Dear Members of the Department of Psychiatry,
As of July 1, while Bill takes administrative leave, I move into the role of Acting Head of the Department. So, as we enter this transition, I wanted to briefly introduce myself to those of you whom I don’t yet know, and to invite you to connect with me if there are issues with which you need support.
First, a little about my background; I have been a member of our department for 11 years – first as a member of the clinical faculty, and since 2007 as an academic faculty member. My clinical training (completed here at UBC) was as a genetic counselor, and my PhD (completed in Cardiff, UK, prior to arriving in Vancouver) was in neuropsychiatric genetics. Like many others who work in this area, my family history of psychiatric illness has been a huge motivator and inspiration that has fueled my career. So, as I move into the role of acting department head, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to provide support to all of you who are seeking to improve outcomes for those who live with psychiatric disorders and their families through your research, clinical care, and teaching.
I am, of course, acutely aware of the anxiety within the department at the moment as a result of the uncertainty surrounding who will occupy the Department Head position over the longer term. As we await confirmation regarding the longer term leadership for our department, I give you my word that I will do my very best to ensure stability, and the maintenance of an environment in which we can continue to thrive. I will be working very closely with the experienced, senior members of the Department who make up the Executive Committee, with the joint GFT and Advisory Committee, and with our outstanding departmental administrative team to ensure that things continue to function as smoothly as possible.
Please do get in touch with me directly at Jehannine.firstname.lastname@example.org if there are issues that I may be able to help with.
I am very much looking forward to meeting those of you whom I don’t yet know, and to working with and for you all more closely over the next few months as we continue the exceptional work that makes our department a source of pride.
Jehannine C. Austin, PhD, CGC/CCGC
Acting Head, Department of Psychiatry
Canada Research Chair & Associate Professor
Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics
University of British Columbia