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Strategic Plan Refresh Retreat

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2012-2017 Strategic Plan

On Friday March 7th 2017, we gathered at the University Club to review the progress of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan and discuss future endeavours. Dean Trevor Young welcomed and congratulated the Department on its ability to achieve “efficiency in finite resources”, a testament to our success and creativity in the collaboration of talents within our own community. In this spirit, the Department of Surgery’s Strategic Plan 2018-2023 will be entitled Aspire, Advance, Achieve.

Ori Rotstein discussed the formal institution of a mentoring program for junior faculty members and its future expansion to include the Scientists. The Faculty Development Committee will implement a variety of strategies to target faculty wellness, increased diversity in the surgeon profile, and leadership opportunities.

Robin McLeod spoke about the Quality Committee’s accomplishments over the past five years, including hospital- wide guidelines and databases for identifying gaps in care. Future priorities will concentrate on knowledge translation, stakeholder involvement for widespread dissemination, and clinical trials.

As the recently appointed Vice -Chair of Education, Najma Ahmed discussed new priority areas for the next plan. Topics such as satisfaction in the undergraduate experience and its subsequent effect on choosing surgery as a career path will be addressed, as will the role of simulation and technology in clinical learning and practice. All of this in the setting of competency based education.

Michael Fehlings spoke to the ongoing successful contribution of our trainees and faculty in terms of grant capture, impact factor, and innovative knowledge generation. Moving forward, the Research Committee will focus on enhanced collaborative efforts between the Research Institutes and Hospitals, and the generation of interdisciplinary research. Shaf Keshavjee supported these ideas in congruency with the Innovation Committee’s action items, including increased peer support for commercial efforts and an educational exchange similar to Stanford’s Biodesign Innovation Fellowship.

While several of our faculty members and residents travel to low-income countries to develop capacity building in surgical skills, it is often performed in silos and independent of Departmental oversight. Avery Nathens talked about building a formal global surgery office with visible online presence, infrastructure, trainee programs, and philanthropic support over the next few years.

In addition to the pillar leads, Australian neurosurgeon Kate Drummond led an inspired presentation on women in surgery. She attributed her career satisfaction to mentors and peer support, and emphasized the importance of diversity in the workplace. Recommendations for a supportive environment include a cultural change with engaged management, educational outreach, and a complaints management system. To complement the discussion, Karen Devon presented a highly moving look into Intimate Partner Violence in the medical workplace. Guests were invited to contribute their own Department-specific suggestions, which will be reviewed and incorporated into the wellness domain of Faculty Development initiatives.

The day concluded with an exciting keynote address from Steve Williams, an animator and graphic designer whose most notable work includes pioneering the stop-motion animation techniques first utilized in the cinematic blockbuster, Jurassic Park. It was an inspiring reminder to push the conventional boundaries of problem solving.

As the Strategic Plan coordinator, I will facilitate committee meetings to further develop these ideas into defined goals and measurable activities. By the end of 2017, Aspire, Advance, Achieve: 2018-2023 will be complete, and ready for its January implementation. I look forward to building our new Strategic Plan with all of you. If we aspire on a lofty scale, we can advance, and we will achieve our goals in uncommon hours.

Joanna Giddens, MBA, BAH,
Strategic Plan Coordinator, Department of Surgery,
University of Toronto

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