Department of Health Sciences celebrates 25 years

“Let people do what they enjoy and they will shine,” says William J. Montelpare, the first Director of the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University.

On Thursday March 17, the Department of Health Sciences is hosting a reception with alumni, esteemed guests, faculty, staff and current students to recognize more than 25 years of achievement at Brock University.

The sold-out event will take place at Alphie’s Bistro.

As part of the festivities, Montelpare will be among the honourees receiving recognition for their outstanding achievements and dedication to the department. Jennifer Soucie will also be recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Department of Health Sciences Distinguished Graduate Award.

“There are so many people who deserve to be recognized for their contributions to this department,” says Montelpare.

“Looking back at what has been accomplished over the past 25 years, what has emerged is far greater than what I or any of us could have imagined at the time.”

Montelpare started his academic career in 1986 as an Assistant Professor at Brock University and went on to serve as the first Director of the Health Studies program from 1991-1998 when it was granted official program status by the Legislative Assembly in the Province of Ontario.

Montelpare recalls a meeting with then Brock President Terry White who tasked him with taking the health studies program and making it huge.

“President White knew we had really excited people who wanted to work in health studies and so we had a lot of support from the administration because they felt we were going in the right direction,” says Montelpare.

The direction which shaped the new department was based on conversations with students about what they wanted to do once they graduated from Brock.

“By knowing what the exit criteria needed to be, we were able to develop a Health Studies degree which offered the core competencies required for a career in health,” says Montelpare.

Montelpare believes universities are amazing places where dreams can truly come true.

“With the Health Studies degree, we wanted to create an open environment with the freedom to dream, but we also needed to provide structure and lay the foundations for future direction,” says Montelpare.

With this in mind, the first cohort of the Faculty hired in the late 90s were trained in public health.

At the start of the 1989-90 school year, there were 20 students enrolled in Health Studies at Brock. That same year, the Ontario government required all nurses to complete a university degree. Brock’s Health Studies had all of the core competencies nurses needed and as a result, enrollment soon jumped to more than 385 students.

Currently, the Department now offers five degree programs in the areas of Public Health, Child Health, Community Health, Medical Sciences and Biomedical Sciences with approximately 1,000 undergraduate health majors registered in the Department of Health Sciences.

Montelpare will provide a keynote about the past, present and promising future of the department to more than 90 guests at the Health Sciences 25-year celebration event. He is currently the Margaret and Wallace McCain Chair in Human Development and Health at the University of Prince Edward Island.

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