Rebranding is reflecting work to train medical students that has been going on for decades.
The Timmins Family Health Team is now known as the Timmins Academic Family Health Team (TAFHT). Along with the new name, the organization has a new logo.
Executive director Jennifer McLeod said changing the name is "to reflect this critical role and to solidify its importance in the recruitment and retention of healthcare professionals in our community."
The health team was founded by Timmins family physicians and incorporated in 2006. It has a list of about 30,000 rostered and non-rostered patients served by 35 physicians associated with the White Pines Family Health Network, and five nurse practitioners.
It has seven clinical sites in Timmins, including five primary care clinics, a geriatric and memory clinic, integrated palliative care team, minor surgery clinic and musculoskeletal clinic.
TAFHT lead physician Dr. Yves Raymond said the rebranding is an acceptance and acknowledgement of the work that's been going on for many years.
“It goes back to around the 1990s even when we had an organization called NOMEC, the Northern Ontario Medical Education Corporation, which was in charge of teaching residents. The fact that we’ve been teaching all these years is now being acknowledged,” he said.
He noted some stats highlighting the importance of training doctors in the north.
“Something that is not well known is that approximately 60 per cent of family physicians in Timmins were trained in Northern Ontario through either NOMEC or NOSM (Northern Ontario School of Medicine), and approximately 50 per cent of all Francophone family physicians are also northern-trained,” said Raymond.
McLeod said training medical students and residents here had a "huge impact" on recruitment and retention of doctors in the community.
“It’s important because we really need in a community like this, where physicians primarily work in many different settings, to have a very strong foundation in primary care. We need them to come back and set up practices, there are still people in this community that don’t have a primary care provider,” she said.
To celebrate the rebranding, celebrations are being held in all the clinical offices this week.
While the organization has a new name, McLeod said patient services are not impacted by the change.
“If anything what patients will continue to see is that they’ve been served by learners and seeing learners in their clinical setting for many years, so that won’t change. If anything we want them to acknowledge that by agreeing to see the learners — not only the medical residents and medical students but the nursing students — they also are helping to train those individuals to provide a really high quality of care in our community,” she said.