November 2023 SFU Medical School Update

November 01, 2023

As SFU Medical School (SFUMS) planning and development progresses, read on for a quick update about what happened over the last month.

Fraser Health establishes co-regional medical lead role for the medical school

In November, Fraser Health physicians Dr. Navreen Gill and Dr. Anastasia Neufeld will take on the shared role of co-regional medical lead, SFU Medical School. This role is critical to strengthening the partnership and planning between Fraser Health and SFUMS, particularly in physician engagement and clinical instruction. Dr. Gill, a family physician who graduated from a rural family medicine residency at UBC Prince George, has a passion for teaching and is dedicated to the well-being of patients in diverse healthcare settings. Dr. Neufeld, an ophthalmologist and educator, is an SFU alumna (joint major in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and Business Administration) who obtained her MD from UBC, completed her ophthalmology residency at Dalhousie University and undertook a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the prestigious Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah.

The latest on research engagement and upcoming activities

Over the past few weeks, Associate Vice-President, Research pro tem, Valorie Crooks, has heard from faculty and groups about their hopes, ideas and thoughts for developing an outstanding research presence in the medical school. Activities included a conversation with the SFU Library that introduced the idea of a medical maker space, a meeting with Fraser Health and SFU Information Technology (IT) leaders that emphasized the need for harmonious research data management systems and a visit to the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine to explore its research institute structure. In November, Valorie is coordinating a roundtable dialogue with Fraser Health and various SFU partners to explore integrating sustainability thinking and planetary health perspectives into directions for medical school research leadership.

She has also accepted invitations for other exploratory conversations, including a meeting in early December with interested members from the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Valorie openly invites all members of the SFU community to share research-related thoughts, request a meeting, or participate in a planning event by contacting her directly at

Dr. Adams speaks at White Rock-South Surrey Division of Family Practice AGM

In October, Dr. Evan Adams was a guest speaker at the White Rock-South Surrey Division of Family Practice's annual general meeting. In addition to providing an update on the medical school's planning and progress, Dr. Adams had an opportunity to share some of his thoughts on important issues related to Indigenous health and medical education. He advocated for the concept of two-eyed seeing (suggesting everyone is capable of developing an Indigenous eye), for more compassionate student support in medical education and for course topics such as land-based learning, building a professional identity and integrating ceremony and culture into practice that would be of benefit to Indigenous learners and, ultimately, Indigenous patients.

Do you have a medical administration grant idea worth $1 million?

The Canadian Medical Association, MD Financial Management and Scotiabank® are offering $10 million in grants through the Health Care Unburdened Grant program. If you have ideas for how to streamline administrative work, improve the efficiency of processes or practices or reimagine resources and teams to reduce administrative burdens, this grant program could turn your idea into ways to save precious time and improve patient care. To be eligible, your team must include a physician or medical learner registered in Canada. For more information or to apply, please get in touch with The internal SFU deadline is November 30.

Join the dialogue on social responsibility in medical education

The 2023 Semester in Dialogue cohort is excited to announce an upcoming public dialogue, "Shaping Tomorrow's Doctors: Fostering Social Responsibility in Medical Education," at SFU's Harbour Centre on November 27 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. This event aims to dive deeper into a set of guiding principles for medical education and imagine how they can be operationalized in the future. The event is open to everyone, including healthcare professionals, students, faculty members and the wider community interested in medical education. It will be an opportunity for you to contribute your thoughts on the medical schools we need for the wellbeing of our communities. Please register to participate here.

New team members joining the medical school in October, November

A few more new team members are new to the SFUMS team. The team welcomes Stephanie Jackson, Courtney Brown and Nusaibah Husain, who are coming aboard in October and November as administrative coordinators, providing a range of administrative, financial, logistical and operational support to the team and bringing extensive post-secondary sector experience in administration, project management and program coordination from not only SFU but also UBC, BCIT and the University of Windsor. Maya Piddocke also joins the team as Director, Interim Facilities. Maya is currently Manager, Special Project/Shrum Intervention Lead in the Faculty of Science. She will split her time between this role and the medical school, leading interim facility planning for equipment, infrastructure and space.

In addition, the search for the founding dean continues, and the search committee has finalized the position description and candidate profile. Both are available here.

October survey results and this month's quick survey question

Thanks to everyone who weighed in over the last month on the most important quality or attribute future physicians should possess. The overwhelming frontrunners were compassion and empathy.

In this month's survey, we want to know: What is the ONE most important skill or ability medical students who will serve diverse populations in B.C. communities should have?

Participating is quick and anonymous, and we'll share the results with you next month. Take the survey here.