Oversight for the development of the joint medical degree is provided by a Steering Committee, co-chaired by Dr. Margaret Steele, Dean of Medicine at Memorial University, and Dr. Greg Keefe, interim President at the University of Prince Edward Island, and is made up of representatives from Memorial, UPEI, the PEI medical community, and broader community.

The core UPEI leadership group includes the Vice-President Administration and Finance, who oversees physical facilities and infrastructure, and Ms. Myrtle Jenkins-Smith, Executive Director of Development and Alumni Engagement, who will lead government and community engagement, as well as:

Dr. Cathy Vardy portrait photo of cathy vardy
Executive Director, Medical Program Development

The development of the new Faculty of Medicine will require direction by someone with extensive experience in medical education accreditation and program delivery. Dr. Cathy Vardy is being seconded to UPEI to take the lead on developing the joint Doctor of Medicine degree program as Executive Director, Medical Program Development, as well as providing leadership to the various subcommittees and working groups. Dr. Vardy will work in support of the accreditation of the UPEI Faculty of Medicine’s joint MD program with Memorial.

As Professor of Pediatrics and past Vice-Dean, Medicine at Memorial, Dr. Vardy brings a wealth of experience to UPEI. She has held several leadership positions with the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador. She has served in a number of roles at the national and international level, including member of the credential and accreditation committees for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC); chair of the RCPSC “Area of Focused Competence” sub-committee; member, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC); and co-chair of the AFMC Wellness Committee.

Dr. Trevor Jain portrait photo of trevor jain
Director of Clinical Programs/Physician Engagement

A key component of the teaching and community connection model for the UPEI Faculty of Medicine is clinical program delivery. Dr. Trevor Jain has agreed to join the leadership team as Director of Clinical Programs. As Program Director and founder of UPEI’s Bachelor of Science in Paramedicine, the first program of its kind in Canada, Dr. Jain is uniquely qualified to lead efforts in developing clinical programs for the innovative UPEI-Memorial Doctor of Medicine program. He is also Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Dalhousie, Flight Surgeon with the Canadian Armed Forces, and ER physician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and has served as a medical director in multiple war zones, such as Bosnia, Kuwait, and Iraq. While a medical student, he was pathology operations officer for the Swiss Air disaster.

Passionate about sharing his expertise, Dr. Jain has taught hundreds of medical students and emergency medicine residents about disaster and crisis response. In 2018, he was appointed to the rank of Officer of the Order of Military Merit for outstanding meritorious service in duties of great responsibility and in 2021 received the John McCrae Memorial Medal in recognition of his exemplary service as a clinical health service member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Dr. Laurie McDuffee portrait photo of laurie mcduffee
Director of Human and Animal Health Collaborations

With the Faculty of Climate Change and Environment and the Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI, the Faculty of Medicine is in a unique position to focus on One Health—a recognition that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. Dr. McDuffee will lead efforts on human and animal health collaborations for the new UPEI-Memorial Doctor of Medicine degree. As Professor of Large Animal Surgery and past Chair of Health Management at the Atlantic Veterinary College, she is well suited to direct the integration of the One Health approach into the development of the UPEI Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. McDuffee’s research career has focused on comparative wellness with a current focus on human-animal interactions. In 2021, she won the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada’s Dr. Carol Morgan Memorial Award for continued education and training-related costs in the areas of ethics and/or animal welfare. She used the grant toward completing a course in the human-animal bond, a fundamental aspect of One Health, to improve her understanding of how to maximize the mutually beneficial relationship between animals and people. She is certified by the North American Veterinary Community Learning Academy and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute.

Darren Chaisson portrait photo of darren chaisson
Capital Projects Lead

Darren Chaisson has joined UPEI to lead the assessment of capital infrastructure needs in hospitals and health centres across the province to support a Faculty of Medicine. He will work closely with Health PEI. He holds a BScE in Civil Engineering from the University of New Brunswick as well as an Engineering Diploma from the University of Prince Edward Island. He is also a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Prince Edward Island.

Mr. Chaisson began his career with the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy in 1999 working in various engineering roles in highway construction within the Capital Projects Division and eventually the department’s Director of Highway Maintenance in 2010.  Since June of 2017 he served as the Deputy Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure.