As classes wrap up and exams begin, I know this is a busy time for all. With that in mind, there are a few brief news items I would like to call your attention to:

In December, two undergraduate student fellowship/award opportunities will be announced for the spring term. Both the RBC Fellowship, administered in AHS, and the NSERC – USRA (University Student Research Awards) will be open for applications. Watch for email notifications and updates to the AHS website in the coming days.

I’m saddened to share that Elliott Avedon, Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies and founder of the University of Waterloo’s Museum and Archive of Games, died on Monday November 21. In addition to his significant academic contributions, Elliott will be remembered for leading the formation of the RLS graduate studies program – the first of its kind in Canada. He served as Associate Dean of Computing in the Faculty for eight years and contributed to the reputation of the University of Waterloo as a leading institution for information technology and computer science. He retired in 1995 as Professor Emeritus. There will be a private ceremony in the U.S. for family and close friends. Donations on behalf of Elliott may be made to the Sarasota Opera, one of his favourite local arts organizations.

Last week the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) launched its third national report: How are Canadians Really Doing? The report found that while Canada’s economy has recovered from the 2008 recession, our well-being has not. In 2014, household spending on culture and recreation was at its lowest point in over two decades. As a country, we are spending less time away on vacation or participating in leisure and cultural activities. The report shatters the myth that economic growth translates into well-being and also reinforces the importance of the work we do as a Faculty to enhance health and well-being across the life course.  

Two members of the AHS advancement team are leaving the Faculty to accept new positions on campus. Mari-Beth Davis, our Alumni Advancement Officer (who was away on secondment the last year), has accepted the position of Donor Relations Officer with the Faculty of Engineering and Melanie Hannaford is moving to the Library as its new Office Administrator. Thanks are extended to both Mari-Beth and Melanie for their significant contributions during their time in AHS. We will look to fill these vacancies in the coming weeks.

Earlier this month, the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program hosted Hack4Health 2.0. The two-day event generated ideas for practical applications to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Winning concepts included a low-profile bracelet providing a display of the current state of household devices (windows open, doors unlocked) and a personalized medicated transdermal patch based on specific medication plans. A full list of ideas and winners is posted online.

As Waterloo works on developing its first Environmental Sustainability Strategy, all students, staff, and faculty are invited to provide feedback on how we can build a greener campus. Please take a moment to complete the online survey and help shape the campus’ goals, objectives, and actions.

A few weeks ago I joined a University delegation on a trip to Hong Kong. From a relationship building perspective the trip was extremely successful. I met with a philanthropic foundation with possible interests in funding a project involving AHS researchers, paid a reciprocal visit to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park and Hong Kong University, and attended a dinner organized by the HK alumni chapter. I also was pleased to deliver an invited seminar entitled ‘Protecting and Promoting Health and Well-Being across the life course: A multidisciplinary perspective from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences” at the Sau Po Centre on Ageing at HKU. This was a fantastic opportunity to highlight, to an international audience, a variety of AHS researchers and projects having impact on changing the trajectory of functional ability declines over the life course. 

This month our undergraduate recruitment team hosted two Facebook live events for prospective students. The social media livestreams — a first for us — showcased our new building and allowed viewers to meet current students. You can watch one of the videos on the University of Waterloo Facebook page.

Last week, the University released its new State of the University Report, Beyond Innovation. The report tells Waterloo’s story through the journeys of 12 exceptional individuals, including AHS’ own Lora Giangregorio and co-op student Rachel McDonald. The report is also one of the first examples of Waterloo’s refined brand. For individuals creating presentations or promotional material, new information on on-brand typography, colour palettes and image styles is available on the updated brand website.

Finally, I invite you all to join me at the University Club on Tuesday December 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. for a reception to celebrate the holidays. Please RSVP to Bernice Ma by December 1 if you can attend the event.

Jim Rush.

Wishing everyone a successful end of the term,


James W.E. Rush, PhD
Professor and Dean 
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences