Interested in learning more about the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health? Find answers to frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The GTA East community has been underserved as compared to provincial averages for many years. There is currently a shortage of physicians in Scarborough and Durham Region.
The Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health will create a health-care hub in the Eastern GTA that will bring together new MDs, physician assistants, physiotherapists and residency positions to improve the quality and quantity of care. In addition, investment in 300 new spots in life sciences will renew the pipeline of talent.
According to data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information from 2020, data shows that the Central East Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN) in which Scarborough and Durham Region are located, has the second lowest number of family physicians and third lowest for specialists in Ontario per 100,000 population.
According to a 2017 report by Toronto Public Health, low-income groups and immigrant populations often have worse health. Residents of East Scarborough were far less likely than the rest of the province to rank their health as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’
Scarborough is identified as an area of high physician need by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and has a shortage of other specialists such as child and adult psychiatrists, geriatricians, nurse practitioners and emergency medical physicians.
Scarborough is a community with significant transportation barriers. These limit structurally marginalized members of the community (recent immigrants, low-income families, and racialized population) their ability to access healthcare, education, and employment; thereby reducing their participation in essential activities and aggravating existing social inequalities.
SAMIH will be an important academic and physical pillar for UTSC. Situated at the intersection of Military Trail and Morningside Avenue, the site will create a very public face and a strong public presence to anchor the University and the Academy as a gateway for higher education and community engagement.
SAMIH programs will take place in a new, purpose-built building on the UTSC campus, located close to the Toronto Pan American Sports Centre. In addition to offering community exercise and fitness programs, the Centre will soon have a sports medicine clinic that will include physicians, physical therapists, kinesiologists, and others, and will provide team-based care to elite athletes and members of the community. The clinic will be an excellent setting for SAMIH’s interprofessional learners.
On the south side of the building the new pedestrian walk will link to the rest of the campus and all the amenities that are already in place to serve students, allowing this facility to be fully integrated into the campus.
In addition to the existing public transit options, the site will also be conveniently located close to the new Parking Facility (construction commenced in 2021) a short walking distance to the east.
UTSC has undergone a comprehensive campus Master Plan and has been implementing those strategies with the series of nine buildings over the last decade. Resulting from the campus Master Plan a secondary plan and urban design guidelines now in place with the city and are framing all developments. Based on the initial design of this building, there are no barriers to building approvals based on height, density, or land use designations. We see no significant obstacles to moving this project forward on the timelines proposed. Further, the City has expressed avid support for this project and is prepared to accelerate the approval process.
The site location is consistent with the applicable Official Plan and zoning regulations and is specifically contemplated for in the new UTSC Secondary Plan.
U of T has strong partnerships with regional hospitals and community clinics in the GTA East region and graduates of the new school are expected to remain in the region to serve the local community. U of T’s experience in operating the Mississauga Academy of Medicine shows that 50% of medical graduates remain in the Peel/Halton region.
SAMIH will create an environment to teach evidence-based collaborative care as it was originally intended, with health professions coming together in one, easily accessible location, to address gaps in primary care for this underserved regional population.
As an anchor institution in the eastern GTA, UTSC combines the intimacy of a close-knit campus, the breadth of the liberal arts and the depth and rigor of one of the world’s best research universities. It is the academic home to more than 14,000 U of T students. UTSC offers several distinct programs including health studies, environmental science, international development studies, suburban studies, and food studies, in addition to various humanities, life sciences, and social sciences programs. Importantly, its student body reflects the demographics of Scarborough and the eastern GTA, with more than 80% of students identifying as immigrants, refugees and/or visible minorities, and 83% of domestic students with demonstrated financial need.
Establishing SAMIH at UTSC would provide a unique combination of health professional programs that are otherwise unavailable in Eastern Toronto and Durham Region.
As the only medical school in the GTA, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto has partnerships throughout the region, reaching as far east as Oshawa, where Lakeridge Health is a community-affiliated hospital with U of T. SAMIH will enrich and deepen existing community-based partnerships and lay a foundation for possible new partnerships.
With the establishment of SAMIH, the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto will be the only School of Nursing, approved by CNO (College of Nurses of Ontario) to have a nurse practitioner (NP) program serve as a learning environment and opportunity for direct access to care in Eastern Toronto and Durham region. It is also the only program in Canada to offer NP specializations in adult primary care, global health, and pediatrics.
Physician Assistant Education
The University of Toronto, in partnership with the Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences and Northern Ontario School of Medicine, offers one of only two physician assistant programs in Ontario. The other is located at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The U of T-based physician assistant program would relocate its operations to UTSC as part of SAMIH.
Physical Therapy Programs
The University of Toronto offers the only physical therapy program approved by the Ontario College of Physiotherapists in Toronto or Durham Region. It is only one of five programs in the province, with the others being situated at McMaster University (Hamilton), Queen’s University (Kingston), the University of Ottawa, and Western University (London).
UTSC Life Sciences Programs
With this new facility UTSC will expand its life science complement by providing linked programs leveraging divisions on campus such as computer science, management, health studies and humanities to deliver innovative new programs. Examples of these would include integrated education program in big data and data analytics, health management, health economics. All these programs are meant to fill a gap across the health sector supporting both hospitals and health sector leadership across the province.
A unique feature of the University of Toronto MD Program is its academy structure. Admission to the MD Program includes assignment to a specific academy, currently:
- FitzGerald Academy
- Mississauga Academy of Medicine
- Peters-Boyd Academy
- Wightman-Berris Academy
Each academy is comprised of clusters of the University’s affiliated hospitals and health care sites. They offer a unique combination of educational settings based on the strengths of their member hospitals while at the same time maintaining a consistent high standard of curriculum delivery.
At the academies, students learn clinical skills, participate in problem-based learning, interprofessional education and conduct research in community-based partner agencies. The academies foster a smaller learning environment within a larger program and provide the hospital-based portions of the curriculum in a supportive, student- focused learning environment.
In partnership with the eastern GTA’s leading health care institutions, SAMIH will:
- Train physicians and other health professionals, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners and rehabilitation specialists, many of whom will come from highly diverse and underserved populations of the eastern GTA.
- Provide learners with local professional clinical experience in both fully affiliated and community-affiliated teaching hospitals, as well as community and rural sites.
- Significantly strengthen the revitalization of the health care system in the eastern GTA, in partnership with local hospitals and other service providers.
- Improve health outcomes by addressing the critical shortages of highly trained practicing health professionals in the eastern GTA and conducting clinical research in population health, including development and implementation of innovative models of care.
- Provide economic stimulus and professional employment in the eastern GTA.
Recent studies suggest a positive correlation between where students study and where they work. By increasing health professional training in the eastern GTA, we have the potential to increase the number of health professionals working in this region.
SAMIH will build upon the excellence of the U of T, currently ranked third in the world for clinical medicine by the National Taiwan University Rankings. In fact, according to all respected international ranking systems, U of T is Canada’s top medical faculty and among the world’s best, standing in the company of Harvard, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Oxford and Stanford. The additional 30 MD spaces add to the existing 269 first-year students at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, making the Faculty one of the top three largest in Canada.
Through its experience establishing the most recent Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM), U of T’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine has developed expertise in leveraging community relationships to address local healthcare needs. Integral to the success of MAM have been the relationships forged with community hospitals and health care practitioners in Mississauga, the investment in infrastructure and the development of newly appointed faculty in the community. The MAM model has enabled Temerty Medicine to develop further expertise in curriculum development and consistency across multiple MD program sites, distance education and the use of technology, capitalizing on diverse community settings. As with Mississauga, SAMIH will be a catalyst for greater integration with the local hospital partners, enhancing their roles in teaching and community-based research. The learnings from the MAM model will be translated to all health sciences and related programs to be offered at UTSC.
Through the model of integrated Health, UTSC and the Faculty of Medicine will be able to leverage expertise across the humanities and social sciences both understand the impacts of health and cultures and develop new ways to influence and evaluate health outcomes.
U of T’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, ranked first among Canadian Schools of Nursing, has previous experience bringing academic initiatives from vision to implementation and the SAMIH is no different. Established in 1995 the nurse practitioner program at U of T is one of the only Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) accredited, and College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) approved programs in Canada to offer specializations in the areas of adult primary health, global health and pediatrics. Our students graduate prepared to provide direct care to the communities they live in and go on to practice in a range of roles from clinical practice to leadership.
SAMIH will provide a new opportunity for our students to practice their expertise and provide care under supervision for diverse populations including the UTSC community, while offering UTSC undergraduates a chance to see the value of advanced practice nursing roles in the health sciences education pathway.
The proposed facilities and academic programs will be informed by the successful development and launch of the Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM) in 2011. The MAM model enabled the Faculty of Medicine to develop further expertise in curriculum development and consistency across multiple MD program sites, distance education, use of technology, and capitalizing on diverse community settings.
The Scarborough Academy of Medicine will feature the same outstanding curriculum as the other four medical academies in the faculty of Medicine.
SAMIH will partner with the Scarborough Health Network, Lakeridge Health, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and Michael Garron Hospital, as well as local primary care practices and community agencies throughout Scarborough and Durham Region.
The partner institutions are located within the region and are all committed to collaborating with U of T to advance a new Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health.
- The Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is the third largest community hospital in Ontario, with 814 beds, 286,000 patient days, and 191,539 Emergency visits. SHN has been a University of Toronto community-affiliated hospital for more than 40 years. The administrative, medical, and allied health leaders of SHN have expressed great interest in significantly increasing their teaching of University of Toronto medical and other health professions learners.
- Lakeridge Health, also a U of T community-affiliated hospital, serves Durham Region with five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than a dozen community health care locations. It is home to several regional specialty centres, including the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre and the Pinewood Centre for addictions and mental health. Like SHN, Lakeridge leaders have also expressed interest in expanding their medical and health professions teaching.
- Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences is one of only four stand-alone mental health hospitals in the province and provides a range of specialized assessment and treatment services to those living with complex and serious mental illness. As a U of T community-affiliated hospital, Ontario Shores is currently engaged in education and research, but seeks to expand its academic mission.
- Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is a large academic teaching hospital that is fully affiliated with the U of T. As the primary site of the Peters-Boyd Academy (one of U of T Medicine’s five academies) Sunnybrook is positioned to play a leading role in developing the Scarborough Academy. Sunnybrook has more than 1,200 beds and provides nearly one million out-patient clinic visits per year. Students are exposed to a broad-based learning experience, including tertiary care, acute in-patient and ambulatory care and community-based experiences.
- Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is also a U of T community-affiliated teaching hospital and serves the diverse population of East Toronto. MGH is a 450-bed general hospital with numerous ambulatory clinics that offers a breadth of services and programs. The hospital provides interprofessional education opportunities for residents and students from a variety of health professions in a unique learning environment.
UTSC currently conducts outreach programs for students in impoverished neighbourhoods, and working with Seneca and Centennial Colleges, offers pathway programs so that students can achieve a university education. It has research and teaching partnerships with several local organizations, notably The East Scarborough Storefront, TAIBU Community Health Centre, and the Malvern Family Resource Centre. UTSC will contribute these skills and relationships to the new Academy and Hub.
SAMIH’s health sciences pathway will also build upon several very successful programs such as Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s Summer Mentorship Program, which gives high school students from Indigenous and Black communities a chance to explore health sciences at U of T, and the Community of Support, which helps students from underserved communities develop their potential as future health professionals. Individuals who take part in those programs may be eligible for support through the Temerty Medicine’s free MCAT program and the Black Student Admissions Program (BSAP) and Indigenous Student Admissions Program (ISAP).
UTSC is already working closely with Scarborough communities and the Durham Region to create better access pathways to the university system by working with school boards and creating engagement programs for grade school and high school students.
The project had been awarded and the anticipated start of construction will be Fall 2023, with substantial completion in 2026. The site location will be at the corner of Morningside Avenue and Military Trail.
Several studies suggest that where medical students study and do their residency affects where they ultimately practice. For example, in 2017, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) reported that 94% of their MD and residency graduates are practicing in Northern Ontario (33% in remote, rural communities). In comparison, only 5% of new physicians recruited to Northern Ontario are from other schools (NOSM, 2017). At the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, more than half of doctors who undertook their family medicine residency training at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga between 2009 to 2017 continue to work in Mississauga/Halton Region (PGME and CPSO, February 2020). The number of active specialists practicing in the former Mississauga-Halton LHIN who trained at U of T between 2009 to 2018 grew by 154% (OPHRDC, February 2020).
Delivering healthcare today requires a team-based approach that integrates multiple health professions to adequately respond to the complex health needs of an aging population. By situating training in an underserviced region, coupled with training in team-based care and growing the workforce available in critical health professions, the University of Toronto – working with our government and clinical partners – can support important priorities, including:
- Improving timely access to care, particularly for marginalized populations
- Increasing community and home-based care
- Providing additional mental health and addictions care in Scarborough and Durham Region
- Developing integrated care models for individuals with chronic complex comorbidity and quality long-term care.
The establishment of SAMIH will continue to provide in-team care training. The University of Toronto’s experience with the Centre for Interprofessional Education and the Interfaculty Pain Curriculum delivered by the U of T Centre for the Study of Pain are key examples of the University’s longstanding efforts.
The University of Toronto is uniquely positioned to advance culturally competent healthcare based on the partnerships with organizations such as TAIBU, the Black Physicians Association of Ontario, the Infection Prevention and Control of Canada, the Summer Mentorship Program, and more recent efforts like the Community of Support, the Black Student Application Program, the Indigenous Student Application Program admission pathways to our MD Program; and the Ontario Internationally Educated Physical Therapy Bridging Program (OIEPB). These initiatives are all aimed at diversifying the physician workforce.
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With the planned new infrastructure, UTSC will be at 95% of its Council of Ontario Universities (COU) benchmark for ancillary and support services. These service spaces will also be available to SAMIH faculty and students. There will be ample common “hang out” space for students, lounge space, food services, meeting and event space, rooftop gardens, health & wellness space, bookstore, and assembly/exhibition space.
This includes access to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, which will provide SAMIH students and faculty with a world class athletics and recreation facilities in proximity.
In addition, the Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s Office of Health Professions Student Affairs (OHPSA) will expand its services to support SAMIH students at UTSC. OHPSA provides career counselling, personal counselling, as well as academic coaching and preparation. SAMIH student wellbeing will be further supported by UTSC’s Health & Wellness Centre, which offers health care providers who provide medical, nursing, counselling, health promotion and education services.