Message from the Chair: Everything will be OK in the end …


Published: 6Nov2019

Dear friends and colleagues,

As I prepare to pass the bâton to the new Chair, Dr. Marion Dove, the time has come for me to write my last message as Chair of our Department of Family Medicine.

I am extremely proud of what we, together, have accomplished over the last eight years. The McGill Department of Family Medicine has taken its place as an equal and respected academic partner in the Faculty of medicine and indeed in the entire University. We are perceived as dynamic and pioneering in all aspects of our work:

  • Our 7 University Family Medicine Groups (U-FMGs) that care for over 150,000 registered patients;
  • The biggest and most diverse McGill residency program with over 250 residents in 4 Quebec cities;
  • A rapidly developing Quality Improvement program in all of our 7 U-FMGs;
  • Deep involvement in undergraduate medical education, particularly with the Longitudinal Family Medicine Experience course;
  • A vibrant research and graduate studies program with over 15 PhD scientist-educators and 10 clinician-scientists and over 80 MSc, PhD and postdoctoral students;
  • An evolving McGill Family Medicine innovations in Learning program;
  • A groundbreaking online distance-blended program for our faculty members, the Faculty Development Curriculum, delivered both in English and French with the active participation of over 50% of our full-time clinician-educators;
  • An online distance-blended learning international education program for Family Medicine teachers in China, Brazil, France and Switzerland;
  • Global health projects and innovations in four continents on 4 continents;
  • A continuing professional development program that attracts more than 500 family physicians every year to its Refresher Course, which will be celebrating its 70th year in 2019.

I am well aware that we have had and continue to face many challenges, in particular the rather difficult four years under the previous provincial government with restricted resources, rapid top-down reforms with micromanagement, and denigration instead of respectful dialogue and discussion. Our accomplishments, because of that context, are all the more remarkable. I also know that many challenges remain, in particular the recruitment of an adequate number of clinician-teachers in our U-FMGs.

I am beyond honored to be associated with our achievements. However, all these successes could only have been achieved through collaborative efforts of all of you who care for patients, teach, do research, develop programs and initiatives and who take on leadership roles at all levels of the Department, the Faculty of Medicine and the University; and all of you involved in administration and support roles, such as coordinators and assistants; and our students and residents.

I want to acknowledge the work and dedication of our associate chairs, Drs. Marion Dove (Former Director Postgraduate Education and Residency Program) and Gillian Bartlett (Director, Grad Studies and Research), whose contributions have helped shape the Department’s reputation of academic excellence and innovation in care, teaching and research.

Additionally, I salute the strong leadership of Dr. Nathalie Moragues (Associate Director, Administration), for which I attribute the quality and efficiency of our administrative staff, as well as Rosa Coppola (Officer, Academic Affairs), the memory of our Department with whom I got to work alongside since the very beginning of my mandate as Chair.

Finally, and very importantly, I wish to thank Dr. David Eidelman, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, for his unwavering support for the development of our Department into a blossoming clinical and academic discipline.

I am truly blessed to have been able to fill this mandate. As you may have heard me say before, this position has been the most interesting and fulfilling I have had throughout my career. I will be now taking on responsibilities as the newly appointed Assistant Dean, International Affairs but will remain an active member in our Department.

I look forward to Dr. Dove’s leadership and vision as new Chair and wish her the utmost success in her new functions.

Dr. Howard Bergman MD, FCFP, FRCPC
Former Chair, Department of Family Medicine
Assistant Dean, International Affairs, Faculty of Medicine