Understanding the Academies

Mar 10, 2016

A special feature of the University of Toronto (U of T) MD Program is its academy structure. There are four academies. The St. George campus includes the Fitzgerald, Peters-Boyd and Wightman-Berris Academies. The Mississauga campus has one academy – the Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM).

Academy Map

Each of the four academies is comprised of clusters of the University’s affiliated hospitals and health care sites. All U of T medical students are allocated to an academy for the period of their MD studies.

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. At each of the academies, students learn clinical skills, participate in problem-based learning, inter-professional education, and conduct research in community-based partner agencies.

During clerkship, students from all academies also attend rotations at different sites, including The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and other sites around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

FitzGerald Academy

This academy is named after 2004 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame inductee, John Gerald FitzGerald (1882-1940). FitzGerald was Canada’s public health visionary, responsible for the development and dissemination of free vaccines to every Canadian, the formation of Canada’s first School of Hygiene at the University of Toronto, and the establishment of Connaught Laboratories (previously a world leader in Insulin production).

Also known as Fitz, the FitzGerald Academy is located in downtown Toronto and includes St. Michael’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre. Caring for some of the city’s most vulnerable populations, St. Michael’s Hospital cares for about 24,000 inpatients annually.

Currently, Fitz’s first –year enrolment is 54 students. In total, Fitz registers over 700 preclerkship, clerkship and elective medical students per year.

Mississauga Academy of Medicine

The newest of the four academies is the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, also known as MAM. It is located in the Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Partnered with the Trillium Health Partners (THP) servicing the Peel and GTA region, MAM works with the following sites offering both acute and community-based care:

• Credit Valley Hospital
• Mississauga Hospital
• Queensway Health Centre

“MAM is relatively small so we all get to know each other very well, hence being affectionately known as the ‘Mamily’”, says 1T8 student Tejas Desai who studies at MAM. MAM usually admits 54 students and currently has a total of 216 students — or ‘MAMers’, as they call themselves.

Peters-Boyd Academy

The Peters-Boyd Academy, also known as PB, is comprised of three hospitals:

• Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
• Women’s College Hospital
• North York General Hospital

Matthew Taylor, a 1T8 student based at PB , describes the different hospitals, “Sunnybrook is a large hospital campus with advanced facilities for in-patients. North York General is a smaller hospital with a community care feel and Women’s College Hospital is focused on out-patient care. “

PB is named after Dr. Vera Peters (1911-1993) and Dr. William Boyd (1885-1979). Dr. Peters was a professor of radiology at the University of Toronto and a pioneer in the radiation treatment of cancer, acclaimed for her contributions to the treatment of Hodgkin’s disease. Dr. Boyd was an author, award-winning teacher and professor of pathology at U of T.

Currently, PB enrollment is 60 students for first year and registers over 400 preclerkship, clerkship and elective medical students every year.

Wightman-Berris

As Dave Scholl, a 1T7 and Wightman-Berris (WB) student, notes, “WB is the largest academy, providing a rich network of friends and colleagues.” WB is comprised of:

• UHN (University Health Network) – including Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto Rehab
• Sinai Health System – including Mount Sinai Hospital and Bridgepoint
• Michael Garron Hospital, formerly Toronto East General Hospital

WB is named after Dr. KJR Wightman (1914-1978), who was Physician-in-Chief of the Toronto General and post-graduate Dean at U of T, and Dr. Barnet Berris (1921-2009) who was a clinical teacher and the Physician-in-Chief at Mount Sinai.

At this time WB student enrolment is 91 first-year students. Over 700 preclerkship, clerkship and elective students are registered at the academy every year.