April 2, 2020

In memoriam: Glenda MacQueen, Cumming School of Medicine

Campus flag lowered April 2, 2020

The Cumming School of Medicine is mourning the loss of Dr. Glenda MacQueen, MD, PhD, who passed away on March 27, 2020.

Glenda was a remarkably bright and productive clinician scientist who had a special gift for working with people and looking at issues from fresh and new perspectives. She advanced the discipline of psychiatry and mental health both academically and clinically, and contributed to the Calgary community in a meaningful and compassionate way.

Known as a leader in mental health education, management and research, Glenda was recruited to Calgary from McMaster University in 2008 to become academic head and zone clinical head for the Department of Psychiatry. In 2012, she became vice-dean of UCalgary’s medical school, and continued in that role until September 2019 when she stepped down for health reasons. Glenda brought strategic vision and prominence to her roles as educator, researcher and vice-dean.

We owe much of our medical school’s success to Glenda. She was a brilliant strategist and leader who embodied the Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) vision to create the future of health. She revitalized the CSM through the development of the Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and brought prominence to the school with her visionary thinking and community contribution.

Glenda was the driving force behind Calgary’s child and mental health initiative. She brought deans of several UCalgary faculties together to develop a mental health strategy for youth dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. She was also instrumental in establishing the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education and co-led UCalgary’s Mental Health Strategy, which has transformed the university’s understanding and execution of mental health initiatives.

Throughout her career, Glenda was a role model and mentor to her colleagues and students. A special interest of Glenda’s was mentoring women in medicine. In partnership with the Haskayne School of Business, she developed an innovative leadership program for medical professionals where more than half of the participants are female. Designed to strengthen the leadership capacity of medical clinicians and scientists, the program is helping build a more flexible and resilient health-care system in Alberta.

These are just a few of the strategic academic initiatives Glenda implemented during her tenure. And through it all, she was able to remain an internationally recognized expert in mood disorders and a highly cited researcher.

Glenda made significant contributions to the field of psychiatry, including her work on national and international treatment guidelines which have shaped and improved psychiatric practice. She was considered one of the most influential researchers in mental health in Canada, and was in the top one per cent of highly cited researchers with global influence and impact.

In 2014, Glenda received the prestigious Heinz Lehmann Award from the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and in 2017 she received the JM Cleghorn Award for Leadership and Excellence in Clinical Research from the Canadian Psychiatric Association. In 2018, she became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Glenda was a very special person. She touched us in a multitude of ways and we’re better for it. Glenda will be remembered for her exemplary service, strategic leadership and wise council, and greatly missed for her kindness, mentorship and simple willingness to always put others ahead of herself.

As a school, and through a memorial fund established in Glenda’s honour, the CSM will carry her memory and honour her legacy for generations to come. The fund will be used to further her good work by supporting leadership initiatives for women in medicine.

The CSM has also created a message board in Glenda’s memory and encourages anyone who wishes to contribute to do so.

Glenda’s full obituary can be found here. Our thoughts are with Glenda’s family during this very difficult time.