McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

City of St. Catharines and McMaster University open family health centre

Published: June 30, 2009
Dr. John Kelton at the McMaster Niagara Family Health Centre
Dr. John Kelton speaking at the opening of the McMaster Niagara Family Health Centre in St. Catharines

A new family health centre established by McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and the City of St. Catharines — expected to someday treat 6,000 patients — is training family physicians and providing care for the community.

The McMaster Niagara Family Health Centre, located at 22 Ontario Street in St. Catharines, opened its doors in January 2009. In five months, 900 new patients have signed on with two new physicians, representing 25 percent of their goal.

Yesterday the City of St. Catharines and McMaster celebrated the opening of the clinic. The Honourable Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion and MPP Scarborough-Guildwood, and the Honourable Jim Bradley, Minister of Transportation and MPP St. Catharines, attended the event.

David Price, chair of the Department of Family Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, said: "This is a win-win-win situation for the medical school, the community and the patients needing a family physician.

"The Niagara Region has first-class medical staff and has been very welcoming. We’re very pleased to work with the city to help provide excellent medical care for citizens. This care will be provided by an interprofessional team including nurses, family physicians and residents, mental health workers and others."

Currently there are three full-time and two part-time family physicians working at the centre and a staff of six to serve the medical needs of the community. In addition, a part-time general internist is on site one day a week seeing referrals from the community at large as well as teaching general internal medicine to both family medicine residents and internal medicine residents.

As part of the Garden City Family Health Team, the centre’s patients have access to interdisciplinary professionals including an adult and child psychiatrist, nurse practitioners, dieticians and social workers affording an exceptional scope in patient care.

The first family medicine resident will start in July with a second resident coming in January.

In August, a student from McMaster's physician assistant training program will be doing a three month core rotation in family medicine at the centre.

The centre has close ties to the Niagara Regional Campus of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, which will have medical students participating in clinical rotations at the centre.

"The McMaster Niagara Family Health Centre will play an important role in ensuring our students in the medical and physician assistant training programs develop their skills in an interdisciplinary environment that focuses on providing patients with the best care possible," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

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