Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health to open at U of T, Scarborough in 2025

By Lincoln DePradine

MPP Mitzie Hunter (second from left) with some of her volunteers

MPP Mitzie Hunter has described as a “big deal’’, the establishing of the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) that is scheduled to open in September 2025.

The academy, which is supported by Ontario government funding, will be housed in a new building at the University of Toronto (U of T) Scarborough Campus. The SAMIH will train the next generation of doctors, nurses and other health professionals in Scarborough and Durham region.

“I recognize the impact that this medical school is going to have on our community in Scarborough,’’ Hunter told a group of supporters on October 5.

“Having this new faculty, with all of these opportunities that will be opened for young people in this community, matters,’’ she said, adding that it’s a “big deal’’ that is going to “change the face of our community’’.

Hunter made her remarks at an “Appreciation Dinner’’ for volunteers that assisted her in the campaign leading up to the last provincial election on June 2.

She was reelected as MPP for Scarborough—Guildwood, a riding she has represented in the legislature since 2013.

In the June polls, Hunter was one of just eight Liberals to win their ridings.  She’s since been named deputy leader and Liberal Party critic for education, labour, immigration, training and skills development, as well as women’s social and economic opportunity.

“I am so happy that all of you decided to join me on this campaign for my reelection. You’re all my superheroes,’’ Hunter said at the “Appreciation Dinner’’ at Centennial College Event Centre in Scarborough.

“I couldn’t let more time pass without bringing all of you together to say thank you, because you have all done an amazing job. There are only eight caucus members in this entire province and I get to be one of them because of you.’’

As part of the event, certificates of thanks were presented to the volunteers. Some have been volunteering with Hunter since 2013, including a 92-year-old woman.

“As an MPP, as a politician, you cannot do things alone. You need a team and people who are in your corner and who support you and who, frankly, also will serve as a reference and tell you what’s what; and give you the information that you need to do your job,’’ said Hunter, who reiterated her commitment to, and the work she has done, to improve healthcare and transport services in Scarborough.

“I do what I do because I want to make a difference in the community that I grew up in, so that young people and others in the community can have opportunities; can thrive, can grow, can contribute, can be who they want to be; and, I’m able to do that, because I have the support of the community.’’

Hunter, who studied at U of T Scarborough Campus, recalled her efforts in recent years lobbying university officials to establish a medical department at the campus and pleading to them “to understand that investment mattered’’.

Once operational, it’s promised that the SAMIH will graduate up to 30 physicians, 30 physician assistants, 30 nurse practitioners, 40 physical therapists and 300 life sciences undergraduates each year. It will also include an expanded life sciences program at U of T Scarborough. 

“The new Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health will serve the local community, in partnership with neighbour hospitals and community organizations,” U of T president Meric Gertler said recently.

“It will train the next generation of health professionals, foster innovative scholarly activity, and provide much-needed health and economic benefits to the Eastern GTA.”

The SAMIH will not only involve itself in teaching, but there also will be a particular focus on recruiting from Indigenous and Black communities that are currently underserved.

As well, research and teaching partnerships are expected with several local organizations, such as East Scarborough Storefront, TAIBU Community Health Centre and the Malvern Family Resource Centre.

Hunter, a former Ontario minister of education and skills development, said she also has never “wavered’’ in seeking enhanced public transit services for Scarborough residents.

“Scarborough needs and deserves better transit and we’re getting it,’’ she said, pointing to ongoing work on subway extension in Scarborough; and also plans for a new bus service between Oshawa and the Scarborough Town Centre.

“Think about the difference that that is going to make to people,’’ Hunter said.

LJI Reporter