Introduction to the WB Academy


The academy system is unique to the University of Toronto and is a key feature in the integrated approach to Medical Education at the University. Originally established in October, 1992, the Academies were designed to provide important preclinical and clinical medical curriculum beyond the walls of the university, incorporating foundational learning for students at university-affiliated hospitals and community sites. As one of the four Academies, the Wightman-Berris offers curriculum which is delivered in simulated and real-life clinical settings. Currently, the other three Academies with educational activities centred in affiliated teaching hospitals are: FitzGerald Academy (St. Michael’s Hospital); Peters-Boyd Academy (Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and Women’s College Hospital); and the newly created Mississauga Academy of Medicine (Credit Valley and Trillium Hospitals).

On entrance to the University of Toronto, medical students are assigned to one of two campuses, the St. George or Mississauga Campus, and then subsequently to an Academy. The Wightman-Berris is one of the three St. George Campus Academies. As of September 2011, students will be assigned to a single Academy for the duration of their undergraduate MD program. Students spend the final year of the program in electives and selectives which allow them a broad exposure to clinical placements across all of the University of Toronto affiliated clinical sites, across the country, and for those seeking them, international elective opportunities.

Each academy is led by an Academy Director. Together, Academy Directors work with faculty and staff of the University of Toronto (including the Vice-Dean of Undergraduate Affairs, the Pre-clerkship and Clerkship Directors) to ensure that the formal MD curriculum, as determined by the University, is delivered to students with the highest of standards in a coordinated approach. At the same time, Academy Directors make certain that student life at each academy is optimized.

Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network (Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret Hospitals and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute) serve as a home base for students for clinical and extracurricular activities. There are educational facilities at each anchor site which serve as the primary learning facilities for the delivery of core curriculum.

The Wightman-Berris Academy anchor sites are located in the heart of downtown Toronto, giving students access to hospitals with proven records of clinical, academic excellence and collaboration. The hospitals of the UHN and Mount Sinai Hospital have established reputations of being on the forefront of patient care, clinical and research advances and strong historical academic links with the University of Toronto. These hospitals have been involved in and committed to undergraduate and postgraduate education for decades. They have fostered excellence in education and support the University of Toronto’s vision of being a world leader in medical education through innovation, integration and impact.

In an effort to ensure that students have a broad range of clinical exposure, from primary care to specialist care, from community care to tertiary and quaternary care, and to enable the medical student to understand the needs of patients and families in a diverse number of clinical settings, the Wightman-Berris Academy has partnered with the Michael Garron Hospital, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, the Humber River Regional Hospital, forming a network of diverse and complementary sites. SickKids and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, as specialty hospitals, are key enabling partners for all of the Academies. At the Wightman-Berris, students have the unique opportunity to choose from a number of clinical of placements at anchors sites, specialty and community hospitals. For research opportunities in the Determinants of Clinical Health course, Wightman-Berris partners with local community agencies and engages several of its community-based clinical programs.

Students are welcome to study, learn and congregate in state-of-the-art educational facilities designed and maintained with their needs in mind. Student centres are designed to encourage and foster formal and casual interprofessional interactions of students from varying health disciplines.

The Wightman-Berris Academy is name for two distinguished physician educators. Dr. Keith JR Wightman (1914-1978) was Physician-in-Chief of the Toronto General Hospital and post-graduate Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, from 1960 to 1970. Dr. Barnet Berris (1921-2009) was Physician-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital and a widely recognized and celebrated clinical teacher extraordinaire.

Where to find us

The Wightman-Berris Academy has three primary learning facilities. Locations for these three sites are listed below. For any additional inquiries about the Wightman-Berris Academy, please contact the staff at any of our locations. for more information about any of these clinical sites, read more about our Educational Facilities.

Medical Education Office Locations (Hours 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday)
Toronto General Hospital (Helliwell Centre) 200 Elizabeth Street, Eaton North, Ground Floor, Room 001, Toronto, ON M5G 2C4 Main Line:
416-340-4846Fax:
416-340-4705
Toronto Western Hospital (MedEd West) 750 Dundas Street West, The Med-West Building, 3rd Floor, Suite 305, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8 Main Line:
416-603-5924Fax:
416-603-5415
Mount Sinai Hospital (Cooper Centre) 60 Murray Street, 3rd Floor, Room 300, Toronto, ON M5T 3L9 Main Line:
416-586-4800 x8389Fax:
416-619-5540Email: coopercentre@sinaihealthsystem.ca