Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital) Celebrates 25 Years of Family Medicine Residency Training 1991 – 2016

Nov 15, 2016
Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) prides itself on mentoring the next generation of healthcare providers. Last month’s 25th anniversary of the University of Toronto Family Medicine Residency Program was a celebration of just that. Current and former residents joined faculty physicians and staff to celebrate at three well-attended events on October 21 & 22 – a Friday evening wine & cheese, a Saturday CME lecture and an evening gala at the Aga Khan Museum.

The events featured many highlights, including the introduction of a new award.  As part of their efforts to recognize the MGH faculty’s commitment to all medical learners, the Office of Medical Education presented Dr. Rajiv Singal, MGH Urologist, with the inaugural Geordie Fallis Award for Advocacy and Mentorship in Medical Education. “Almost all of what makes Dr. Geordie Fallis who he is has to do with his full embrace of all of what it is to be a doctor and a professional,” stated Dr. Singal. “He is a renowned figure in the city so it really is an honour to have won an award in his name.”

David White, Interim Chair, Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Toronto (U of T) also gave a formal speech about importance of family medicine as a community-based discipline, noting that community affiliated teaching hospitals now make up the majority of the university’s academic sites. He described the events as “a wonderful opportunity to recognize the great work of the founders and teachers, the accomplishments of many illustrious alumni, and the contribution that our community-based programs have made to education and research that advance our discipline.”

Since the residency program’s inception in 1991, over 325 family medicine residents have received training at MGH.  A testament to the success of the program is the number of residents who stay on to work in this community and hospital. Dr. John Abrahamson, Chief of Medicine, says “We have to be quite proud that many of our graduates who have left the program have stayed and worked within the community. I think that overall that trend can only dramatically improve the care that we provide to the Toronto East Health Network.”

The 25 years have seen many changes:

  • In the first year, all residents were U of T medical undergraduates. Today, they come from medical schools from all over Canada and across the world.
  • There was a greater proportion of male residents in the early years of the program.  Today over 60 percent of all family medicine residents at U of T are female.  
  • At the program’s inception there were 14 family medicine residents. Now, in 2016, there are 36 residents, making MGH the second-largest family medicine program affiliated with U of T.

“So many things have changed since I completed my rotating internship at TEGH in 1990-91, but some things have not” states Dr. Sal Spadafora, Vice Dean, Post MD Education, U of T.  “What has not changed is the enthusiasm for this great good place, and for the young learners who cross its threshold no matter what decade it is.  There is diaspora of graduates of this fantastic hospital that span the country, the continent and indeed the globe.  No matter where we go, no matter what we do, we have been changed by our time spent here, and that change is for the better.” 

Dr. Jamie Meuser, Executive Director of the CFPC (and former rotating intern and Family Practice Chief at Toronto East General Hospital [TEGH]) also commented on the event as a reminder of the role that TEGH and the Family Medicine Residency Program played for so many of our community’s family physicians: “Being there that night brought back how important that place, that program, and all those people were to me for all that time.  Most of all, it brought back what a lot of fun we had.  I won’t soon forget that evening.”

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