Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine/La Societe canadienne d?histoire de la medecine, Waterloo 2012
President?s Report by Susanne Klausen
I am pleased to report that the Society has put into action the plan devised by our previous president, Peter Warren, and the Board of Directors before Peter?s sudden death in May 2011.
MOU between CSHM and AMS
As we all recall, two years ago Associated Medical Services (AMS) informed us that after nearly forty years of fulfilling the vision of AMS?s founder Dr Jason Hannah by supporting the Society, AMS will look instead to develop a more general Humanities program starting in 2013. As a consequence AMS will cease providing funds to the Society for the Bulletin and administrative costs.
This decision preoccupied the Board a great deal in 2011 and, thanks to Peter?s diplomacy and skill at negotiating, the Society and AMS agreed upon three years of transitional funding: in 2011 we received $25,000, in 2012 we will receive $20,000 and in 2013 we will receive $15,000.
Very importantly, AMS also agreed to continue funding the annual Paterson Lecture in the amount of $2,500 (for honorarium and expenses), which will enable us to continue to invite outstanding historians of medicine to our annual meetings. The AMS also agreed to continue to fund the Hannah Studentships program that offers four scholarships of $5,500 annually to exceptional undergraduates conducting research on the history of medicine.
In June 2011 James Moran on our behalf crafted the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that describes in detail AMS?s financial commitment to CSHM until 2013, and it has been approved by both organizations; AMS approved it in September 2011. Having the MOU in place has been a very important achievement for our Society, and I would like to sincerely thank James for handling this vital issue on my behalf while I was on sabbatical in South Africa.
AMS-CIHR Research Grants
The Board has continued to be deeply concerned about the availability of national funding for research in the History of Medicine, which has been moved from SSHRC to CIHR. AMS has decided it will not return to an in-house process of adjudicating and administering research grants. However, Peter urged AMS to consider other ways of continuing its research funding. To this end the Board formed a research committee in 2011, chaired by Pat Prestwich, to make recommendations to AMS and the committee did an excellent job at convincing AMS to consider funding research in conjunction with CIHR.
On January 21, 2012 I met with Bill Shragge, the late CEO of AMS, at Carleton University. Bill informed me that he had begun talks with CIHR about the prospect of developing a grants program for historians of medicine, with a focus on the history of patient-centered care. AMS, he told me, was open to giving money to CIHR if CIHR agreed to match said funds. At that time Bill was cautiously optimistic that AMS and CIHR would come to terms and he told me he had plans to continue his discussions with CIHR until June 2012 by which time AMS would want a decision by CIHR.
As we all know, there have been problems in the past with CIHR?s funding of historians: CIHR felt too few people apply for funds while applicants were very frustrated by the byzantine application process. In order to reinforce to CIHR the crucial importance of a grants program for historians during the period of negotiations between CIHR and AMS, Sasha Mullaly, the new chair of the Society?s Research Committee, and I met on March 2 with Dr. Jane Aubin, the new VP Research at CIHR. The meeting was very cordial and informative and Sasha will describe our discussion in her report.
Hannah Research Chairs
During my January meeting with Bill Shragge he also informed me that the second area of concern to which he was attending was the Hannah Research Chairs. Bill reported that the situation facing three of the five Hannah Chairs are, or soon will be, in flux: McMaster, University of Ottawa, and University of Western Ontario. The funding agreements signed when the AMS made the endowments for these positions transferred their management entirely to the relevant universities. Bill told me he was at that time engaged in discussions with the appropriate Chairs and Deans at the three universities to ensure that the new Hannah Chairs continue to be historians of medicine, and if necessary to remind them that the endowment agreements are clear that the funding is intended for the field of the history of medicine.
In September 2011, I drew up new guidelines and a timeline for the Hannah Studentships program, which was approved by both CSHM and AMS. I have attached the new guidelines as Appendix A. The process will, hopefully, make for a smoother and less onerous process of annually selecting and funding students for the scholarships. This year I chaired the selection committee that comprised Jayne Elliot, Sasha Mullaly, Lisa Smith and Leslie Baker. We received eight applications, most of which were extremely impressive and deserving of support. It was difficult to choose only four.
Bill Shragge agreed to be open to funding more than four students from time-to-time if the quality of the applicants should be exceptionally high. This year the selection committee felt there was a fifth student with an outstanding application and I requested AMS to fund the student but my request was declined. AMS is open to reconsidering the decision to fund only four summer studentships annually if, over time, a consistently greater number of high calibre students apply, therefore it is important for us to continue to urge excellent students to apply for these scholarships.
The Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin canadien d?histoire de la medicine
After the departure of Cheryl Warsh as editor of the Bulletin we have all witnessed and marveled at the rapidity with which the Bulletin?s two new co-editors, Jayne Elliot and Kristin Burnett, have taken over the reigns in the past year. Cheryl has provided much valuable help in the transition to the new editors and as a model editor. The Society owes Cheryl a big, huge thank you for all her excellent work at the Bulletin over the years. Kristin and Jayne offer a detailed report on the Bulletin?s finances and upcoming issues in their joint report.
I also wish to report that in February, at Jackie Duffin?s urging and with her help, I sent a letter to Dr. Genevieve Moineau, Vice President for Education and Secretary, CACMS/CACME, and the AAMC asking them to add a question to its Graduate Questionnaire (GQ) and Canadian Graduate Questionnaire (CGQ) about student satisfaction with the teaching of History of Medicine to medical students. As Jackie says, it is vital we continue to ensure medical students have the opportunity to learn the history of their profession.
As all of you may know by now, Bill Shragge passed away suddenly in April 2012. I was informed by Sheila McDougall of AMS that Bill had been ill with cancer for two years but only became symptomatic after Christmas. His death came as a major surprise to all of us. I have written a letter of appreciation of Bill to AMS on behalf of the Society. Bill had accepted our invitation to attend our AGM today. I invited Dorothy Pringle, the new CEO of AMS, who is a Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Nursing at University of Toronto, to come to our meeting today but she is unable to attend. She sends her greetings and the message that she looks forward to working with the Society in the coming year.
I would like to end by offering my sincere thanks to all those who helped the Society in the past year and me personally.
First, thank you to Pat Prestwich and James Moran for stepping into leadership roles after Peter?s passing while I was away on sabbatical. They helped guide the Society at a particularly important and sensitive point in our history. Thank you also to Dan Malleck, our Secretary/Treasurer, for constantly helping me stay informed about our financial situation and offering me excellent suggestions about ways to move forward as a scholarly society. Jayne Elliott has been a very valuable colleague this past year, always quick to answer my many questions about the Society?s history and traditions. Thank you, Jayne, for your patience and support.
Thanks to three departing volunteers for their contributions to the Society: Lisa Smith, our Western Canada representative has offered wisdom and insight into, among other things, changes occurring at Britain?s Wellcome Trust and its evolving stance on history of medicine; Leslie Baker, our student representative on the Board, was a source of great ideas and a reliable colleague this past year, and Geoffrey Hudson, who has been an able and effective chair of the Nominations Committee for many years.
I also offer thanks to Jackie Duffin who continues to unselfishly steer the CME credit program through Queen?s and, generous as ever, organize our annual book launch.
Finally, I would like to offer my thanks on behalf of all of us to the two people who made this meeting in Waterloo possible and so successful: Tracy Penny Light from St. Jerome?s University here in Waterloo, who chaired this year?s program committee; and Steven Bednarski, also from St. Jerome?s University, who provided invaluable local logistical support and organized everything for us here in Waterloo. Together Tracy and Steven also arranged our annual Paterson Lecture and we have them to thank for the wonderful lecture by Monica Green.
I hope I have not forgotten anyone but if I have I offer my apologies. I look forward to my second year working with my wonderful colleagues on the Board and members of the Society.
Timeline and Process for Awarding AMS Studentships
Competition advertised by September 30.
CSHM have a selection committee in place by February 1.
Deadline for applications February 1.
Applications sent to Secretary/Treasurer of CSHM who distributes copies of them to the selection committee by February 15.
Selection committee has until end of February to choose the winners.
Secretary/Treasurer informs all applicants of the results of the competition. He also advises those selected for the program to immediately send him a signed form acknowledging acceptance of, and agreeing to, the terms of the award. The form can be downloaded and printed from the CSHM website.
Secretary/Treasurer sends AMS the students? signed forms completed in full along with information about their projects in order to demonstrate how they fulfill the mandate of the studentships.
Upon receipt of the signed forms AMS will remit the cheques in their next pay cycle covering all studentship, to Secretary/Treasurer.
Secretary/Treasurer mails the cheques to the appropriate universities.
After cheques disbursed Secretary/Treasurer sends documentation to AMS for auditing purposes.