A message from Paul O’Byrne, Dean and Vice-President, Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr. Susan Denburg is stepping down from her role as Executive Vice-Dean and Associate Vice-President Academic, effective July 1, 2023.

Dr. Denburg will be on administrative leave, and I am pleased to share that she will be moving into a role of strategic advisor to the dean.

The search for a replacement for the Executive Vice-Dean and Associate Vice-President Academic role will begin soon.

Dr. Denburg joined McMaster University in 1978, first as a staff psychologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, then as Education Coordinator and Vice-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, and then as Associate Dean Education, Faculty of Health Sciences.

A professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences, Dr. Denburg was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2018 and was the recipient of the 2022 YWCA (Hamilton) Women of Distinction Lifetime Achievement award.

As Executive Vice-Dean and Associate Vice-President Academic in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and formerly Strategic Advisor to the President, and Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic, she has been an influential champion for academic innovation.

Among her most impactful contributions, she enabled the professional advancement of the Faculty’s next generation of clinical faculty by creating a clinician-educator stream of appointment.  As well, she has mentored many aspiring leaders who have gone on to hold key local, provincial and national positions. She is a staunch advocate of continuing professional development and leadership cultivation through formal programming and mentoring. Her vision for faculty development led to influential new support programs, including the Academic Leadership Program. She spearheaded the creation of new, innovative professional programs, such as the Physician Assistant Education Program and oversaw the launch of distributed medical education at McMaster, culminating in the establishment of two educational campuses.

Her leadership and organizational skills, including a keen appreciation of budgetary issues, have significantly contributed to her effectiveness in key strategic roles. At the same time, she has been committed to advancing professionalism, diversity and inclusivity at McMaster and beyond and was instrumental in launching the Faculty’s Indigenous Health Initiative.

Dr. Denburg has been firmly committed to initiatives that enhance innovative interdisciplinary health-related research and education. She served as Director of Collaborations for Health, a University-wide multi-year initiative that saw the launch of cross Faculty graduate programs, interdisciplinary research collaborations and the McMaster Health Forum. She continues to oversee the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative, including the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, and champions the University’s commitment to Aging as an institutional priority.

 I have known Susan for more than three decades and witnessed her many important and impactful contributions to academic health sciences. She has been a visionary leader, a passionate and inspirational colleague and a sought-after mentor and role model.

On behalf of the Faculty of Health Sciences, I extend sincere gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Susan Denburg. She has been crucial to this Faculty’s development and growth and has tremendously impacted McMaster and our broader community. I look forward to her continuing insight as strategic advisor as we continue to build on our Faculty’s culture of collaboration, innovation, and exploration.

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