Dean’s Corner - December 2016

14 Dec 2016 - 14:30

Dear Colleagues and Students

As 2016 draws to a close, we can be proud of the sterling work that continues to define our Faculty. It goes without saying that the engine room for this is in our offices, classrooms, clinics and laboratories.  I am most appreciative of the calibre of colleagues and students we have in this Faculty, without whom we would not be able to achieve the level of excellence, innovation and impact that we have become associated with.

It has been a year of challenges – with pressurised deadlines and resources, in the context of huge funding constraints, identifying new sources of revenue, and engaging with student protests. Through all of this, our colleagues and students have ploughed ahead with their work. In this final bumper newsletter for the year, I share with you the fruits of some of these endeavours across the Faculty.

These include the announcement of two prestigious awards: R85m for the establishment of a Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases in Africa to Professor Robert Wilkinson of the IDM, and a Grand Challenges Gates Foundation award to Associate Professor Jane Harries on Women’s Reproductive Health. These are both highly competitive and prestigious international awards – congratulations!

There is also exciting new research to better understand the workings of the TB bacterium (in the IDM); our programmes to build capacity in Africa to prevent death in children - through vaccinology courses (VACFA), skilling teams of health practitioners to manage kidney-related injuries (Saving Young Lives), and the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health pioneering the clinical Masters in Nursing, the first paediatric specialised nursing course in Africa. Then there is ground-breaking research on driving safety in HIV and metabolic syndrome patients; and an innovative device developed by one of our postgraduate students that will allow for more accurate scanning of patients who find it difficult to remain still, such as children, and which may have applications for cardiology. Our students continue to impress, as the recipients of our Young Researchers Awards attest. Not least, is the enormous success of our free ENT online medical textbooks at a rate of one download every 90 seconds. Well done to all of you!

Congratulations also to Professors Lynette Denny and Vanessa Burch who have been acknowledged for their excellence and contributions to their fields with awards;; to Dr Judith McKenzie who is heading up the newly established Division of Disability Studies; our two recipients of the 2016 College of Fellows Young Researcher Awards: Dr John Ataguba of the Health Economics Unit (in the  School of Public Health and Family Medicine) and Dr Mohlopheni  Marakalala of the Division of Immunology (in the Department of Pathology).  Finally, to Mr Habib Noorbhai (PhD student in Exercise and Sports Science) for winning the 2016 Mr South Africa title.

Last, but not least, this year we say au revoir to a record 37 retirees, among whom is former Interim Dean Professor Gregory Hussey. We thank all our retirees for their significant and collective contributions to the work of the Faculty, and wish them well in their new endeavours.

Enjoy the read and the festive season, and come back refreshed for 2017!

Yours sincerely

Bongani Mayosi