Message from the Head of School

It is with pleasure that I pen my first Melbourne Medical School (MMS) Newsletter. The newly configured MMS formally began operations on 1 January this year and I commenced a month later. Thus, in many ways this missive is rather late. Despite this tardiness, I am pleased to report the substantial progress we have made within this new school as well as some recent achievements.

I am keen that this newsletter provides all of our MMS staff with a regular update on our activities.

My first important item for report is the appointment of Ms Grace Sanna as the MMS manager. Grace has had substantial experience in the tertiary sector including as a Faculty General Manager at Swinburne University. She has arrived with great energy, enthusiasm and skills and I know she will serve the MMS well.

The MMS is substantially different to 12 months ago.  We have new consolidated Departments of Medicine, Radiology and Surgery and we also have a new Department of Medical Education. These three Departments join Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, General Practice, Psychiatry and Rural Health to form the eight departments of the new MMS.

This new structure has required new governance arrangements. These have been endorsed recently by the MMS executive and include a cabinet style executive and five committees (Research and Research Training, MD, Graduate Programs and Executive Education, Precinct and Engagement as well as Operations).

The MMS executive recently participated in a facilitated planning conference in which four guiding principles were established in regard to our strategy.

First, that all activities of the MMS will be consistent with our mission, which is that

We are committed to working with the communities we serve to improve health and advance health care. We will do this through our teaching, learning, research, clinical care and advocacy and all behaviours are consistent with our values of commitment, integrity, compassion, respect and service.

Second, that the MMS will invest in people. I will talk more about this in future newsletters.

Third, that MMS would actively participate and influence Faculty and University activities.

Fourth, the MMS will collate and analyse the best data to plan our strategy.

I intend to report in more detail on our strategic and tactical thinking, in particular, as part of my next newsletter.

The crucial work of the MMS has, of course, continued as we develop and implement new structures and governance arrangements. A key feature of our School is our research and this is fuelled to a substantial extent by category 1 funding. Pleasingly, the recent National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant round yielded 16 new grants (up from 12 last year) with a total funding of $15.7 million (up from $9.3 million last year). This is an impressive result and I congratulate all of our successful project grant winners.

The yearly promotion round is another key outcome for the MMS each year. I am delighted to congratulate the six newly promoted professors in the MMS. These are Lisa Bourke,Helmut Butzkueven, Sharon Goldfield, Carol Harvey, Christopher Hovens, Meredith Temple-Smith and Kumar Visvanathan. I was particularly pleased to see greater gender equity in this outcome.

The end of the year also brings the annual teaching cycle to an end and I thank all of you who have contributed so effectively to all our teaching efforts this year – it is very much appreciated.

To conclude, I wish you all seasons greetings as well as a happy and restful holiday. I look forward to working with you in 2016.