Dean’s Message and Welcome

Dr. Dermot KelleherAs I reflect on the past five years, I am inspired by what we have accomplished together and energized by the possibilities for our future. With our vision as the aim, guided by our values and commitments, we strive for excellence—in everything we do.

It has been a difficult time for society, and I am struck by the extraordinary efforts of our health-care community members who stepped up to meet this challenge with commitment and compassion. With hope for the future, we find motivation in this experience to redouble our efforts towards health and well-being for all.

Despite the substantial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued to implement our strategic plan, Building the Future: 2016-2021, in new and innovative ways. As a world-leading Faculty of Medicine, we have seen what can be accomplished at an accelerated pace—translating research findings to benefit people and populations, innovating to safely deliver outstanding educational experiences, enhancing collaboration across the health sector, and finding new ways of working together while apart.

This refreshed strategic plan continues our focus on making a positive impact on society, and for society. It builds on the success of our previous plan, and on the foundation laid by our learners, faculty and staff who have exemplified the excellence for which UBC is known worldwide. Looking through the lens of our new context and ambitions for the future, we consulted broadly, analyzed our progress, and considered other timely and influential documents to update our goals and strategies for the next five years in each of the pillars: Education, Research, Organization and Partnership.

Alongside our externally-focused commitments, which make up our contract with society, we are now taking a new look internally, to our organization and our people. We stand firm in our conviction that racism and discrimination of any kind have no place in our community. Respect, equity, diversity and inclusion—these aren’t just words made popular by repetition. They are in fact central to excellence in our Faculty, and if they are absent our ability to deliver is diminished.

Dr. Dermot Kelleher in conversation with medical students and Dr. John Pawlovich
UBC medical students share their first-hand experiences in learning cultural safety and humility in Indigenous health care with Dean Dermot Kelleher and John Pawlovich, a clinical professor and medical director with Carrier Sekani Family Services in northern B.C.In its Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, the Faculty is deeply committed to taking the steps needed to bring about change, including doing our part to help develop educational and health‑care systems that are equitable, culturally‑safe and free of Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination.

When people, irrespective of background or status, feel free—in fact, encouraged—to express ideas and take risks, we all benefit from the results. With more ideas from diverse perspectives, we produce a more effective academic community with enormous benefits for health and for society.

We must aim to be an organization in which everyone can thrive, where learners can achieve their full potential and carry a spirit of humility and service into their work, where researchers focus on solving important and relevant health questions, and where partnership and collaboration create inter-organizational communities. It is through these commitments to inclusion that we can achieve even greater impact locally, nationally and globally.

Central to fulfilling our contracts with society and with ourselves is our commitment to implementing our Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. By doing so in partnership, we will: contribute to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, improve diversity and inclusion in the Faculty, and eliminate Indigenous‑specific racism in the health‑care system by embedding practices of cultural safety and humility in order to achieve health equity.

I am grateful for the monumental efforts of everyone in our Faculty community, including our partners. So many of you engaged in this strategic planning process, and we will continue this collaborative approach as we shift our focus to concrete action.

This refreshed strategic plan requires us to think, learn, and work in new and creative ways, and we know the path won’t always be smooth. With humility and respect for ourselves and for one another, a mindset of learning and growth, and the conviction to hold ourselves—and to be held—accountable, we can transform health for everyone.

Professor, Department of Medicine
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice-President, Health
The University of British Columbia

Building the Future: 2021-2026 is the refreshed strategic plan for UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.

Special thanks to all the faculty, staff, students and partners across the province who have contributed to the development of this plan.