September 30, 2009

Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine celebrates Niagara partnerships

    At the celebration of the establishment of the Niagara Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, the speakers were (from left): Jorin Lukings, second-year medical student of the Niagara Regional Campus; John Kelton, dean and vice-president, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University; Jack Lightstone, president, Brock University; Debbie Sevenpifer, president and CEO, Niagara Health System; Karl Stobbe, regional assistant dean, Niagara Regional Campus; Peter Partington, regional chair, Niagara Region. Photo by Mike Lalich.
Partnerships being built to establish the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in the Niagara region were celebrated in St. Catharines yesterday.

"We have received a particularly warm welcome from the Niagara health care community; the Niagara Health System; Brock University as well as the citizens of Niagara," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University. "That's heartening, and these collaborations will lead to better quality health care here."

At the reception, Brock University President Jack Lightstone announced a $4-million agreement between McMaster and Brock to have the Niagara Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine move into the new Niagara Health and Bioscience Research Complex currently under construction on the Brock campus.

"We value our growing partnership with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and look forward to the many synergies that will result in research and teaching in the health sciences," said Lightstone.

The medical school's Niagara campus is currently housed at the St. Catharines General Site of the Niagara Health System and has full interconnectivity with classrooms and resources at McMaster's Hamilton campus. The Niagara medical school campus is expected to move to the new Brock University building in 2011.

The second half of the three-year medical program is spent in clinical learning, and Niagara medical students will spend time at all sites of the Niagara Health System as well as other health services. The new St. Catharines healthcare complex will retain teaching spaces for the medical students and residents, including classrooms, on-call rooms, student lounges and lockers.

"Today's celebration is testament to the power of partnership and to how organizations can work together to advance health care in Niagara and beyond," said Debbie Sevenpifer, president and CEO of the Niagara Health System. "This partnership provides us with a valuable new physician recruitment opportunity, and Niagara Health is committed to working together with McMaster and Brock to ensure the continued success of this initiative."

Dr. Karl Stobbe, a Beamsville family physician, is the regional assistant dean of the Niagara campus.

The Niagara campus has 15 second-year students and 20 first-year students. In September 2010, the class will expand again to 28 first-year students. By 2016, it is expected more than 168 student physicians and medical residents will have their training in the hospitals and health-care facilities of the Niagara peninsula each year.

More than 170 physicians in the Niagara peninsula have joined the medical school as faculty members, most on a part-time basis.