Dean's update - May 2018


It is an honour to be asked to serve as interim dean, and a daunting prospect to do so following the distinguished deanship of Jim Rush. I am grateful for the kind words of welcome and encouragement I have received.

In his last update as dean, Jim Rush expressed his best wishes for a continuing story of future successes for AHS, recognizing the great strengths we have as a Faculty. As interim dean, I will do what I can to support the efforts of our students, staff and faculty to continue that story of leadership by AHS.

An important way that our Faculty is showing leadership is in relation to our University’s priority for student mental health. The university president has called for an in-depth conversation on this issue, and the Final Report of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health was released in February. Thank you to all AHS members who participated on this committee and its related panels: Jim Rush, Chris Perlman, Kalpita Gaitonde, Margaret McBeath, Alaaddin Sidahmed, Jerrica Little, Stephen Prentice, Alison Kernoghan, Prabhjot Sangha, Danielle Brandow, Bailee Walls-Guertin, Saad Ahmad, and Yuna Chen. John Hirdes is leading the team charged with implementing the recommendations of that report across the University.  

In our Faculty, we have an Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Well-being, chaired by Chris Perlman, and you will have noticed the many events and activities that Amy Bicknell and the Graduate Student Subcommittee of that group are organizing. In addition to these leaders, our Faculty has a depth of expertise relevant to promoting mental health and well-being, and to building healthy communities. A priority for me in my time as interim dean will be to support our Faculty’s efforts to improve student mental health, both within our community and across the University.


Highlights I Events I Nominations and more

Some highlights from this month

You @ Waterloo Day welcomed prospective students

AHS volunteers chat with visitorsHundreds of prospective undergraduate students who have received offers of admission to the Faculty visited campus last Saturday and toured AHS and other facilities. Thanks to all the volunteers who made the day possible and to all the ambassadors who gave tours and shared their personal experiences. Often, these intangible interactions become the decision-makers for students. You @ Waterloo is the final open house day before the June 1 deadline to accept offers of admission.

Help shape health and well-being policy

Poster for the CIW surveyThe Canadian Index of Wellbeing, based here in the Faculty, is conducting a large-scale Waterloo Region well-being survey on behalf of 16 partner agencies in the region. The results will help inform policies and shape services and supports for all residents. It’s a great chance to share your insights about how to improve your life and the lives of people in our community. The survey closes July 6.

Expertise database needs your review

University of Waterloo logoThe central Media Relations office has set up a new Expertise portal that media and other stakeholders can use to easily find experts on various subjects. This is just a reminder to faculty members to review your information by checking the link that you received by email from Media Relations. Please reply with any corrections to that email, or contact Eugenia Xenos Anderson if you have other questions.

Gender equity and pre-tenure women at UWaterloo

A team of researchers, including Corey Johnson, Ellen MacEachen, Sally Guntz and Rashmee Singh, have concluded their HeForShe grant study on “Why women do or do not access available accommodations (disability, mental health, parental/maternal leave, etc.) at UWaterloo. More than 20 women were interviewed and the team is finalizing an analysis to present to the University community. AHS HeForShe sponsored a workshop in April, in conjunction with FAUW’s tenure and promotion workshops, to present the findings and get recommendations. Thank you to the 35 people who attended.

Excellence Award for AHS Expansion Building

The AHS Expansion Building and contractors Melloul-Blamey received a Building Excellence Award from the Grand Valley Construction Association, which honours the accomplishments of its member firms at an annual gala awards night. Melloul-Blamey has passed the plaque along to us, and we will be displaying it in the building.

UbiLab wins national Healthy Behaviour Data Challenge

Plinio Morita's Ubiquitous Health Technology Lab (UbiLab), which is housed in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, was one of three $25,000 winners of the Healthy Behaviour Data Challenge, hosted by the MaRS Discovery District and partners. The goal was to generate new methods of collecting and using data in public health monitoring. UbiLab’s entry, “Smart Home Tech for Public Health Surveillance,” will help the Public Health Agency of Canada gain real-time insights into health behaviours.

Ellen MacEachen named to new labour experts panel

School of Public Health and Health Systems Associate Director Ellen MacEachen was one of 14 members appointed from across the country to sit on a newly formed Labour Market Information Experts Panel. The panel will help the Labour Market Institute of Canada identify cross-Canadian priorities for the collection, analysis and distribution of labour market information, among other things.

Heather Keller receives Nutrition Care Champion award

Congratulations to Heather Keller, Kinesiology professor and Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition and Aging, on receiving the Nutrition Care Champion award for outstanding work in changing hospital nutrition care. The award was presented this month at the Canadian Nutrition Society annual conference in Halifax.

MAREP staff recognized for supporting age-friendly initiatives

Lisa Loiselle (at right) in the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) and Emily Lambe, who also worked at MAREP but is now at the Research Institute for Aging (RIA), accepted accolades from the City of Kitchener for the dedicated roles they played on the Kitchener Age-Friendly Advisory Committee. The Committee, along with the City of Kitchener, won an Ontario Age-Friendly Recognition Award for creating policies, plans and services to support older adults.

Ron Schlegel named K-W Citizen of the Year

Also worth noting in the 'awards received' category is Ron Schlegel, who recently accepted the Kitchener-Waterloo Citizen of the Year Award. Ron is a great friend of the Faculty and helped found the Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, now the School of Public Health and Health Systems. Read the story in The Record.

Upcoming events

Nature Walk and Talk: June 4

Get some fresh air at a Nature Walk and Talk event on June 4 from 12-1 p.m. Biology Professor Kirsten Müller will discuss some of the hidden life on campus as we stroll through nature. Free snack provided. Hosted by the AHS Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Well-being Graduate Student Subcommittee. Register at Diversity of Life Nature Walk and Talk.

AHS Convocation: June 12

Why not join our graduating students on their big day? The new Convocation website has a form you can use to sign up for the procession or to volunteer. We will be celebrating all the graduands, as well as the following recipients:

Dr. Sandra Black – Honorary Doctorate

Jasmine Bacola  Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal and Highest Academic Achievement (SPHHS)
Brianna Hanson  AHS Alumni Gold Medal and Highest Academic Achievement (KIN)
Jessica Spence – Highest Academic Achievement (RLS)
Caitlin McArthur – University Finalist for the Governor-General's Gold Medal

Krista McKerracher (BSc '84, Health Studies) – Alumni Achievement Award recipient for significant professional accomplishments in her 30 years in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Rachel Thompson (BSc '15, Health Studies) – Young Alumni Award recipient and founder of Marlena Books, which publishes and sells dementia-friendly books to empower individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to continue reading.

Jennifer MacKinnon – Valedictorian

Hallman Lecture by Scott Russell: June 19

Scott RussellAward-winning CBC Sports broadcaster and author Scott Russell will give a talk titled “Building a Stronger Canada through Values-based Sport.” Please register in advance for this free event. Hosted by Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Video game gambling lecture: June 20

Mark Johnson from the University of Alberta and Tom Brock, Manchester Metropolitan University, will speak on “Loot Boxes: Video Game Gambling, Playing to Win, and the Question of Game Design." Hosted by Recreation and Leisure Studies, supported by the Hallman Foundation. Details coming soon on the Recreation Events page.

Mindfulness Monday yoga: June 25

Join us for a free Mindfulness Monday yoga session over the lunch hour (12-1 p.m.), organized by the Grad Student Subcommittee of the AHS Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Well-being. Check the Mindfulness Monday yoga event page for details and sign-up.

Lecture by new Schlegel Research Chair: June 26

welcome Carrie McAiney, the new Schlegel Research Chair in Dementia and Aging and associate professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, as she presents a public lecture at the Research Institute on Aging prior to joining the Faculty on July 1. She will share her research aimed at enhancing care experiences for persons living with dementia.

Self-compassion workshop: June 28

A Self-compassion workshop, featuring Allison Kelly from Psychology, has been organized by the Grad Student Subcommittee of the AHS Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Well-being. Check the Event page for locations and details.

Productivity workshop: June 29

The Writing Centre will engage participants in activities designed to help improve productivity. Free snack provided and prizes to be won. Hosted by the AHS Advisory on Mental Health and Well-being Graduate Student Subcommittee. Check the Event page for details and registration.

Nominations, awards and more

AHS Teaching Excellence Fund

The AHS Teaching Fellows recognize that innovative teaching and learning activities that go above and beyond the normal resources of the department may be prohibitive in nature because of an incurred cost to the instructor or class. To this end, the AHS Teaching Fellows have allocated funds in an effort to remove cost as a barrier to trying new, innovative teaching and learning activities. It is not too late for instructors to apply to the AHS Teaching Excellence fund for spring 2018. Details and the application form can be found on the Teaching Fellows website.

Paul Stolee

Enjoy the lovely weather,


Paul Stolee, PhD
Professor and Interim Dean 
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences