Brock and McMaster renew health sciences collaboration

McMaster University and Brock University have renewed an agreement which has seen more Niagara-trained doctors practising in the region.

Signing a five-year extension on Wednesday, Jan. 8 were Brock University President Gervan Fearon, Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University Paul O’Byrne, Brock Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Dean Peter Tiidus, and Regional Assistant Dean of McMaster’s Niagara Regional Campus Amanda Bell.

Since moving into space on the Brock campus in 2012, more than 30 physician graduates and 30 medical residency graduates from McMaster University’s Niagara Regional Campus have begun practising in the region. The renewed agreement provides the framework to continue the partnership and to expand its benefits to students of the two universities.

Brock and McMaster universities extended their partnership on Wednesday, Jan. 8. Pictured in the front row are Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University Paul O’Byrne (left) and Brock University President Gervan Fearon. Back row from left are Assistant Dean of McMaster’s Niagara Regional Campus Amanda Bell, McMaster student Ali Beydoun, Brock student Aaron Wexler and Brock Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Dean Peter Tiidus.

McMaster’s Niagara Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine is located in the Roy & Lois Cairns Health & Bioscience Research Complex on Brock’s main St. Catharines campus.

More than a renewal agreement, the signing marked a commitment to expand the academic collaboration between the two institutions.

“This is a unique partnership between two universities,” said O’Byrne. “Not only are we sharing space on the Brock campus, but we also share learning resources as well as collaborations in teaching and research and in exploring health career pathways.”

The 9,000-square-foot McMaster campus is currently the educational home for 84 undergraduate medical students and 26 medical residents who are doing their clinical and specialty training at Niagara Health.

Since moving to Brock from the former St. Catharines General Hospital in 2012, the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine has graduated 208 medical students, 80 family medicine residents, seven emergency medicine residents and two general surgery residents. More than 60 of them have stayed in Niagara to practise.

“Brock University holds as a key priority the contributions it makes to enriching and strengthening communities across the Niagara region,” said Fearon. “It’s difficult to imagine a more important way of impacting peoples’ lives than by helping improve their health care, including the training of health professionals right here in Niagara. Brock is pleased that our partnership with McMaster University facilitates us in making this contribution, as well as establishing a new scope for building on our shared successes.”

Tiidus said the partnership is a benefit to Brock students because they are able to access McMaster’s anatomy lab and other resources.

“The unparalleled access by our undergraduate students to the McMaster human anatomy facilities, coupled with our other extensive and hi-tech anatomy teaching facilities makes our anatomy instruction and student learning experience among the very best in Canada,” he said, adding that several students from Brock’s Medical Sciences program have continued their journey toward becoming physicians through McMaster’s Niagara campus.

“It’s an enriched environment,” said Bell.

“In the past, our collaboration has included both joint clinical and international health learning opportunities as well as joint research projects. We’re looking forward to future partnerships between our programs on issues such as the health of marginalized populations, and on joint symposia.

“We appreciate the opportunity of our medical students to feel part of the university community life here; it’s a beautiful campus,” she added.


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