New med building opens

The $77-million medical facility will foster team-learning

Principal Daniel Woolf speaks to the crowd at the new medical building’s grand opening on Sept. 22.
Principal Daniel Woolf speaks to the crowd at the new medical building’s grand opening on Sept. 22.

The Queen’s School of Medicine completed a new $77-million home at the corner of Arch and Stuart Streets.

The building had its grand opening on Sept. 22, with approximately 400 alumni, students and faculty in attendance. The four-storey building will support a new patient-focused curriculum. Students will be taught in small groups to learn how to deal with patients directly.

Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Medicine, said the new building will give the medical students at Queen’s a true home.

“Our nursing students and our rehabilitation students will be coming for various classes here as well, and I imagine other students across campus,” Reznick said. “When we’re not using the facility, it’s a Queen’s facility.”

The building was funded with $57.6 million given from the provincial and federal governments through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, over $17 million from donors and $500,000 from medical students through an opt-outable fee of $100.

The building has 124,000 square-feet of teaching and learning space including two large lecture theatres, a clinical education centre, simulation laboratories, basic hands-on laboratories and 28 small meeting rooms that encourage team-based learning.

Research won’t be conducted in the building.

The Anatomy Museum, previously in Botterell Hall, has been relocated onto the third floor of the new facility. Reznick said the 20-room clinical education centre within the building will allow medical students to work on community patients while supervised by qualified doctors.

To be used exclusively by medical students, the clinic will eventually open as a working clinic to treat patients. During flu season the clinic will serve the community, for example.

It has not yet been finalized where patients will be coming from, but Reznick said the School will likely partner with a Kingston hospital.

“We don’t run patient facilities,” he said. “Likely one of the hospitals will run the clinic in our building.

“At the end of the day this building is purpose-built,” Reznick said, adding that the new building didn’t mean an automatic increase in program acceptance.

“We increased the size of the [medical] school about five to 10 years ago and we’re not looking at increasing it right this second,” he said.

Construction of the building took two years and was designed jointly by Diamond and Schmitt Architects from Toronto and Shoalts and Zaback Architects from Kingston. Plans started roughly three years ago with a need for an upgrade in the medical program.

“It helps solidify our vision for the future; we know that our students will be trained in the best facilities,” he said. “It allows us to live in excess of our dreams; our dreams are always to create doctors but we want to create doctors that are beyond our imaginations.”

Thurarshen Jeyalingam, president of the Queen’s Aesculapian Society, said the project’s dependence on donations was a testament to the medical school’s public image.

The Aesculapian Society represents medical students, graduates and members of the School of Medicine.

“It demonstrates that the public and our donors have a real sense of trust in students,” Jeyalingam, Meds ’13, said. “They obviously want us to succeed as students to become better doctors.”

Queen’s graduates currently make up 40 per cent of Southeastern Ontario’s doctors.

Jeyalingam said the updated medical facilities now match the curriculum and will make the learning experience at Queen’s more enjoyable. An example of this is the simulation lab, which provides students with hands-on practice for surgeries and inserting intravenous tubes.

“The paradigm has historically been ‘see one, do one, teach one’ but now we’ve changed that paradigm to ‘see one, practice a thousand times, and then do one’ which I think is ultimately better,” Jeyalingam said.

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