DC hosts minister of health Rona Ambrose

With healthy living becoming an increasing priority among students and the local community, Durham College (DC) President Don Lovisa was pleased to host Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, as she visited the college’s Whitby campus on December 16.

The minister and some caucus colleagues joined Lovisa, Susan Sproul, retiring dean of the School of Health & Community Services (HCS), and Judeline Innocent, incoming dean for the School of HCS, for a discussion centring on the college’s range of clinical-focused health programs – from its newest program, Activation Coordination in Gerontology, to cornerstones including Dental Hygiene and Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant (OTA/PTA) among others – over lunch at Bistro ’67 and the Centre for Food (CFF).

“In addition to learning more about our emphasis on practical learning opportunities across all our health programs, the health minister showed great interest in how we train our culinary students to prepare healthy meals and meet the demands of an ever-growing health-conscious food-service market,” said Lovisa. “It is always wonderful to be able to showcase the state-of-the-art facilities that Durham College has to offer, and Minister Ambrose was keenly interested in how our facilities provide students with hands-on experience as they work towards meaningful careers.”

The minister also learned about the two residential homes located at the Whitby campus that are used across multiple programs to give students hands-on, real-world experiences. One home was built circa 1950s and was moved to campus from a residential street in Oshawa, while the other was built purposefully for DC, offering a stark contrast between modern and more dated building codes and residential features.

When they initially opened, it was expected that the homes would serve students studying toward a number of different apprenticeships. In the time since, there have been opportunities to introduce other students as well, including those studying in the Personal Support Worker (PSW) and OTA/PTA programs. The homes provide students with direct exposure to dealing with clients in a home-based setting.

Ambrose joins a number of other leaders from all levels of government to visit Durham and other colleges across Ontario over the past few months. During the visits they are learning about the many benefits to students in pursuing a college education and how colleges are a solution to increased productivity and jobs for Ontario.

Full details on each of DC’s health-focused programs are available at www.durhamcollege.ca/academic-schools/school-of-health-community-services/.