Message from Dr. Bruce Wright, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Head of the Division of Medical Sciences
On July 1st, 2014 I joined the University of Victoria as the new Head, Division of Medical Sciences at the University of Victoria. My predecessor, Dr. Oscar Casiro, served as the first head of the Division from January 2004 until June 30, 2014. Dr. Casiro was an inspiring and visionary leader who fostered the development of an excellent medical research program at UVic. Under his guidance, the Division of Medical Sciences has recruited top-ranked faculty, implemented a successful interdisciplinary Neuroscience Graduate Program and obtained external research funding in excess of $14 million.
As I assume leadership responsibility for the Division of Medical Sciences, I am very pleased to see that our research faculty continue to work on important projects to help address some of society’s most pressing healthcare needs. Their innovative research includes: studying the effects of exercise on the aging brain and looking at mechanisms that may result in new ways to maintain and enhance brain cells; working to understand how neurological diseases affect learning and memory; looking at how neural stem cells might be used to help repair injured brains; using advanced imaging technology to understand how the brain is able to repair itself following a stroke; working with First Nations in BC to better understand the prevalence of particular genetic conditions in their communities; investigating perinatal and postpartum mental health issues and developing computer-based support mechanisms to assist primary care physicians. Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the Division are also making significant contributions, which you can read about on page 5 of our Summer 2014 newsletter.
My own background is as a family physician (specializing in geriatric medicine) and as an educator. I come from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary, where I served in various capacities for over twenty years, most recently as Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education (since 2006) and as Professor in the Department of Family Medicine. I have taught courses in neurosciences and aging to undergraduate medical students, so I am keen to learn more about advances in this important area of research from my colleagues in the Division of Medical Sciences.
In the months ahead I will take time to become familiar with the many important medical research collaborations that are taking place between Division researchers and those in other UVic departments and centres, as well as collaborations with institutions such as Island Health and BC Cancer Agency. I look forward to working with these institutions to enhance and increase those collaborations, ensuring the continued growth and success of the Division and health-related research on Vancouver Island.
Bruce Wright, MD, CCFP, FCFP