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Community engagement on school of medicine sets the stage for year ahead

Planning continues with opportunities to listen, learn and co-create
January 20, 2023
A doctor holding a clipboard and a pen sits with a child

Engagements through fall 2022 included six town halls, eight research consultations and a community engagement forum.

Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is advancing plans to open a school of medicine in Brampton in fall 2025. The medical school is being built in partnership with both William Osler Health System and the local community. With a demonstrated commitment to a community-driven approach, the university has been hosting open consultations to gather input and share information on the development of the school of medicine in a public forum. 

Partnership with Osler

As TMU’s primary clinical partner, Osler will support the school of medicine by providing the clinical learning environment for medical students, residents, and other health professionals. Brampton Civic Hospital, Etobicoke General Hospital and Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness are all part of Osler, a health system that serves one of the most diverse communities in Ontario. TMU and Osler are working together to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion, and Truth and Reconciliation are embedded throughout the program and across all facets of the school of medicine, to foster a culture of inclusion and engagement. 

In November, Osler hosted a community telephone town hall, with participation from over 15,000 Brampton residents. Leaders from across Osler and TMU shared information about plans for the school of medicine, Osler’s vision for an Academic Health Centre and Osler’s partnership with TMU.

The school of medicine will be intentionally inclusive, training doctors whose grounding in community centric care and cultural humility is as important as their medical skills. Future medical students can expect a clinical learning environment that aligns with TMU values and provides a safe space to learn, grow and apply their skills.

Town halls, consultations and engagement forum

Engagement activities throughout the fall provided a conduit for collaboration. Between October and November, five town halls were held on three topics: the future of medical education at TMU; research: opportunities and strategic directions; and planning and resourcing. At each session, the university offered a progress update to TMU community members, and answered questions about planning activities. Additional town halls will be held this year.

During the same period, the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation and school of medicine planning team hosted small group research consultations to inform the research planning process and support the development of strategic research directions. More than 90 TMU faculty members took part across eight consultations on preliminary themes aligned with the university’s PDF fileStrategic Research Plan and the mission, vision, and values of the medical school. 

More than 80 community members from Brampton and surrounding areas then came together at a school of medicine engagement forum on November 29. A variety of sectors were represented, including health care, social work, community health, school boards, faith groups, nonprofits and cultural groups. Input was provided on topics from admissions criteria and policies to curriculum development and community-based learning opportunities. Participants also shared their vision for the type of medical school and physician they would like to see cultivated at TMU.

In addition to public consultations, advisory groups continue to convene to explore different aspects of the school of medicine landscape and make recommendations. The Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Community Advisory Council and the Student Advisory Council meet monthly, most recently offering input on all aspects of the admissions process and development of the school’s curriculum. The Indigenous Communities Council held its first meeting on January 12, 2023. All councils are composed of representatives from TMU faculty/staff and external community members.

Next steps

Work on a proposal for the new Doctor of Medicine (MD) program has been underway since the Government of Ontario announced its financial support for the school in March 2021. A PDF fileletter of intent for the program was released for community feedback in February 2022. A new MD program proposal is in preparation in accordance with TMU PDF fileSenate Policy 112, under the guidance of an impressive development team made up of TMU community members and external experts. The process is scheduled for completion by the end of this academic year.

As a busy year of planning draws to a close, the school of medicine team continues to grow, now seeking to fill multiple positions. A search is underway for the dual role of founding dean, school of medicine and vice-president, medical affairs, announced in December. Two senior leadership positions have also been posted for the school of medicine’s executive committee.

A Black Health Lead will oversee the advancement of the school's commitments to implementing an anti-racism approach in its work and to combating anti-Black racism. An Indigenous Health Lead is also under recruitment to develop an Indigenous health strategy and action plan to ensure decolonization, reconciliation and Indigenous community health are built into the school’s foundation. 

Both portfolios will crosscut a range of areas, driving a specific scope of responsibility while influencing and guiding all aspects of the school's development and interests, including curriculum.

Community members are encouraged to visit the school of medicine website. If you have questions and comments please reach out to: medicine@torontomu.ca.

 

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