McMaster University

McMaster University

New School of Nursing community site at the Perkins Centre

By Amanda Boundris
Published: September 16, 2011
Grand opening celebration of Dr. John M. Perkins Centre
Attending the grand opening celebration for the new Dr. John M. Perkins Centre, pictured from left: Marg Harrington, director of administration, School of Nursing (SON); Steven Rolfe, director of program development and education for Homestead Christian Care, and assistant clinical professor, SON; John M. Perkins; Catherine Tompkins, associate dean, SON; Janet Landeen, assistant dean of undergraduate nursing education programs, SON; David Derbyshire, community development worker, Wesley Urban Ministries; and Dyanne Semogas, assistant professor, SON.

A grand opening celebration was held Sept. 14 for Homestead Christian Care's Dr. John M. Perkins Centre, a community development centre now home to 46 affordable apartments and the new McMaster University School of Nursing Community Site.

The formal partnership with Homestead, a first of its kind for the School of Nursing (SON), means it will have office, classroom and clinic space at the Perkins Centre for student learning within the community.

"Having this space here for our faculty to teach and our students to learn is a wonderful opportunity for McMaster to get its students off campus and into the community where our future nurses can see first-hand the role of nursing in community development and health promotion,' said Catherine Tompkins, associate dean of the SON. "It is also an opportunity for the residents to learn from our students, who will bring their talent, skills and knowledge with them.'

Jeff Neven, director of operations for Homestead, said it is important to have a wide demographic utilizing the Perkins Centre.

"Having students here really adds a certain vibrancy to it,' said Neven. "Having a connection with the School of Nursing is really essential because it brings a holistic approach to health.'

The Perkins Centre, located at 1429 Main St. East, was named after John M. Perkins, a civil rights pioneer from Mississippi and tireless proponent of Christian community development and transformation.

The building itself has been transformed. Once a derelict nightclub and rooming house, it is now a modern, bright facility that represents "hope, renewal and transformation,' said Graham Cubitt, Homestead's director of projects and development.

"I think this is a realization of a long-held dream of the School of Nursing,' said Steven Rolfe, a nursing alumnus who is now director of program development and education for Homestead and clinical faculty in nursing. "This is an important opportunity for students to learn about nursing in a different context. It's not institutional nursing, it's community health nursing.'
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