Diane Blake
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Fanshawe College is announcing a ground-breaking donation of $5 million from Toronto-based philanthropist Diane Blake to establish a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence for XR (Extended Reality) in Health Care. This generous contribution will revolutionize the field of health-care education by leveraging cutting-edge XR technology to enhance training and improve patient outcomes.

The centre, set to be located within Innovation Village at Fanshawe’s London Campus, will serve as a hub for innovation and collaboration in health-care education. With this substantial donation, the College aims to bridge the gap between the latest advancements in XR and the health-care sector, ultimately transforming the way medical professionals are trained and delivering a higher standard of care.

“We are facing critical labour shortages across all sectors of the Canadian health-care landscape, and I am delighted to be working with Fanshawe College to support program growth in health-care education,” said Diane Blake. “The integration of new technologies into traditional program modalities will give more students the opportunity to learn, practice their skills and enter the job market ready to excel. I am confident students at Fanshawe will benefit greatly from this initiative.”

The centre will house a multidisciplinary team of experts, including students from multiple programs such as engineering, computer science and gaming, who will collaborate on developing immersive and interactive XR training programs. Through virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), these programs will simulate real-life medical scenarios, allowing students and professionals to gain practical experience and refine their skills in a risk-free environment.

By leveraging XR technology, students will be able to practice complex procedures, conduct diagnoses and interact with virtual patients, providing a realistic and engaging learning experience. This cutting-edge approach will enhance critical thinking, decision-making and collaboration skills, fostering a new generation of highly skilled and competent health-care professionals. The centre will also be open to current health-care professionals seeking ongoing training to refresh and enhance their skills.

 “We extend our deepest gratitude to Ms. Blake for her visionary philanthropy and commitment to revolutionizing health-care education,” says Peter Devlin, President of Fanshawe College. “Her generous contribution will enable us to build a centre of excellence that will have a lasting impact on the lives of patients and the professionals dedicated to their care.”

The Diane Blake Centre of Excellence for XR in Health Care is expected to open in early 2024.

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