Celebrating 60 Years of Outstanding Health Education and Leadership – Faculty of Health


Dal Health celebrates a milestone. In 1961, the Faculty of Health Professions was established at Dalhousie University when the College of Pharmacy partnered with the School of Nursing. This union became the first dedicated health faculty in Canada, starting with 107 students. More than half a decade later, the Faculty has become a national health innovation leader and research powerhouse. It was renamed the Faculty of health (Dal Health) on July 1, 2017, to reflect its expanded scope. From humble beginnings, Dal Health now comprises 10 academic units, nearly 300 faculty and staff, a student body of more than 3,000, and more than 25,000 committed alumni.

Back to the Deans of Health

There have been eight deans in the Faculty of Health over the past 60 years. We sat down with some of them to hear their thoughts on their time here and the journey so far.

(left-right) Dr. Brenda Merritt (2019-current, acting 2017-2018), Dr. Cheryl Kozey (acting 2018-2019), Dr. Alice Aiken (2016-2017), Dr. William Webster (2005-2016), Dr. Lynn McIntyre (1992-2005), (left-right) Dr Ron DeBurger (1988-1992), Dr Robert Tonks (1977-1988), Dr RM MacDonald (1962-1977).





Dr. Robert M. MacDonald


Dr. Alice Aiken


Dr. Robert Tonks


Dr. Brenda Merritt (interim)

2017 – 2018

Dr. Ron de Burger


Dr. Cheryl Kozey (Acting)

2018 – 2019

Dr. Lynn McIntyre


Dr. Brenda Merritt

2019 – ongoing

Dr William Webster


Challenges and Opportunities:

Dr William Webster“I encountered a general perception outside the Faculty that we had become insular and that the Schools at this time seemed to see themselves more as individual mini-Faculties, rather than a coordinated, integrated and collaborative collective. In 2005, when interprofessional education came on the map, it provided a way forward with the core mandate.

Dr. Lynn McIntyre on being responsible for 14 annual budgets and having to manage a budget reduction each year: “Resources were chronically lacking and I always thought that with just a little more investment, the Faculty could have skyrocketed (at that time).”

Dr. Brenda Merritt“During the pandemic, we quickly pivoted our operations to remote working via digital platforms. The learning curve was also steep, but the Faculty adapted quickly. Ensuring student progression and graduation of the degree in a timely manner were among the most challenging aspects of the pandemic. We also faced a complete closure of clinical and field rotations. Our leadership team and faculty members quickly moved from course content IPL to online learning platforms, creating space in the fall for the return of face-to-face skills labs and clinical training.We are very proud of our faculty, staff, and students for creating safe learning environments so our students can return to campus for essential skills labs face to face. Most of our students graduated on time, providing a steady stream of graduates to meet the workforce needs of the healthcare system.

The most rewarding aspects:

Dr. Alice Aiken“We brought in specific research funds from philanthropists and industry, helped increase grant-raising, and ensured that members of our community understood the value of the research we were doing. We have forged a strong partnership with the other health faculties and to this day, this partnership continues. Work with the entire Faculty to create and launch the Faculty of Health Strategic Plan (2017-2022) – a strategy that truly belongs to everyone. This strategy continues and has served the Faculty well.

Dr. Lynn McIntyre“The great attention, effort and marketing that has gone into recruiting wonderful new faculty members, and I have been very pleased to see how they have succeeded not only at Dalhousie, but across the country and across the -of the.”

Dr William Webster“The outstanding group of principals, dedicated to supporting and advancing their professional programs, but who also understood the importance of strengthening their programs by incorporating interprofessional learning experiences. The support staff, both in the schools and in the dean’s office, has been the one who has carried the faculty through very difficult budgetary times.Apart from being totally dedicated to the University, they have maintained charming, positive and optimistic attitudes .

Dr. Cheryl Kozey“Building momentum and solidifying the foundations of our outstanding researchers and research programs, including increased CRC stipends, a CIHR Indigenous Chair in Nursing, and space for our CRC in Indigenous Peoples Health and Wellness . This necessitated the appointment in record time of an interim Associate Dean for Research who was familiar with the research landscape.

Dr. Brenda Merritt“Our people at the Faculty of Health. Every day, I am grateful and amazed for the incredible work, innovation and dedication shown by our Faculty of Health community. I believe we truly care about our work, each other, and advancing the health of our communities. »

Accept change

Dr. Lynn McIntyre“I think we were ahead on many issues that are now accepted as best practices at the university: diversity in student and faculty recruitment; mandatory anti-racism workshops; internationalization of the curriculum; attention to bullying in the classroom and in the workplace; taking into account the professional aptitude of student health practitioners; and ethical research practices with highly vulnerable populations.

Dr. Alice Aiken“The Doctor of Health program has been a huge success and has contributed enormously to raising the research profile of the Faculty. In addition, the Faculty’s emphasis on EDIA in all areas, research, teaching and service, is remarkable.

Dr. Cheryl Kozey“Two things stand out. First, the Faculty’s continued leadership in EDIA initiatives inside and outside the University and the increased visibility of this work, including integration into teaching and learning and our research with African Nova Scotian, Indigenous and other communities that will be transformative as research progresses. community driven and directed. Secondly, many of the larger research initiatives have been carried out from foundational work and it is impressive to see the cross-fertilization between research areas to tackle major issues, including work related to the impact of COVID and with diverse and vulnerable communities.

Dr. Brenda Merritt“I see a collective commitment evolving towards our key strategic priorities – more and more, I feel like we are working as a synergistic team to advance our goals. We have created a forum for the open exchange of ideas, a willingness to speak truth to power, and an openness to use our collective knowledge and skills to address our priorities from many different angles.

With so much growth and advancement in just 60 years, the Faculty of Health looks forward to meeting the challenges of the future with continued collaboration, excellence in research and teaching, and a common goal to transform health at regional, national and international levels.


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