Introducing Canada’s first academic home for research and graduate education in paramedicine
When you think of paramedics, many will imagine 911 calls, flashing red and white lights and emergency medical support. But in recent years, the field of paramedicine has changed dramatically. In addition to urgent stabilization and transport of patients, paramedics are increasingly providing much-needed non-emergency community-based health and social services.
In response to this evolution, the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at the University of Toronto has created the Paramedicine Collaborative at DFCM, Canada’s first academic home for research, innovation, scholarship and graduate education in paramedicine.
“Over the last few years, the role of paramedicine in the health system has grown to include a focus on integrated community-based, and interprofessional primary health care, in addition to its core emergency and urgent care functions,” explains Dr. Walter Tavares, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Society, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), and Paramedic and Scientist with York Region Paramedic Services. “As mobile care providers, paramedics are flexible enough to go where we are most needed, whether that’s to a home-bound patient, under-serviced rural areas, or parts of the healthcare system that need support.”
“To ensure we continue to advance core functions of paramedicine and ensure it is integrated into models of care in ways that support the delivery of comprehensive healthcare, we need to think critically about how we educate paramedics, what advances are needed and how best to integrate paramedicine into the healthcare system.”
The Collaborative is run by DFCM in partnership with UTSC’s Department of Health and Society, home to the Specialist Program in Paramedicine. As Canada’s first degree program in Paramedicine, this partnership represents a unique opportunity to support advancements in paramedicine and its growing integration with the healthcare system, while catalyzing innovative solutions for health care delivery to Ontarians.
Led by Director Dr. Tavares, Associate Director Dr. Ian Drennan, and Medical Director Dr. Megan Landes, the Paramedicine Collaborative forms part of DFCM’s Division of Emergency Medicine.
“We are delighted to welcome the Paramedicine Collaborative to the Division of Emergency Medicine at DFCM,” says Division Head Dr. Landes. “As an emergency physician myself, I have worked closely with paramedics over many years and have a deep appreciation for the ways that they can support and extend primary care beyond the walls of our clinics and emergency departments.”