Health sciences dean leaving McMaster on Dec. 31


Russell Joffe, dean and vice-president, Faculty of Health Sciences, is leaving McMaster University to pursue another opportunity. His Dec. 31 departure was announced this morning by President Peter George.

“When Dr. Joffe assumed his role as dean and vice-president in 1997 he
tackled three key challenges: development of a planning process so the
Faculty's priorities could be identified and met; improved integration
of the Faculty with both the University and the teaching hospitals; and
creation of an effective program for fundraising. He has achieved great
success in all of these areas,” said George in an e-mail to the internal University community.

Joffe says the decision to leave is entirely a personal one and taken for his own and family reasons. “Though it is never the right time for a change in leadership, we are emerging from three particularly difficult years and I am optimistic that the future holds considerable promise for the Faculty of Health Sciences and McMaster University. It seems a reasonable juncture to begin new leadership of the Faculty as we face the enormous challenges and opportunities that the next few years hold.” Joffe has not publicly announced what other opportunities he plans to pursue.

Joffe chaired the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster from 1994 until 1997, when he was named dean. Prior to that, he was a member of the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry for nine years.

He is known internationally for his research on the regulation of mood and the biology of mood disorders. His clinical work focuses on the use of thyroid hormones to treat refractory depression.

Joffe is a founder of the Depression Information Resource Education Centre, a toll-free depression information and education line, first launched in Ontario in 1996 and now operating nationally. He is also a member of the McMaster Regional Mood Disorders Program which, in 1998, was awarded the American Psychiatric Association's Psychiatric Services Achievement Gold Award. The program, a joint initiative of the Faculty and the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital, provides comprehensive and individualized assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for patients with mood disorders throughout Central West Ontario. In 1998, the program received funding to establish an international research centre for biopolar disorder.

George said an interim dean will be appointed before Joffe leaves. The selection process for a new dean and vice-president will proceed as soon as possible.