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Original Article:
Dec 02, 2010
By Joe Chin

Trillium Teaching. Trillium Health Centre and the Summerville Family Health Team officially opened the new offices of the Trillium-Summerville Family Medicine Teaching Unit (FMTU) today. From left, in one of the examining rooms, is Dr. Michael Kates and Dr. Laurence Biro with Sharon Bains and three-month-old Meher Bains. Staff photo by Rob Beintema

More than 1,100 Mississauga families without a family doctor now have one, thanks to a partnership between Trillium Health Centre, Mississauga-based Summerville Family Medicine Teaching Unit (FMTU) and the University of Toronto's Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Launched in July 2009 with four doctors, the Trillium-Summerville FMTU welcomed six more doctors this past July, all of whom are doing their two-year post-graduate training.

Today (Thursday, Dec. 2), to accommodate the new recruits and patients, the health team opened its new offices at 101 Queensway W., across from the hospital's Mississauga site.

“It’s been a long, exciting journey,” said Dr. Michael Kates, Trillium’s chief of family medicine and director of the Trillium-Summerville FMTU. “Initially, it was a mere concept, but it took shape very quickly. Once the Ontario Ministry of Health approved our teaching unit, our excitement could not be contained.”

The clinic is staffed with nurses, doctors, social workers, dietitians, psychologists and other specialists who play a crucial role in improving quality of care. Residents will see patients and complete their post-graduate training in family medicine. After that, they’ll have the option of continuing their practice in Mississauga or going elsewhere.

“It’s a win-win for our community because it addresses a shortage of physicians in the area,” Kates said. “This is a busy city and there’s still need for family doctors. We’re hoping these physicians will set up shop in our community.”

FMTUs are part of a Queen’s Park effort to increase the number of family physicians in Ontario. The government aims to have 50 units across the province once the initiative is fully implemented. 

Trillium president and chief executive officer Janet Davidson lauded the venture.

“Having access to a family doctor means having access to someone who knows your medical history and can provide the right care at the right time, someone who sees you as a whole and not as a condition,” she said.
Davidson noted that every year until 2012, the Trillium-Summerville FMTU will take on more residents until it reaches a full complement of 18. By then, it will be providing primary care for some 3,000 patients.

“That’s 3,000 people from our community that will have a family physician at the FMTU – what a wonderful statement that is,” she said.

Residents spend three days per week seeing patients in the teaching unit and a half-day in academic seminars. They also spend one month rotating through various specialty departments at Trillium.

Credit Valley Hospital operates a similar FMTU.