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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

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December 11, 2003


Dr. Ian Bowmer steps down as dean of medicine
Leaving on a positive note

By Sharon Gray

Dr. Ian Bowmer
Dr. Ian Bowmer

Dr. Ian Bowmer has guided the Faculty of Medicine over the last eight years during a time of significant growth and development.

“Our Faculty of Medicine is the smallest in the country but we have had tremendous successes in research funding and have attracted vibrant new faculty. Our undergraduate program is in full compliance with the accreditation standards of LCME/CACMS, our graduate program has more than doubled, and our Office of Professional Development has become a national leader. And we have twice won the prestigious Keith Award from the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada for the best rural family practice residency training in the country.”

Dr. Bowmer is particularly proud of the collaborations that have developed between the Faculty of Medicine and the province’s health care boards and the Department of Health and Community Services. Another important partnership activity is with industry, and the success of that is evidenced by the establishment of a Marketing Office within the Faculty and an increase in external research funding.

“Research funding has almost doubled with $9.6 million external research funding in 2002-03, with over $5 million from peer reviewed sources and the remainder coming from industry. Overall our external funding represents one-fifth of the external funding for the entire university.”

Dr. Bowmer points to the Faculty Retreat in November, 2002, as a significant landmark in setting new directions for the faculty. Specifically, a commitment has been made to integrate distributed learning into all aspects of the undergraduate medical curriculum.

“Distributed learning is based on the premise that learning is flexible and the curriculum can be delivered in different and multiple educational settings and in different formats,” he explained. “This has been a long-standing philosophy of our medical school and in proposing a move to greater distributed learning we are talking about an evolution in the curriculum whereby learning follows the student wherever they go.

“In our current distributed learning curriculum, the student goes to a site and has an educational experience unique to that site. We would like to see the student also be able to explore learning opportunities that are part of the central curriculum, such as basic science, physiology and cardiology. While students are in one educational environment – for example, an elective or a community rotation – they could accomplish not only the curriculum for that rotation but also take all or part of other course material using technology-assisted learning such as lectures on the Web and tutorials through videoconferencing or in small groups at the community site.”

Dr. Bowmer has received several prominent awards for his work in medical education. Last July he was elected and inducted to the Royal College of Physicians of London; although he is not a member of the college, he was proposed for election because of his contribution to medicine and medical education. And this fall the Medical Council of Canada awarded him the Dr. Louis Levasseur Award for outstanding contributions towards the vision and mission of the MCC.

Among those acknowledging the work of the retiring dean is the Medical Graduate Student Society of Memorial, whose numbers grew from 56 to 190 during his tenure. “Thank you for your inspiration and guidance that have pushed the Medical Graduate Students Society forward so that we may in turn make our mark on the world,” said the society in a farewell message.

Although he has mixed feelings about stepping down as dean, Dr. Bowmer feels that the time is right to move on. He has been a faculty member at Memorial for more than 28 years, serving as chair of the Discipline of Medicine from 1986-95 and as dean since Jan 1, 1996. Following administrative leave, he plans to return to Memorial.

His final words as dean are ones of thanks. “Over my last eight years as dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University it has been my great honour to be a part of a team of faculty, staff and students who make our medical school such a success.”


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Next issue: January 8, 2003

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