Thursday, October 31, 2013
From the desk of Dr. Stephen Wetmore, Chair/Chief Family Medicine, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry
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The Department of Family Medicine recently moved into The Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine, Western's newest building, a $17 million, 66,700 square-foot building off Richmond Street.
Family medicine is a leading discipline in education, patient care, and social advocacy and graduates doctors with the leadership skills necessary to move the discipline and the whole healthcare system forward in the future.
Beginning in the 1960s with Dr. Ian McWhinney as the first Chair, our department of family medicine has a proud history as one of the first academic departments of Family Medicine, and is known as the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. Dr. McWhinney was also instrumental in facilitating research in our Department and starting the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, the main research arm of our Department. The researchers in this center have built a national and international reputation as the premier primary care research centre in Canada. The Centre for Studies has expertise in Patient - centered care, multidisciplinary research, chronic disease, multi-morbidity, aboriginal health, child health, information technology, and patient access to care. This centre and our Graduate Studies program have attracted family doctors from around the world to who come to Western to study, conduct research and then become academic leaders in family medicine in their home communities.
For the first time, the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine will now be housed together with our Department in one building. This building therefore will function as a primary care research hub for Southwestern Ontario as well. Now there is a home to showcase the work of our researchers, and to provide a comfortable and welcoming space for collaboration and study. The Classrooms, seminar rooms, and information technology in the building will facilitate research collaborations and the dissemination of research findings. The clinical trials facilities will lead to important discoveries that will enhance clinical care.
It is my hope as well that having our Department all together under one roof will facilitate interaction between family medicine clinicians and family medicine researchers which will lead to enhanced practice - based research.
Finally with our Department's move into The Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine, it raises the exciting potential that arises from our sharing this facility with the Schulich Inter-- faculty Program in Public Health. Some of the faculty members in this new program will have major appointments or cross appointments in our Department of Family Medicine. Many people acknowledge that there needs to be better linkages between Public Health and primary health care/Family Medicine, and having us together in one facility is an excellent start. The expertise that exists in our Department, which I have already alluded to, fits very well with the health care challenges that will be addressed by the Public Health Program, namely First Nations Health, Clean water, Chronic Disease, and Maternal and Child Health among other things.
The Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine has the potential to be the major hub for medical education, primary care research and family medicine/public health collaboration for Southwestern Ontario.
Dr. Stephen Wetmore
Chair/Chief Family Medicine
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