U of T Mississauga breaks ground for health sciences complex
Shovels in hand, blades gleaming, University of Toronto and U of T Mississauga community members, politicians and hospital representatives today celebrated the groundbreaking for an innovative facility that will train the future community health leaders of the next generation.
The $37-million four-storey Health Sciences Complex will house the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, research laboratories and the graduate biomedical communications program, and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2011. The Academy of Medicine, which will welcome 54 medical students in its first-year class, is a partnership among U of T Mississauga, U of T's Faculty of Medicine, Trillium Health Centre and Credit Valley Hospital.
"This is a great day for the University of Toronto Mississauga and for the entire university," said U of T president David Naylor. "It is truly exciting to be embarking on a project of such magnitude and importance to health care in this province, and we are very grateful to the Government of Ontario for its generous support."
Earlier this year, the provincial government provided $15.6 million in capital funding over three years and announced additional medical school positions at U of T. The expansion is part of a province-wide initiative to increase the number of physicians across Ontario.
"The University of Toronto Mississauga is adding another jewel to its crown," said Professor Ian Orchard, vice-president and principal of U of T Mississauga. "The Health Sciences Complex, with its Academy of Medicine, is yet one more example of the community can-do spirit on this campus that enables us to build such an outstanding environment for success."
By 2014, the Mississauga Academy of Medicine will have a total of 216 students enrolled in the four-year program. The Mississauga academy will be U of T's fourth medical academy - the other three are located in the city of Toronto. The academies are the Faculty of Medicine's network of sites that provide an academic home to MD students while they are doing their clinical training.
"Since the early 1980s, the University of Toronto has trained close to 50 per cent of the family physicians in Ontario and 25 per cent of all the specialist physicians in Canada," said Professor Catharine Whiteside, dean of U of T's Faculty of Medicine and vice-provost, relations with health-care institutions. "With this groundbreaking, health professional education and the promise of improved access to health care in Mississauga take a giant leap forward. The group of MDs who will train here in Mississauga will be part of an innovative partnership with the outstanding local health-care providers. We are committed to providing the next generations of health leaders who will practise in this region."
Construction on the Health Sciences Complex, designed by Kongats Architects, began in the summer of 2009. The 5,960-square-metre building will have classrooms, computer and biosciences laboratories, and office space as well as the Academy of Medicine and the biomedical communications program. The latter is unique in Canada; graduates go on to illustrate medical textbooks and create animation for medical films and TV shows.
"This new facility will provide the residents of Mississauga and the entire province with better access to the medical care they deserve by educating our future physicians," said Harinder Takhar, MPP for Mississauga-Erindale. "This groundbreaking and the promise of a first-rate medical academy will help with both the recruitment of physicians and the human health resource needs of the province."
Mayor Hazel McCallion of the City of Mississauga calls the Academy of Medicine "an ideal fit" for the city and surrounding communities. "Our city has a commitment to create a community of optimal health for all residents through our Healthy City Stewardship Centre initiative, so we are thrilled the academy is underway."
Michelle DiEmanuele, president and CEO of The Credit Valley Hospital, says, "Today's groundbreaking signifies Credit Valley's investment in the doctors of the future. But more than that, it's an investment in the future health of all patients and families living in our region. We are proud of the decision by our board of directors to work together with the University of Toronto, University of Toronto Mississauga and our sister hospital, Trillium Health Centre, to help sustain our health care through the building of the Academy of Medicine in Mississauga."
"The start of construction of the Academy of Medicine building at the University of Toronto Mississauga is a great day for the people of our community, for our partners and for Trillium," said Janet Davidson, president and CEO of Trillium Health Centre. "We look forward to working with the University of Toronto and Credit Valley Hospital to develop a comprehensive teaching program for our future doctors. With the government's continued support, Trillium and CVH will provide U of T's medical students with unique learning experiences and improve access to physicians in our community."