By Laura Blenkinsop
Ryerson University is inching towards a solid presence in the medical field.
Since VP research and innovation, Tas Venetsanopoulos, hinted at the possibility of Ryerson having its own medical school just over a year ago, Ryerson’s efforts to expand its health sciences programs have gained momentum.
At the board of governors meeting on Monday Sept. 29, Jeffrey Lozon, President and CEO of St. Michael’s Hospital, presented a slide show introducing St. Mike’s and its educational goals in hopes that one day Ryerson will be a part of them.
“If we play our cards right in the next couple of years we could be formally affiliated in an academic partnership,” he said to the board.
This potential partnership has been in the works between St. Mike’s, George Brown and Ryerson since the provincial government gave the three parties $250,000 last autumn.
The money was intended to start a joint effort to build a health sciences community along Victoria Street and pump more health workers into the province.
Since then, only about six meetings have been held to talk about the collaboration and nothing has been set in stone, but Ryerson has been raising its heath sciences profile other ways.
Ryerson recently bought a laser scanner to help with researching ways to detect cancer earlier.
And, this year Jack Cockwell donated $5 million to name the nursing school, now the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, and kick start plans for the program to have its own building.
Ryerson President Sheldon Levy said the new nursing building might be part of the proposed health strip on Victoria Street.
While the school cannot get in on the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, the research and education centre that St. Mike’s is currently building across from Fran’s at the corner of Victoria and Shuter streets, Levy says there is a possibility of bridging the gap between Ryerson and the medical field.
“Just imagine that the next building was a Ryerson building right next to it,” he said.
Whether that building also houses other health science programs or even a medical school is another question.
“It’s fair to say that there are a number of people who think we should begin serious planning for a medical centre,” Levy said, though adding that “we haven’t started yet.”
“Development of health sciences, excluding MD and doctorates, I think is something right before us today.”