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2011 Annual Report

Message from the Interim Chair

In January 2011 Dr. Eduardo L. Franco became the Acting Chair and then in May 2011, Interim Chair of the department. His tenure as Interim Chair has been extended through 2012 as the Department prepared for the University-mandated cyclical review. The Faculty of Medicine is expected to constitute a Search Committee for the new Chair of Oncology after the cyclical review is completed in mid-April 2012.

In May 1992 the Gerald Bronfman Centre (GBC) for Clinical Research in Oncology opened its doors as the focal point for oncology clinical trials at McGill thanks to a generous donation from Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman. The building is also home to the Department of Oncology Chair’s office and is the central hub for the Department’s administrative activities since its members are scattered around McGill and its teaching hospitals. Over the years several units (named Divisions or Programs) were established by the Chairs to capitalize on the wealth of cancer research activities by members of the Faculty of Medicine and coalesce them into specific subspecialties and domains of research, personnel training, and patient care. The GBC is also home to several of the Department’s divisions and programs (Division of Cancer Epidemiology, Cancer Nutrition-Rehabilitation Program, McGill Programs in Whole Person Care, Cancer Genetics (in part), Psychosocial Oncology (in part), and coordination of specialty clinical training programs).

To mark the upcoming 20th anniversary of the GBC, on November 21, 2011 the Department hosted its inaugural Gerald Bronfman Centre Scientific Lecture. This extremely successful two hour event, organized by Dr. Franco featured special guest lecturer Dr. Simon B. Sutcliffe, President of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research in Canada, who spoke about “Cancer Control – Life and Death in an Unequal World”. In addition, two prominent researchers from our Department (Drs. Michael Pollak and Michel Tremblay) also gave lectures. This was followed by a well-attended reception honouring 20 years of the Department’s Clinical Research Program, as well as the outstanding academic contributions of its faculty (Research and Clinical Service Award to Dr. Henry R. Shibata; Teaching and Mentorship Award to Dr. George Shenouda; and Lifetime Achievement Awards to Drs. Carolyn Freeman – Radiation Oncology, Richard Margolese – Surgical Oncology, and Balfour Mount – Palliative Care). Also planned was an additional award in the category of support and service staff contributions to the department. However, due to the ongoing union strike and work disruption at the time we were unable to present an award in that category but will do so at next year’s awards ceremony. Attendees included McGill dignitaries, Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, Chancellor Arnold Steinberg, VP Marc Weinstein, former Deans of Medicine, Drs. Richard Cruess and Abraham Fuks and the Interim as well as the Incoming Dean and VP Health Affairs, Drs. Sam Benaroya and David Eidelman, respectively. The two back-to-back events celebrating 20 years of the Gerald Bronfman Centre were praised very highly by the Department’s donors, Mrs. Judy Bronfman-Thau and Mr. Isaac Thau. The events were featured in Medicine Focus as well as Med e-news.

Under the direction of Dr. Franco, the Department is striving to boost its visibility amongst its members and encourage a sense of belonging to McGill University as a primary affiliation.  Furthermore, the Department has a responsibility to fulfill the wishes of the Bronfman family and ensure that their generous endowment continues to support a strong and vibrant Department of Oncology housed at the Gerald Bronfman Centre and well-recognized for its cutting-edge research, education and training, and clinical care. To this end the Gerald Bronfman Centre banner was created for use on slide presentations and sent out to faculty. In addition, the GBC Scientific Lecture and Awards that marked the 20th Anniversary of the Gerald Bronfman Centre will be an annual event to honour the Bronfman family’s commitment to clinical cancer research as well as to recognize the achievements of the department members. Finally, the MAHN Rossy Cancer Network that will be set up over the next few years aims to unite the cancer care programs in the McGill-affiliated hospitals, developing common practices and generating improvements in cancer care across all hospitals and units. This will ultimately translate into training and recruitment opportunities and new research initiatives for the McGill Department of Oncology.

Eduardo L. Franco, MPH, DrPH, FRSC
James McGill Professor and Interim Chair

May 2012


Gayle A. Shinder, 514-398-8466