Chair's Message – Convergence Centre

We will soon see full occupancy of the Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine (WCPHFM), as the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics moves to occupy the third floor.

This move is eagerly anticipated as it brings together the Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology with the Interprofessional Program in Public Health in one location. This is a unique opportunity to impact health care in Southwestern Ontario and beyond.

So, we might well ask: what is the potential of the convergence of the expertise that exists within the departments and the Interprofessional Program of Public Health?

There is a lot of optimism and excitement about this convergence. Firstly, primary care and public health share common goals for improved personal and community health, for prevention of disease, and improvement in the social determinants of health. This is an opportunity for family medicine to work more closely with public health.

The research expertise that exists within the department of Epidemiology and the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine can lead to powerful collaborations to explore the complex health issues that face us like chronic disease and multimorbidity, the inequality in health outcomes for certain populations like indigenous Canadians or more local issues like why do more people die from heart disease in Middlesex County than in the city of London?

For family physicians we can hope that research findings from these collaborations can be translated into better clinical care in our communities, demonstrating once again the wisdom in the Four Principles of Family Medicine: “Family Medicine is community-based and the Family physician is a resource to a practice population.”

The ideas arising from this concept of a “Convergence Centre”, whether it is called that or not, fit very nicely with the strategic priorities of our Department that I wrote about last month.

Even at this early stage the concept of a “Convergence Centre” in the WCPHFM has the potential to impact personal and community health from local to national and potentially international scope.

More to come in future Chair’s messages. As always I welcome your feedback at or Twitter @DOCSJW.