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New Dedicated Space at HPHA Solidifies Commitment to Teaching and Mentorship

May 17, 2017

When the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) undertook a major renovation at its Stratford site, the plans included new dedicated space for trainees, including medical students and residents.

With support from Western University's Schulich School of Medicine& Dentistry, the new internal medicine space includes three exam rooms with computer workstations for learners to see patients, do research and write and read patient notes. Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's Office of Distributed Education contributed $3300 to the project to help fund the technology for the trainee workstations.

"As we've increased the number of learners at our site, there is an increased need for capacity," said Dr. Shanil Narayan, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry's Regional Academic Director for Huron-Perth. "I think it's important for the learners here to see in a tangible way that they are part of the hospital and part of the culture here."

In 2016, the HPHA had a total of 85 learners training at its four sites, including Stratford General Hospital.

"We don't think of it in terms of community hospital versus academic hospital; we think of ourselves as an extension of an academic centre, that happens to practise in a smaller setting," said Dr. Tom Haffner, head of Internal Medicine at HPHA and a Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty member. "Having this dedicated space helps to show learners that just because you are in a smaller community, doesn't mean you can't be academically invested and involved in the University."

Currently, there are four internal medicine residents at Stratford General Hospital taking advantage of the new space. Dr. Chevy Priyadamkol, a first year family medicine resident says his experience in Stratford has been extremely valuable to his training. "In Stratford, the learning opportunities have been plentiful and the experiences have been very diverse," he said. "Having a dedicated resident space is very important, especially in a community hospital, since many of us come from out of town. It can be very helpful to have an area where we can work and continue to learn."

Dr. George Kim, assistant dean, Rural, Regional & Community Engagement at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry says this new space will enhance the experience for both faculty and learners in Stratford. "It was important to us to support this project financially because we want our learners to continue to build on the great experiences they are having in our distributed sites. We also want our faculty to know they are fully supported in the fantastic work they do mentoring and teaching here."

Construction on the 8,000 square foot West Building at Stratford General Hospital was completed at the end of March, and became fully operational in April.