who took last semester off as training ramped up leading to Rio, says the key for her is balance. “Sports and school definitely complement each other, and I’ve learned how much I can do to successfully juggle both,” said Yeats. “When you are a full-time student, you pretty much have to be at school all day and when you get home, you study some more. Especially in engineering. But the periods when I have been a full-time athlete and a part-time student are so productive because both my brain and body are happy.”


Board to test a form of Question Period

Sat, 12/03/2016 - 06:55

By McGill Reporter Staff

McGill’s Board of Governors has decided to take a significant step toward greater openness and transparency by agreeing to include a 20-minute period at two of its five meetings that take place in the course of the academic year (not including joint Board-Senate meetings).

The item will be at the end of the Board’s meeting agenda. Questions will have to be submitted in writing in advance and answers will be provided, as is the case at Senate.

The move, proposed by the Board’s Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee, following a request made at the Oct. 16 meeting, which had been disrupted by a visiting group, is an attempt to accommodate members of the community who wish to address the Board, but have no place on the agenda to do so.

“We are taking a step where we have never been,” said Board Chair Stuart (Kip) Cobbett at the meeting of Thursday, Dec. 1.

Secretary-General Edyta Rogowska told the Board the measure “is certainly more than most Canadian universities do,” while noting that the model is in wider use in a number of American universities.

Board member Victor Frankel, who represents McGill’s Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS), said the move “is a step in the right direction, but 20 minutes twice a year does not seem like enough. He urged that the measure apply to every Board meeting, a view echoed by Chancellor Michael A. Meighen who wondered why it might apply only twice a year and who noted that Senate has a question period at the start of every meeting.

Principal Suzanne Fortier pointed out that only Senators are permitted to ask questions at Senate, while this measure opens the question period to people who are not members of the Board. She urged that the measure be approved at once so that it can be in place right away. “This is a new practice,” she said. “Why don’t we be among those who do it first? Let’s vote on it; let’s implement it.”

Cobbett proposed that the approach be reviewed after a year to determine if it requires any modification and the motion carried.



16 Canada Research Chairs for McGill

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 11:20

The distinctive pin awarded all Canada Research Chairs.

By Kathryn Jezer-Morton

On Friday, Dec. 2, the Honorable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced over $173 million in funding for 203 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs at universities across Canada. Sixteen CRCs went to McGill faculty. Eleven of McGill’s new CRCs went to women, which reflects the national trend; this cohort is among the highest percentage of women ever, at 38 per cent.

CRCs are granted to outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. The CRC program was created to enable Canadian universities to attract and retain established and emerging world-class researchers. McGill research projects that will benefit from the new funds include those investigating the genetics of pain and childhood disability, as well as the ecology of the arctic and engineered quantum systems (complete list of projects below).

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the new and renewed Canada Research Chairs,” said Minister Duncan. “The Government of Canada is proud to support talented researchers whose hard work will improve our scientific understanding and strengthen Canada’s reputation for research excellence. The Chairs’ efforts will also provide us with the evidence needed to inform decisions that help us build a vibrant society and a strong middle class.”

There are two types of Canada Research Chairs. Tier 1 Chairs are tenable for seven years and renewable. Each Tier 1 Chair is valued at $200,000 annually. Tier 2 Chairs, valued at $100,000 annually for five years with one opportunity for renewal, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. Seven new Tier 2 Chairs and four new Tier 1 Chairs were granted to McGill researchers in this round. Five McGill researchers were granted renewals on their Tier 1 and Tier 2 awards.

“McGill is grateful for the ongoing support of the Canada Research Chairs program, which helps us to attract some of the most innovative thinkers and researchers from around the world and helps to keep Canadian research at the global cutting edge,” said McGill’s Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) Rosie Goldstein. “Congratulations to our latest cohort for this valuable recognition of their work.”

The full McGill’s newest CRCs is below.

Marco Amabili, Professor of Mechanical Engineering – Tier 1 Renewal – Canada Research Chair in Vibrations and Fluid-Structure Interaction

Lea Berrang-Ford, Associate Professor of Geography – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Environmental Change

Adele Blackett, William Dawson Professor of Law — Tier 1 – Canada Research Chair in Transnational Labour Law and Development

Anja Geitmann, Professor Plant Science – Tier 1 – Canada Research Chair in Biomechanics of Plant Development

Allan Greer, Professor of History – Tier 1 Renewal – Canada Research Chair in Early Canada/Colonial North America

Lauren Human, Assistant Professor of Psychology – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in Social Perception and Expression

Sarah Kimmins, Associate Professor of Reproductive Biology – Tier 2 Renewal – Canada research Chair in Epigenetics, Reproduction and Development

Sylvie D. Lambert, Assistant Professor of Nursing – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Self-Management Support for Patients with Cancer and Their Family Caregivers

Karyn Moffatt, Assistant Professor, McGill School of Information – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in Inclusive Social Computing

William Muller, Professor of Biochemistry – Tier 1 Renewal – Canada Research Chair in Molecular Oncology

Doina Precup, Associate Professor, School of Computer Science – Tier 1 – Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning

Selena Sagan, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in RNA Biology and Viral Infections

Thomas Martin Schmeing, Associate Professor of Biochemistry – Tier 2 Renewal – Canada Research Chair in Macromolecular Machines

Gustavo Turecki, Professor of Psychiatry – Tier 1 – Canada Research Chair in Major Depressive Disorder and Suicide

Aysenur Ipek Tureli, Assistant Professor of Architecture – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chair in Architectures of Spatial Justice

Anna Weinberg, Assistant Professor of Psychology – Tier 2 – Canada Research Chari in Clinical Neuroscience

Next Chair named, Chancellor reappointed

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 10:47

Ram Panda (left) and Michael A. Meighen

During the closed session of its meeting on December 1, 2016, the McGill Board of Governors approved two recommendations from the Nominating, Governance, and Ethics Committee. Board member-at-large Ram Panda will assume the duties of Chair, while the Honorable Michael A. Meighen will begin a second term as McGill’s Chancellor.

Stuart H. (Kip) Cobbett, the current Board Chair, announced the decisions in an e-mail to the McGill community. He characterized Panda and Meighen as people who “understand and appreciate the values of the University, and are deeply devoted to the vitality and well-being of the McGill community.”

Ram Panda (MEng’71, MBA’77) came to Canada – specifically, McGill – from his native India in 1968. After graduation, he stayed in Montreal, co-founding Invera Inc., which is now one of the leading software providers for the metal industry. In recognition of “the hospitality I experienced and the level of acceptance I encountered [that] helped me to settle down quickly and integrate easily into Canadian life,” Panda is dedicated to giving back to the community. He is one of the philanthropic drivers of the Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design and has been a member of the Faculty Advisory Board for Engineering since 2007. “Ram is passionate about sustainability and McGill’s role in the community,” noted Cobbett in his message. Panda has been a member-at-large of the Board of Governors since 2014, a position to which he has been reappointed for a five-year term.

Michael A. Meighen (BA’60) was appointed McGill’s 19th Chancellor on July 1, 2014. Meighen is a prominent lawyer, political player and former Senator (1990-2012), and was presented with an honorary degree by McGill in 2012. Grandson of former Prime Minister Arthur Meighen, he served as co-counsel for the Deschênes Commission on War Criminals from 1985-1986, and was elected president of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1974-1977. He was co-chair of Campaign McGill, which raised more than one-billion dollars. In his position as Chancellor, Meighen is an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors, where he has served on several committees. “For the past two-and-a-half years, Michael has presided over our spring and fall convocation ceremonies, congratulating thousands of new graduates as they crossed the stage,” wrote Cobbett, “and has represented the University with warmth and grace at alumni functions and other events around the world.”

Cobbett was first appointed to the position of Chair on January 1, 2010. His current term ends on June 30, 2017.

Panda’s appointment as Chair is for five years; Meighen’s second term as Chancellor is for four. Both appointments are effective July 1, 2017.


McGill selects new HR and academic personnel software

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 15:46

“Workday” has been selected as the new human resources (HR) and academic personnel software. It will replace McGill’s aging Banner HR and Payroll One-time Payment System (POPS) tools with an integrated system and more efficient ways of working. Both academic and administrative representatives were involved in the selection process.

“Workday” is recognized as the premier software in higher education to manage HR and related academic processes, such as the tenure and promotion process. Workday has been successfully implemented in major North American universities such as Brown, Yale, Cornell, Chicago and Georgetown, among others. McGill will benefit from the best practices of peer institutions who influence future enhancements to the product. Workday also provides full Quebec and Canada payroll functionality.

The main benefits of this software are that it is highly user-friendly and accessible. It is one source of information with no double entry of data and a seamless integration between all functionalities. It is also easier and less expensive to maintain than Banner HR and POPs.

This decision is the first milestone of the Recruitment-to-Retirement (R2R) program. This major program is sponsored by the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), Christopher Manfredi, and the interim Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance), Morty Yalovsky. The R2R team is now preparing the implementation that is expected to occur within two years. We will continue to inform the McGill community as the program progresses.

Oxhorn named Associate Provost (International)

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 12:15

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Christopher Manfredi announced on Wednesday, Aug. 24, the appointment of Prof. Philip Oxhorn to the position of Associate Provost (International), effective 1 September 2016.

This is a new position at McGill and was created to develop the University’s international strategy with a view to:

  • Identifying and maintaining partnerships with international institutions and foreign governments;
  • Strengthening efforts to expand our reach and sustain collaborations through digital connections;
  • Overseeing international revenue-generating opportunities that expand our reach;
  • Expanding opportunities for students to situate their knowledge and understand their lives in a global context through ensuring that the curriculum reflects a global perspective and through student mobility and exchanges;
  • And supporting international teaching and strategic research collaborations stemming from the extensive interests of professors and students across all our Faculties.

The Associate Provost will work closely with the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) and the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation) to pursue these objectives.

Oxhorn said he is delighted to be able to take on the new role.

“As Associate Provost (International), I very much look forward to working with the McGill community to help develop an international strategy that takes full advantage of McGill’s unique strengths and resources,” he said. “Assuming a newly created position is always a bit daunting, but it is a challenge that is all the easier to meet given McGill’s already enviable international reputation.”

Oxhorn, Manfredi noted, has been a faculty member in the Department of Political Science since 1989, and is also Editor-in-Chief of the Latin American Research Review and a Senior Research Fellow on the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. He recently concluded a nearly eight-year term as the inaugural Director of the Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID), where he did much to advance international research and education at McGill.

“I congratulate Professor Oxhorn on this appointment and wish him every success in his new role,” Manfredi said.


Soigner : un langage universel

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 14:24

Julie Sparkes avec un jeune patient.

Par Fabienne Landry, Affaires Publiques, Centre universitaire de santé McGill

Julie Sparkes, infirmière au Centre universitaire de santé McGill (CUSM) s’est récemment rendue en Chine avec une équipe médicale afin de faire ce qu’elle fait de mieux : prendre soin des patients ayant subi une intervention chirurgicale. Au cours des deux semaines qu’a duré sa mission, Julie a aidé plusieurs dizaines de patients à traverser une épreuve appelée à changer leur vie. Elle partage avec nous cette expérience inspirante, qui témoigne de sa compassion et de son engagement.

Qu’est-ce qui vous a motivée le plus à faire ce voyage?

Cela faisait plusieurs années que je souhaitais participer à une mission médicale à l’étranger. Je voulais mettre mon expérience au service de personnes qui n’ont pas la chance de recevoir des soins médicaux spécialisés.

Pourquoi la Chine et cette équipe médicale en particulier?

La veille du Nouvel An, mon mari m’a demandé ce que j’aimerais faire au cours de l’année à venir. Ma réponse a été immédiate : « J’aimerais partir en mission médicale à l’étranger ».

J’ai fait des recherches en ligne et j’ai trouvé un organisme appelé Education Medical Aid and Service (EMAS), qui envoie des équipes médicales dans le monde entier pour des missions de deux semaines. J’ai posé ma candidature et j’ai été acceptée pour une mission de chirurgie humanitaire. L’équipe soignante était composée de 50 personnes, y compris des chirurgiens, des anesthésistes ainsi que des infirmières. La plupart d’entre eux étaient des Canadiens d’origine chinoise participant à ce type de missions entièrement à leurs frais, et ce depuis 20 ans.

À quel type de patients votre équipe est-elle venue en aide?

Nous avons effectué un grand nombre d’interventions destinées à réparer ce qu’on appelle la fente labiopalatine ou bec de lièvre. Nos patients étaient de jeunes enfants, mais nous avons aussi opéré une femme de 40 ans. Cette opération va transformer leur vie en corrigeant une malformation qui les gêne pour parler et s’alimenter, sans parler du rejet social qu’elle peut entrainer.

Nous avons également soigné des enfants gravement brûlés. Issus de familles pauvres, ils vivent dans de petites maisons en montagne, où l’on se chauffe et l’on cuisine grâce au feu de bois. Inconscients du danger, les plus petits s’y précipitent littéralement. Lorsqu’ils survivent à leurs brûlures, ils sont le plus souvent défigurés et souffrent de contractures (cicatrices entrainant une contraction de la peau et diminuant l’amplitude normale des mouvements). Ils ont besoin d’une greffe pour réduire la tension occasionnée par la cicatrice et permettre à la peau de recouvrer ses fonctions.

Pouvez-vous nous décrire une journée type pour l’équipe?

Le premier jour, nous avons trié le matériel que nous avions apporté du Canada pour les 50 interventions prévues. Les jours suivants, nous avions une réunion d’équipe à 6 heures du matin, nous étions répartis dans les trois hôpitaux et chargés d’une mission, puis nous nous retrouvions le soir pour souper.

Quel était votre rôle?

Mon rôle était le même qu’au CUSM, c’est-à-dire m’occuper des patients après leur opération. Je devais m’assurer de leur administrer des médicaments contre la douleur, surveiller leur fonction respiratoire et leur pansement afin qu’il n’y ait pas de saignement. J’ai également assisté les chirurgiens au bloc opératoire. J’étais inquiète, car ce n’était pas quelque chose que j’avais l’habitude de faire et il m’était arrivé une fois de m’évanouir. Heureusement, ça n’est pas arrivé (rires)! En réalité, j’ai fait tout ce que j’étais capable de faire. Quand les ressources sont limitées, vous faites tout ce que vous pouvez.

Comment vous êtes-vous préparée?

J’ai participé à des réunions d’équipe avant le voyage, mais je dirais que ce sont mes 25 années d’expérience qui m’ont le mieux préparée à cette mission. Je n’avais pas d’expérience en soins postopératoires pédiatriques par contre. Je tiens donc à remercier sincèrement mes collègues de l’Hôpital de Montréal pour enfants, qui m’ont permis de passer une journée auprès d’eux pour observer la récupération des enfants opérés pour un bec de lièvre.

La langue a-t-elle été un obstacle?

Pas vraiment, car la majorité des membres de notre équipe parlait le mandarin. Même lorsque leurs interlocuteurs parlaient un dialecte, ils trouvaient généralement un moyen de se comprendre. Quand j’étais seule, je parlais en pointant du doigt et je pouvais « lire » mes patients, c’est-à-dire voir s’ils souffraient en surveillant leur rythme cardiaque et en observant différents signes. Quand j’avais du temps, j’essayais de sortir de la relation soignant-patient et d’avoir des échanges personnels avec les enfants. Ils étaient souvent impressionnés par mes cheveux blonds!

Qu’aimez-vous particulièrement dans votre travail?

Être infirmière c’est avoir le privilège de nouer une relation intime avec les gens en un très court laps de temps. Vous devez établir une connexion avec eux très rapidement afin de pouvoir les aider. Peu importe où vous vous trouvez, l’attention que vous portez aux patients sera la même. Le monde est fait de contrastes, mais nous sommes semblables à de multiples égards. Nous travaillons, nous mangeons, nous dormons. Et nous connaissons tous l’espoir, l’amour, la peur et la souffrance.

Qu’est-ce qui a été le plus dur pour vous?

Le plus dur a été de prendre soin des personnes brûlées. Elles souffraient tellement, physiquement et psychologiquement.

Et le plus gratifiant?

Cela faisait tellement longtemps que j’avais ce projet en tête, c’est un rêve qui est devenu réalité, tout simplement. Changer la vie des gens s’est révélé incroyablement gratifiant. Cette expérience a dépassé toutes mes attentes. J’adorerais recommencer.

The universal language of caring

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 14:07

Julie Sparkes with a young patient in China.

By Fabienne Landry, McGill University Health Centre

Julie Sparkes, a nurse from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) recently traveled to China with a medical team to do what she does best: care for patients recovering from surgery. During her two-week mission, she helped dozens of patients go through life-changing operations. Sparkes shared her story of inspiration, compassion and fulfillment with us.

What was your main motivation for doing this kind of trip?

For many years I wanted to go somewhere in the world and be helpful with a medical mission. I wanted to share my experience with people who don’t have the opportunity to receive specialized health care.

How did you end up being part of this medical mission to China?

On New Year’s Eve my husband asked me what I’d like to do this year. My answer was immediately I’d love to go on a medical mission.

I went online and found an organization called Education Medical Aid and Service (EMAS), which sends medical teams all over the world for two-week periods of time. I applied and was accepted to this surgical mission, along with a team of 50 healthcare workers, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and more. Most of them are Chinese Canadians and have been doing this for 20 years, completely at their own expense.

What kind of patients did the team help?

We performed numerous cleft lip surgeries for young boys and girls, and even for a 40-year-old woman. This is a life changing surgery, since this malformation affects their speech, eating and even social lives as they are sometimes rejected by their community.

We also treated children with severe burns. They came from a poor community in the mountains where families live in small homes with an open fire to keep warm and to cook. Some young children are unaware of danger and literally crawl into the fire. When they survive the burn, they are often horribly disfigured and have contractures [a scar that pulls their skin and restricts normal movement]. They need a skin graft to release the scar and regain more function.

What was a typical day for the team?

The first day, we had to organize the supplies we brought from Canada for the 50 surgeries we were going to perform. On the other days, we’d have team meetings at 6 a.m., be dispatched in one of three hospitals, given our assignments, and later we’d meet up for dinner.

What was your role? 

My role was caring for recovering patients, like I do at the MUHC. This includes making sure patients have medication for pain if required, ensuring they are breathing well, and observing the wound to make sure there is no bleeding. I also assisted in the operating room (OR) I was very concerned about that because that’s not what I am used to and I have even fainted once. Thankfully that didn’t happen [laughing]! I really did whatever I was capable of doing. You do whatever it takes when you have limited staff.

How did you prepare?

I attended team meetings prior to the trip, but I must say that my 25 years of experience were my best preparation. What I did not have though was experience in pediatric recovery. So I was very thankful for my colleagues at the Montreal Children’s Hospital for allowing me to come for one day and observe the recovery of children post cleft palate surgery.

Was language an obstacle?

Language didn’t matter a lot, mainly because the majority of our team members did speak mandarin. Even if local people spoke a dialect of mandarin, they could usually find a way to understand each other. When I was by myself, I pointed a lot and I could ‘’read’’ patients to see whether they were in pain or not by observing cardiac rhythm and other signs. When I had time, I would also try to interact with the kids in no medical way. They were often impressed with my blonde hair!

What do you like about this work?

As a nurse I feel like we have the privilege to establish a very intimate relationship with people in a very short period of time. We have to connect quickly with people in order to be able to help them. It doesn’t matter where you are, care is the same. It’s a big world, but people are similar in many ways. We work, we eat, we sleep. And we all know about hope, love, fear and pain.

What was the hardest thing? 

The hardest thing was seeing the burned patients, who feel so much pain — physical and psychological pain.

And the most gratifying?

I wanted to go on a trip like this for such a long time and it was honestly like a dream come true. It was incredibly gratifying to literally change peoples’ lives. The experience more than met my expectations. I’d love to go back.

Le James Bookstore opens on Parc

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 13:46

By Bianca Barbucci

The McGill Bookstore, now called Le James Bookstore, has moved from its McTavish Street location and has opened its first new location as of Monday, Aug. 22.

Located at 3544 avenue du Parc (between Milton and Prince-Arthur), this academic store will offer Course Materials and Lab Supplies, General Books, Stationery and other things students need for class, including a used book buyback service. Hours of operation will be: Aug. 22-31 (Monday-Friday) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sept. 1-24, (Monday-Friday) 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Continuing Studies Course Materials will be sold at 680 Sherbrooke Street in the basement level. The operating hours will be September 1-24 (Monday-Friday) 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New pick-up locations for online purchases

The bookstore revamped its web store to include more products and features. As usual, students can order books online simply by entering their course code and selecting from a list of course materials. The bookstore is introducing the added convenience of picking up online purchases at one of four locations during the busy fall period. These are:

  • Parc Ave. store: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m.- 8 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. (September 1 – 24)
  • Plus two additional temporary locations from August 26 to September 24, inclusively:
    • SSMU on McTavish Street, Room 435 (4th floor): Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
    • McIntyre Building, Room 340 (3rd floor): Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Gift and contest for anyone ordering online

The bookstore wants everyone to experience the convenience of ordering online and saving time. Everyone ordering their course materials online between August 22 and September 23 will get a free McGill water bottle (while supplies last), and a chance to get one of 10 prizes to win their books for free. Full contest details can be found at

The Le James Bookstore iis fully stocked and open for business. / Photo: Doug Sweet

The Parc Avenue store is only steps away from campus and there are several ways to access it whether by foot, bicycle or public transportation. To mark the opening, bookstore staff will be in various locations during back-to-school week (Aug. 29 to Sept. 2), handing out ballots to give students a chance to win one of three iPads.

Students can look for the bookstore staff at five key locations, pick up a ballot, fill it out and drop it in the ballot box at the Parc Ave. store. Ballot locations will be: at Service Point on McTavish Street, at the Milton Gates, outside the Carrefour Sherbrooke Residence on Sherbrooke Street, at the Roddick Gates and on Redpath Terrace. Full contest details can be found at

In terms of what else is going on at the bookstore, the second store, located on the corner of Sherbrooke and University, will open its doors in early October. Its primary focus will be to sell general merchandise and all McGill-branded products.

Finally, the trendy Le James pop-up store has been very popular throughout the summer and is still around on campus lower field. For back-to-school, it will have stationery, backpacks etc. Open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.





McGill students receive Canada’s largest STEM scholarship

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 11:55

Abtin Ameri (left) and Mana Moshkforoush have each been awarded a prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship.

By McGill Reporter Staff

Ontario high school student Abtin Ameri and Mana Moshkforoush of British Columbia have been named McGill’s recipients of the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships.

Created in 2011 by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, this annual scholarship program encourages promising high school graduates to embrace the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in their future careers. This year, there were over 1,500 Schulich Leader Nominees from across Canada vying for 50 new scholarships valued up to $80,000 each. Since inception, 220 students have received this celebrated scholarship.

Abtin Ameri, 18, is a recipient of the $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Bloor Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ameri will be entering McGill’s engineering program this fall. Ameri was selected for his outstanding academic record as well as his many accomplishments in the field of science. He was ranked fifth in a national Canadian Association of Physicists exam and went on to compete at the national level for the Canadian Physics Olympiad. He was also the first student to give a lecture in the Popular Science Lecture series at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“Winning this prestigious scholarship means the world to me,” says Ameri. “It provides me with a jump start when it comes to taking advantage of new and exciting opportunities, and also allows me to fully focus on and pursue my education and extracurricular activities. I look forward to being part of the McGill community.”

Mana Moshkforoush, 18, is a recipient of the $60,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. A graduate of Duchess Park Secondary School in Prince George, BC, Moshkforoush will be entering the Faculty of Science’s Biological, Biomedical & Life Sciences program at McGill this fall. Moshkforoush was selected for her excellence in academic achievement as well as her diverse accomplishments including a fundraising initiative to support global health, and a month-long stint as a volunteer English teacher in a remote village in the Middle East.

“McGill had always been my top choice university but seemed almost out of reach because of the expenses of residence and travel from BC,” says Moshkforoush. “Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled and humbled to realize that I would be attending with the aid of the Schulich Leader scholarship.”

“It is very important that we support exceptional students who demonstrate great leadership and embrace STEM fields,” said Schulich. “It is an investment not only in their future, but the future of our country. Their pursuits are sure to lead to key innovations in the years ahead.”

About Schulich Leader Scholarships

Schulich Leader Scholarships are prestigious entrance scholarships awarded to high school graduates enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at participating universities in Canada and Israel. Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established this $100 million scholarship fund in 2011 to encourage our best and brightest students to be the next pioneers of global scientific research and innovation. This program awards 100 scholarships annually, valued at more than $5.5 million. Schulich Leaders can devote their full time and attention to their studies, as all of their financial needs are covered over the course of their degree. As a result, many of our highest potential students are winning these scholarships and will make great contributions to society.

Learn more about the impact of the Schulich Leader Scholarships at McGill by watching the video below

Des étudiants de l’Université McGill reçoivent la plus importante bourse d’études canadienne pour poursuivre une carrière en STIM

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 11:50

Abtin Ameri (gauche) et Mana Moshkforoush ont été sélectionnés par McGill pour recevoir les prestigieuses bourses d’études Schulich Leader.

Deux étudiants du secondaire, Abtin Ameri, de l’Ontario, et Mana Moshkforoush, de la Colombie-Britannique, ont été sélectionnés par l’Université McGill pour recevoir les prestigieuses bourses d’études Schulich Leader.

Créé en 2011 par l’homme d’affaires et philanthrope canadien Seymour Schulich, ce programme annuel de bourses d’études encourage les étudiants prometteurs de dernière année du secondaire à orienter leur carrière en STIM (science, technologie, ingénierie, mathématiques). Cette année, plus de 1 500 candidats Schulich Leader de partout au Canada convoitaient ces 50 bourses d’études pouvant atteindre 80 000 $ chacune. Depuis le début du programme, 220 étudiants au pays ont reçu cette bourse d’études prestigieuse.

Abtin Ameri, âgé de 18 ans, a reçu une bourse d’études Schulich Leader de 80 000 $. Diplômé du Bloor Collegiate Institute de Toronto, il commencera le programme en génie cet automne. Cet étudiant a été choisi en raison de ses réussites scolaires exceptionnelles, ainsi que ses nombreuses réalisations en science. Il s’est classé cinquième lors d’un examen national de l’Association canadienne des physiciens et physiciennes et a aussi pris part aux Olympiades canadiennes de physique. Il est également le premier étudiant à avoir prononcé une conférence dans le cadre de la série Popular Science que tient l’Hôpital St. Michael’s de Toronto.

« Cette bourse prestigieuse représente tellement à mes yeux », souligne Ameri. « Son obtention me servira de tremplin pour tirer parti de possibilités nouvelles et passionnantes, et me permettra de me consacrer pleinement à mes études et activités parascolaires. Je me réjouis de faire partie de la communauté mcgilloise. »

Mana Moshkforoush, âgée de 18 ans, a reçu une bourse d’études Schulich Leader de 60 000 $. Diplômée de l’école secondaire Duchess Park, de Prince George, en Colombie-Britannique, elle commencera le programme de sciences biologiques, biomédicales et de la vie de la Faculté des sciences cet automne. Elle a été choisie en raison de l’excellence de ses réussites scolaires, ainsi que de ses réalisations diverses, dont une initiative de collecte de fonds au profit de la santé mondiale et le mois qu’elle a passé dans un village reculé du Moyen-Orient en tant qu’enseignante bénévole d’anglais.

« Mon premier choix a toujours été l’Université McGill, mais il me semblait presque inaccessible à cause des dépenses liées au logement et au voyage depuis la Colombie-Britannique », confie Moshkforoush. « Il va sans dire que j’ai été ravie et reconnaissante d’apprendre que je pourrais y étudier grâce à une bourse Schulich Leader. »

« Il est très important de soutenir les étudiants exceptionnels qui démontrent beaucoup de leadership et optent pour une carrière en STIM », a déclaré Seymour Schulich. « Il s’agit non seulement d’un investissement dans leur futur, mais également d’un investissement dans l’avenir de notre pays. Leurs ambitions nous mèneront assurément à des découvertes clés au cours des prochaines années. »

À propos des bourses d’études Schulich Leader

Les bourses d’études Schulich Leader sont des bourses d’admission prestigieuses remises à des étudiants de dernière année du secondaire ou du cégep qui désirent poursuivre un baccalauréat en sciences, en technologie, en ingénierie ou en mathématiques (STIM) dans une université participante au Canada ou en Israël. Conscient de l’importance et de l’impact croissants des disciplines STIM sur la prospérité des générations futures, l’homme d’affaires et philanthrope Seymour Schulich a établi un fonds de 100 millions $ en 2011 pour soutenir les étudiants les plus brillants afin qu’ils deviennent les prochains pionniers de l’innovation et de la recherche scientifiques à l’échelle mondiale. Dans le cadre de ce programme, 100 bourses d’études totalisant plus de 5,5 millions $ sont remises annuellement. Les Schulich Leaders peuvent ainsi consacrer tout leur temps et leur attention à leurs études, car leurs besoins financiers sont comblés lors de leur baccalauréat. Ainsi, plusieurs étudiants parmi les plus prometteurs qui gagnent ces bourses apporteront une grande contribution à la société.

You can’t get there from here – Part II

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 11:17

The corner of McTavish and Dr. Penfield./ Photo: Neale McDevitt

By Doug Sweet

As McGill girds for the start of another fall term next week (move-in weekend is on Saturday and Sunday), it faces some significant challenges in terms of the movement of people, vehicles and stuff.

The continuing major construction projects ordered by the City of Montreal to replace aging infrastructure and prepare the Promenade Urbaine Fleuve-Montagne walkway that will pass through the downtown campus have brought dust, noise, frustration, confusion and exasperation to many corners of the campus. Many are concerned that the influx of roughly 30,000 students next week will make an already difficult situation intolerable.

The view along Sherbrooke Street from McTavish. / Photo: Neale McDevitt

But University personnel have been meeting and working with officials from the City of Montreal, the SPVM (police service) and contractors to try to improve the flow of pedestrian traffic into the campus, make construction sites safer and find ways to minimize disruptions to the extent possible.

Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning) Ollivier Dyens issued a message to students on Tuesday, Aug. 23, outlining some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to navigating McGill from now until next May.

Here some of his tips to help you cope and be safe:

  • Give yourself extra time to get to your classes, especially if you have to cross one of the streets under construction. Professors are being asked to be lenient with those late for class, especially in the early weeks of the term.
  • Don’t drive. Leave your car at home or park it well away from the downtown campus. Take public transit, walk or ride your bike.
  • Don’t chain your bike to fences surrounding construction sites. The fences are often moved and your bike could be damaged or its lock cut off to allow movement of the fences.
  • Obey all signs and instructions from police. These construction sites can be very dangerous.
  • Stay on designated pathways to cross the street and navigate north-south. McTavish, in particular, is very difficult to navigate.
  • Once on campus, look for people in bright red McGill t-shirts for assistance and keep your eye out for signs that will point you to key locations, such as Service Point on McTavish.
  • The presence of security personnel will also be increased. Don’t hesitate to approach them at any time if you need assistance.
  • If you’re driving into the City, keep an eye on this website for updates about Montreal road construction, which is happening city-wide.
  • For updates on the construction projects on or around campus, have a look at this website.
  • If you notice anything out of the ordinary or that could potentially affect your safety or that of others, you can reach Security Services at 514-398-3000 or

Construction on McTavish is particularly extensive. / Photo: Neale McDevitt

“Above all, be patient, keep calm and carry on,” Dyens said. “We’re stuck with this City of Montreal road construction for several months. The University is in close touch with the City to try to minimize the disruption, but these are massive infrastructure improvement projects and they will be noisy, dusty and inconvenient.”

As part of the work required to create the City’s signature Promenade Urbaine Fleuve-Montagne project to mark next year’s 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal, the extensive roadwork is taking place on Sherbrooke and McTavish streets and Dr. Penfield Ave.

The big picture looks like this:

  • Sherbrooke St., from University St./Robert Bourassa Blvd. to Peel St., is being ripped up to redo sidewalks and curbs as well as replace sewer, water and gas mains and other infrastructure. At least one lane of traffic will be open in each direction. Bus stops may be moved. The Macdonald Campus shuttle bus stop has been moved to in front the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building at 527 Sherbrooke.
  • McTavish St., from Sherbrooke to Dr. Penfield and from Dr. Penfield to Pine Ave. will be rebuilt and reshaped to install a more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure while maintaining access for emergency vehicles.
  • Dr. Penfield Ave. will be rebuilt from Peel St. eastward. A major portion of that work will involve digging into the street at the intersection of McTavish (eliminating the stone steps on the south side of the street at McTavish and replacing some aged infrastructure). Much of this work will involve jackhammering through approximately about 1.2 to 1.5 metres into rock. This noisy work is especially resonant in the Leacock and Brown buildings.

“The University will monitor the situation and determine on an ongoing basis whether ameliorative action is necessary, for example if classes are disrupted by the noise,” said Registrar and Executive Director of Enrolment Services Kathleen Massey.

The intersection of Peel and Dr. Penfield. / Photo: Neale McDevitt