Dear students,

As we enter the final days of the most momentous years in recent history — and my first year as dean — I would like to share my reflections and gratitude with our student community.

To remark that it has been a challenging year for students is a colossal understatement. It is difficult to imagine what the last several months have been like for you. The way you live, study and work completely changed in a matter of days. And it happened at a time when your social networks and support systems were also in flux.

I am tremendously proud of our student community. From those who entering their programs without spending time in our building, to our professional program and graduate students who transitioned to remote learning and rotations, and to our students on our experiential rotations who were flexible as we adapted our experiential education offerings. I would also like to thank all of the class representatives and students associations for offering innovative and creative virtual programming that allowed our student body to connect virtually.

I strongly encourage students to take the time to acknowledge, reflect and appreciate what it means to reach this milestone. I hope that you will celebrate your accomplishments and that you feel proud to arrive at this juncture.

It is difficult to summarize what the year 2020 has meant for our Faculty, but I will try to share some highlights.

Our student community spearheaded a number of bespoke projects to support the response to COVID-19. Locally, a team of pharmacy students led an initiative to supply face shields and other vital equipment to health-care workers. Our students also achieved global impact through a student-led video series highlighting global pharmacy perspectives on COVID-19.

From a research perspective, our pharmaceutical science students had a large footprint this year. A number of pharmaceutical sciences students received new research awards, including several teams receiving the COVID-19 Student Engagement Awards. The GRIP Committee celebrated graduate student research in the midst of a pandemic. We also had a students collaborate with other faculties to develop innovative COVID-19 testing techniques.

In collaboration with partners and stakeholders, our students worked with the Ontario Pharmacists Association and other pharmacy students across Ontario to increase awareness about the important role pharmacists play as frontline workers during the pandemic. A number of students and recent graduates have also led engagement and advocacy over cancelled licencing exams, urging regulatory bodies, governments and all of us to do more. I am grateful for these collective efforts led that are propelling the field of pharmacy forward.

Our community has watched and supported students overcome challenges while building resilience and we are proud of your collective accomplishments.

It had been a difficult year for all of us, but particularly for students. Now is the time to reflect on what you have learned and conquered. Overcoming adversity and challenges inherent in research and practice will always be our reality. Challenging periods test our resilience, but can also shape us into confident leaders.

Now is the time to rest, relax and reflect on all that you have accomplished. Take care of your selves, one another and your loved ones. Rest and recharge and we look forward to seeing you in 2021.

Wishing you a safe and joyful holiday, and prosperous New Year.

Lisa Dolovich
Professor & Dean
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto