Media Releases

The University of Toronto and The Scarborough Hospital announce new Centre for Integrative Medicine

September 17, 2014

Partnership will investigate complementary and alternative medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine

Toron­to, ON — Today, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to (U of T) and The Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal (TSH) announced a part­ner­ship that will pro­vide new answers for the 74% of Cana­di­ans who are using some form of com­ple­men­tary and alter­na­tive med­i­cine, includ­ing tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese med­i­cine. Called the Cen­tre for Inte­gra­tive Med­i­cine (CIM), it will bring togeth­er researchers from U of T’s Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy and Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine along­side health care pro­fes­sion­als at TSH to pro­vide evi­dence-dri­ven prac­tices. Togeth­er, U of T and TSH will cre­ate a liv­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry that will allow us to study ways to safe­ly and effec­tive­ly inte­grate evi­dence-informed com­ple­men­tary ther­a­pies and tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese med­i­cine with con­ven­tion­al med­ical care.

Led by Pro­fes­sor Lyn­da Bal­neaves, the Centre’s inau­gur­al direc­tor, CIM will focus on research, as well as out­reach to both patients and health care pro­fes­sion­als to help them make evi­dence-informed deci­sions about the use of com­ple­men­tary and alter­na­tive med­i­cine (CAM).

“A vast major­i­ty of Cana­di­ans are using some type of CAM. This includes dif­fer­ent prac­tices and prod­ucts, includ­ing nat­ur­al health prod­ucts, mas­sage, med­i­ta­tion and acupunc­ture, to name just a few. And many are doing so with­out con­sult­ing a health care pro­fes­sion­al,” explained Bal­neaves, who is also the KY and Bet­ty Ho Chair in Inte­gra­tive Med­i­cine at U of T. “The Centre’s role will be to explore how Cana­di­ans are using these ther­a­pies, how these ther­a­pies inter­act with oth­er care they are receiv­ing and to com­mu­ni­cate our knowl­edge to ensure they are used safe­ly and effec­tive­ly.”

The Cen­tre will take an inter­pro­fes­sion­al approach, bring­ing togeth­er sci­en­tists, physi­cians, phar­ma­cists, nurs­es, CAM prac­ti­tion­ers and oth­ers who work in the health care field. U of T’s Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy and Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine will be active­ly engaged in the sci­en­tif­ic research that will ground the Centre’s evi­dence-based approach.

“Because an over­whelm­ing num­ber of Cana­di­ans are using com­ple­men­tary and alter­na­tive med­i­cines, it is crit­i­cal that we under­stand how these prod­ucts and ther­a­pies work and how they inter­act with con­ven­tion­al care prac­tices and med­ica­tions,” said Pro­fes­sor Heather Boon, Dean of the Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy. “By under­tak­ing a rig­or­ous sci­en­tif­ic eval­u­a­tion of these ther­a­pies, we will be in a bet­ter posi­tion to under­stand what works – and what doesn’t – and pro­vide the evi­dence nec­es­sary to guide their prop­er use to a patient base that is eager to uti­lize these prod­ucts.”

A Clin­i­cal Hub will be estab­lished at TSH’s Birch­mount cam­pus that will help patients man­age their day-to-day health with an empha­sis on dis­ease pre­ven­tion, health pro­mo­tion and chron­ic dis­ease man­age­ment for con­di­tions such as dia­betes.

“The estab­lish­ment of this Cen­tre at our Birch­mount cam­pus is in keep­ing with The Scar­bor­ough Hospital’s com­mit­ment to serv­ing our diverse com­mu­ni­ty. It also ful­fills our mis­sion of pro­vid­ing an out­stand­ing care expe­ri­ence that meets the unique needs of each and every patient and our vision of being rec­og­nized as Canada’s leader in pro­vid­ing the best health care for a glob­al com­mu­ni­ty,” said Robert Biron, Pres­i­dent and Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of TSH.

A fundrais­ing cam­paign will soon be launched to sup­port the Cen­tre and its devel­op­ment.

“Already, this Cen­tre has attract­ed con­sid­er­able inter­est from our extend­ed com­mu­ni­ty who rec­og­nize the impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion it can make to improv­ing our sys­tem of care here at home and around the world. Thanks to the gen­eros­i­ty of KY and Bet­ty Ho, we have been able to estab­lish a chair in this impor­tant field. But with fur­ther sup­port, we can estab­lish a Cen­tre that the Scar­bor­ough com­mu­ni­ty deserves and that is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the world-class research for which U of T is known,” said Catharine White­side, Dean of Med­i­cine and Vice Provost, Rela­tions with Health Care Insti­tu­tions.

Phase one of the Centre’s devel­op­ment, which is already under­way, is focused on con­sult­ing the local com­mu­ni­ty to ensure CIM serves the needs of this area. It will also estab­lish the strong foun­da­tions need­ed for effec­tive clin­i­cal care and research. By spring 2015, the Cen­tre will launch a series of pilot projects that we meet the needs of the TSH com­mu­ni­ty and be ready to announce its long-term plans.

There will be an offi­cial launch of the Cen­tre at an event in Octo­ber. The details are:

Date:                     Fri­day, Octo­ber 17, 2014

Time:                     9:30 – 11:00 a.m.; remarks at 10:00 a.m.

Loca­tion:              Colonel Irene Stick­land Cen­tre, Birch­mount Cam­pus,
The Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal, 3030 Birch­mount Road, Toron­to, M1W  3W3

The event is open to media, but pri­or reg­is­tra­tion is required. To reg­is­ter, please con­tact Krista Lux­ton, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Offi­cer, The Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal. Tel: 416–438-2911. Ext. 8090; Email:


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:


Liam Mitchell                                                              Hol­ly-Ann Camp­bell

Asso­ciate Direc­tor, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions                     Direc­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions & Engage­ment

Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to          The Scar­bor­ough Hos­pi­tal

Tel: 416–978-4672                                                       Tel: 416–438-2911 ext. 8308

Email:                           Email: