Ontario Construction News staff writer
The University of Toronto has started construction on the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH), a new site to train physicians, nurse practitioners and other health-care professionals in Scarborough.
Construction began on the site in early fall 2023, with a ground blessing was held by U of T Scarborough’s office of Indigenous initiatives in October. Excavation is expected to start in January 2024. The project team includes the construction services company EllisDon and the architecture firms Diamond Schmitt and MVRDV.
A recent $25-million gift from Orlando Corporation will support the construction, along with funding from the Government of Ontario’s.
“Orlando Corporation’s benefaction stands as a model for visionary philanthropy,” said David Palmer, U of T’s vice-president of advancement. “It’s a beacon of extraordinary generosity with the potential to inspire other transformative investments in Scarborough and the Eastern GTA.”
The purpose-built, five-storey building will occupy 144, 482 square feet and sit at the corner of Military Trail and Morningside Avenue – a prominent gateway to U of T Scarborough, directly across from the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.
SAMIH is expected to graduate about 40 physicians, 60 physician assistants, 30 nurse practitioners and 40 physical therapists each year. More than 300 new health sciences students will join U of T Scarborough’s campus, further strengthening SAMIH as a key hub for health education in the Eastern GTA.
Projected to open in September 2026, the building will include a clinical psychology clinic; a pharmacy clinic (Discovery Pharmacy) led by faculty and students from U of T’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy; and clinical settings in which nurse practitioner students, under supervision, can provide direct care to the community. The building will also feature an anatomy lab for medical students, two large technology-enhanced active learning (TEAL) classrooms, a 21-bed clinical skills lab and 10 case-based learning instructional labs.
“A dynamic learning space can make all the difference in education – especially when attracting the best and brightest students,” said Anna Kennedy, chair of U of T’s Governing Council. “This building is an example of one such space. We anticipate that many of the students who will fill its hallways will go on to become some of the region’s top health-care professionals.”
The Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health will strengthen connections across numerous hospitals and networks. Its partners will include the Scarborough Health Network, Michael Garron Hospital, Lakeridge Health and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. U of T will build upon existing relationships with local community partners to develop new research and teaching opportunities.
“This incredible building will help foster a vital pipeline for nurse practitioners,” said Linda Johnston, dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. “Nurse practitioners play a critical role in the health of communities, and future graduates of the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of people in Scarborough and the Eastern GTA.”
Similarly, the Discovery Pharmacy at SAMIH will provide pharmacy services and interprofessional experiential learning opportunities for students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. It will also help enhance connections with practising pharmacists in health networks in the surrounding area.