Prichard named Acting Vice-President (Research)

Noted McGill University academic-clinician Dr. Sarah Prichard has been named Acting Vice-President (Research) at Western for a one-year term, effective July 1, university officials announced today.

A search for a permanent research leader will take place shortly after Western President-elect Alan Shepard begins his term in July. John Capone, BSc’78 (Biochemistry), has served in the role since 2012.

Prichard will not be a candidate for the permanent position, but she will “work hard with the entire academic community to promote success through consultation and collaboration during this interim period,” Western President Amit Chakma said.

“During this time of transition on campus, our community is eager to continue building Western’s research track record and profile nationally and internationally,” he said.

Prichard has enjoyed an academic career at McGill University and a career in industry at Baxter, an innovative health-care enterprise with two global lines of business in hospital products and renal products.

Prichard joined the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University in 1979 and remained there until 2005, serving as Professor of Medicine and as the Associate Dean of Inter-Hospital Affairs for the Faculty of Medicine from 1993-98. She also chaired the Clinical Integration Committee for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) in the 1990s. In addition, Prichard was President of the Canadian Society for Nephrology and the International Society for Peritoneal Dialysis.

In 2005, she was recruited to Baxter as the Global Vice-President for Medical and Scientific Affairs in the renal line of business. During a nine-year term at Baxter, she held a number of senior leadership roles within renal as well as with specialty therapeutic pharmaceutical areas. Responsibilities included global medical affairs, clinical development, health economics, exploratory research, as well as scientific and clinical input for product development.

Between 1991-97 and 2001-05, Prichard served on the Queen’s University Board of Trustees. Previously, she served on the St. Mary’s Hospital Center Board from 1996-2001, including three years as its chair. She was also a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) from 2002-05. Currently, she serves on corporate boards, on scientific advisory boards and as a consultant.

Prichard received her Medical degree from Queen’s University and then completed her training in Internal Medicine and Nephrology at McGill University. She speaks English and French.

In making the announcement, Chakma nodded to the work of Capone for his “leadership and commitment over the past several years, working tirelessly to promote and support excellence in research and scholarship across our campus.”

The President continued, “As one of the founding institutions of the U15, we can all take pride in the scope and impact of research that is carried out by our faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars across all of the disciplines. Western has an influential and competitive track record of research funding as well as other measures of that excellence – such as publications and other public expressions of the work we contribute to Canada and the world.”

Prichard arrives at a challenging time for university research, Chakma said.

“We all recognize the reality of the challenging and changing environment we face,” he continued. “The funding landscape within Canada and Ontario continues to be extremely competitive, and the Ontario government has signaled that it will consider outcomes-based funding going forward, as well as conducting a review of the intellectual property and commercialization efforts in the university sector.

“With Dr. Prichard’s appointment, the Board of Governors, Alan and I believe Western is well positioned to respond to the challenges we face in the realm of research, while seizing new opportunities to increase Western’s profile on the world stage.”

Prichard will be on campus in May to meet with researchers, deans and associate deans in advance of her official arrival in July.