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By Carmen Chai

The provincial government is spending $250,000 to see if Ryerson can create a strip of education, health care and community service facilities along Victoria Street.

The project is a co-operation between the university, St. Michael’s Hospital and George Brown College, and could lead Ryerson and St. Mike’s to share buildings or labs.

The school has so far only had preliminary discussions with the hospital and hasn’t met with George Brown yet, but Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said that there are several possible ways the school could co-operate with the St. Mike’s.

“Imagine that they had a piece of land…and they were planning to build a 10-storey building, why not build a 20-storey building, so the top ten floors are ours?” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.

Part of the motivation for the grant might be the government’s need for the health workers that Ryerson produces.

“The province will need more individuals in health human resources, whether it’s in nursing, whether it’s in physio, whether it’s in dietician, food security,” said Levy.

Ryerson already works regularly with St. Mike’s, which offers placements to nursing students.

Third-year nursing student, Lakshi Kathirgamanathan, 20, thinks this new collaboration will bring out the best of Ryerson’s nursing program. She learned the most from her hands-on experience as a practicing nurse at Toronto General Hospital giving injections, administering medication and offering patient care.

“It was in these kinds of situations you learn what real nursing is. You don’t just look at the patient but everything around them,” she said. “I think working at St. Mike’s will be good for future students. Travelling will save them a lot of time too.”

Dr. Arthur Slutsky, Vice President of Research at St. Mike’s, agrees.

“It’s where you bring researchers with different backgrounds together and tie it in with people who work on the front line with health care. There is no question that Ryerson has superb researchers and St. Mike’s has the patients, research samples and equipment for Ryerson,” he said. “We have common goals to affect the healthcare of Toronto, of Canada and to have a global impact.”

This grant follows on the heels of a revelation two months ago that the university’s head of research wants to expand the school’s health care programs.

Tas Venetsanopoulos, VP Research and Innovation, also mused that Ryerson might even have a medical school in the distant future.

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