Carlo Fidani's $10 million gift to boost numbers of primary care physicians in Ontario

Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 2:07pm

Mississauga businessman Carlo Fidani has donated $10 million to the University of Toronto to advance medical education and construct a new Health Sciences Complex at U of T Mississauga, scheduled to open in August 2011.

The $37 million complex will house the new Mississauga Academy of Medicine, one of the most advanced sites for training family medicine and community-based primary care physicians in Canada. Fifty-four new MDs will graduate from the academy every year, adding urgently needed capacity to the training of primary care physicians in Ontario.

Fidani, chairman of Orlando Corporation and president of its foundation, has pledged $10 million as part of a $20 million campaign that will support the creation of the Mississauga Academy of Medicine within a new Health Sciences Complex, and endow medical student bursaries and a chair in family and community medicine at the Faculty of Medicine. U of T will be seeking matching funds of $10 million for the Fidani gift.

The gift is the single largest donation ever made to the University of Toronto Mississauga. It was announced at a special event May 27 honouring Ian Orchard, who is stepping down after serving eight years as U of T Mississauga's vice-president and principal.

This is an extraordinarily generous gift from Mr. Fidani who, along with the provincial government, has been a catalyst for the creation of the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, says David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto. We are deeply grateful for his leadership and vision for improved health care access in the Mississauga community and, ultimately, for Canada as a whole.

The four-storey Health Sciences Complex, currently under construction, will house the graduate biomedical communications program, research laboratories, classrooms and administrative offices in addition to the Mississauga Academy of Medicine. In the facility, researchers and scientists will work side by side with faculty members who will teach future medical practitioners, creating an environment that will bring theory to life for the academy's students.

The Mississauga Academy of Medicine, a jewel in the crown of U of T Mississauga, has taken a giant step forward with this gift, says Orchard. With the encouragement and support of U of T's partners including Trillium Health Centre and Credit Valley Hospital, the academy will provide the best and brightest students with opportunities to make a significant impact in their chosen profession.

With 54 students entering per year, by 2014 the academy will have a total of 216 students enrolled in the four-year program. Students will focus on primary care (family and community medicine) and the generalist specialties such as general surgery, general internal medicine and general psychiatry.

Since the early 1980s, the University of Toronto has trained close to 50 per cent of the family physicians in Ontario, 25 per cent of all the specialist physicians in Canada and 83 per cent of the physicians working in the high-growth areas around Toronto, says Catharine Whiteside, dean of U of T's Faculty of Medicine and vice-provost, relations with health care institutions. Because of Mr. Fidani's generosity, our students will have the opportunity to learn in one of the most dynamic communities and within two of the finest hospital environments in Canada.

In 2009, the provincial government provided capital funding over three years, and announced additional medical school positions at U of T. The expansion is part of a province-wide initiative to increase the number of physicians across Ontario.

This gift will transform health care in the Mississauga community and beyond, says Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. With the city's commitment to create a community of optimal health, this gift from one of our greatest local supporters, Carlo Fidani, will serve as a huge boost to building a healthy city. We want to ensure the health needs of all our residents and families are met.

On behalf of Orlando Corporation and its employees, we are delighted to contribute to a project that will have such a positive effect on this community, says Fidani. The creation of the academy is a huge win for Mississauga because it will contribute to the growth of local hospitals, encourage young medical students to stay in the community in which they are taught, and benefit health care through enhanced medical education.

The Mississauga Academy of Medicine is a partnership among U of T's Faculty of Medicine, U of T Mississauga, Trillium Health Centre and Credit Valley Hospital. The Mississauga academy will be U of T's fourth medical academy - the other three are located in the city of Toronto. The academies are the Faculty of Medicine's network of sites that provide an academic home to MD students while they are doing their clinical training.

Jane Stirling
Marketing and Communications 
University of Toronto Mississauga

Nicolle Wahl
Marketing and Communications
University of Toronto Mississauga