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St. Michael’s celebrates completion of largest academic family health team in Ontario

Toronto, June 22, 2012

By Leslie Shepherd

St. Michael’s Hospital today celebrated the completion of the largest academic family health team in Ontario. The St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team at 80 Bond St., which had its formal ribbon-cutting ceremony today, is the hospital’s fifth family practice location.

Staff started seeing patients on one floor in 2010 but with the completion of two years of renovations and construction, they have about 17,000 square feet of workspace on two floors, including 22 exam rooms, eight consult rooms, five chiropractic treatment rooms and two dental labs.

St, Michael’s five family health team locations collectively have 30,000 registered patients, the largest academic family health team in Ontario.

The staff at 80 Bond includes 10 physicians, four nurses, a nurse practitioner, social worker, dietician and pharmacist, who provide care to a growing and increasingly diverse population of inner city residents, students, immigrants and condo dwellers.

Patients can already see physicians in the evening, Saturday morning and at long weekend clinics that rotate among the various locations, and soon they will be able to get same or next day appointments at 80 Bond. The 80 Bond team includes two chiropractors and a clinical psychologist who provide services not usually found at a family practice thanks to partnerships with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and Ryerson University.

In partnership with Toronto Public Health, patients can also see a dentist and dental hygienist, a big advantage for low-income patients who no longer have to visit two different locations for dental and primary health care.

The family health unit also has a longstanding partnership with the University of Toronto, with whom we teach students from many disciplines.

St. Michael’s family health team is one of the leaders in Canada in bringing together various health care professionals in one location to treat patients collaboratively and to share knowledge about new and innovative practices.

“Interprofessional education is the way of the future,” said Jim O’Neill, program director of the Inner City Health Program. “Through collaboration with academic partners, we are able to enrich the student and patient care experience.”

Dr. Philip Berger, chief of family medicine, said St. Michael’s family health team may be using interprofessional education more extensively than anyone else in Canada. He said interprofessional education teaches future health care professionals how to work and learn together rather than in silos, and that patients benefit from the multidisciplinary approach and improved communications.

“Feedback from patients in each of our five locations is consistently and exceptionally positive with respect to the quality and timeliness of the care they receive,” Dr. Berger said. “Similarly, our medical residents and other health professional students rate their learning experience as outstanding thanks to the interprofessional nature of the teams and the diversity of our patients.”

St. Michael’s other Family Health Team sites are at 61 Queen St. E., the Health Centre at 410 (410 Sherbourne St.), St. Jamestown Health Centre and St. Lawrence Health Centre.

About St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 23 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, and care of the homeless are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Center, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.