An unprecedented $35-million funding commitment from the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) to the University of British Columbia will advance life-saving research and intervention programs already under way in B.C.
The HSF gift, part of a $300-million national commitment announced today to its newly formed Research Leadership Circle, made up of 19 partner institutions and hospitals, represents the largest single gift to the Faculty of Medicine.
The Research Leadership Circle initiative will accelerate progress toward the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s goal to reduce Canadians’ rate of death from heart disease and stroke by 25 per cent by 2020.
“A Canadian dies every seven minutes due to heart disease or stroke-related illness. Research into its causes is crucial to improving the lives of Canadians,” says UBC President Stephen Toope. “This tremendous investment from the Heart and Stroke Foundation will allow UBC scientists to take a big step towards a better, healthier future.”
The HSF commitment is the largest research gift so far to UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history with a twin goal of raising $1.5 billion and involving 50,000 alumni annually in the life of the university by 2015. For more information, visit startanevolution.ca.
Since 1957, HSF and its donors have made gifts totaling more than $100 million to UBC in support of research. Support from HSF was instrumental in the recruitment of world-renowned stroke researcher Yu Tian Wang.
It has also enabled the creation of the Sauder Family and Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiology and the recruitment to UBC of Dr. Andrew Krahn, an internationally recognized expert in cardiac arrhythmias.
Dr. Krahn has led an HSF-funded study that detected rare genetic conditions that can cause sudden deaths in children and adults. He is now working to establish a clinical network in B.C. that would identify family members with similar genetic defects. It is estimated that for every individual who has suffered an arrhythmia-related loss of consciousness, four at-risk family members will be detected and referred for prevention and treatment.