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The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre has received the single-largest gift to a hospital in Canadian history with the announcement today of a "transformative"' commitment of $100 million from the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation.
The news, delivered by Brian Porter, Chair of the Board of University Health Network (UHN), drew thunderous applause from a packed room of patients, medical staff, business leaders, donors and government officials, including Ontario's health minister.
"By supporting a centre of excellence that aims to be the world's leader in cardiac care, I believe we help not only the hospital and its patients, but also augment Toronto's reputation for innovation and excellence," said Peter Munk, founder and Chairman Emeritus of Barrick Gold Corporation, who along with his wife, Melanie, attended the proceedings at the cardiac and vascular centre that bears his name.
"This gift reflects my enormous gratitude to Canada, to Ontario, and to the talented and dedicated staff at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre," said Mr. Munk. "I arrived in this country in 1949 with practically nothing, yet Canada welcomed me with open arms and gave me the opportunity to succeed.
"This gift is my way of giving back to the nation that gave so much to me and my family. I hope that other Canadians will join me in supporting this great institution."
Re-defining cardiovascular care
Himself a heart patient, Mr Munk and his wife, Melanie, have supported the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre for more than two decades – a total amount that now stands at more than $175 million.
"This gift will change the way that patients with heart and blood vessel disease are managed in Toronto, Canada and around the world," says Dr. Barry Rubin, Medical Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre. "No other centre has what we have proposed - this will truly be world leading."
The proposed vision for the newest Munk gift is based on a series of bold goals centred on the creation of a digital cardiovascular health platform – marrying data-driven technology, artificial intelligence and machine-learning – to re-define how patients with cardiovascular disease are diagnosed, treated and managed.
"This gift will allow us to improve patient outcomes, decrease healthcare costs, generate new knowledge, develop new therapies, and decrease mortality for patients with cardiac and vascular disease," says Dr. Rubin.
Costly healthcare reality
A global epidemic, cardiovascular disease is the number-one cause of death worldwide – killing more than 18 million people each year. In Canada, heart disease claims more than 30,000 Canadians a year, making it the second-leading killer across the country.
Located within the heart of Toronto General Hospital, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is marking its 20th anniversary this year. Home to many world and Canadian firsts, the Centre provides care to more than 163,000 patients annually. It is also houses the largest adult congenital heart disease program and mechanical heart program in Canada, with a growing roster of internationally recognized medical experts in their field.
1.5 million Canadians living with the effects of cardiovascular disease
163,000 Patients treated at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre annually
30,000 Canadians killed by heart disease a year
90 per cent Canadians with at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease
"We have worried for a long time about the so-called brain drain, in which our best and brightest go south of the border," said Mr. Munk. "Now is the time to reverse this trend by retaining and attracting the very best and brightest with the necessary financial support and an environment that fosters the world's most-advanced research, development, and patient care.
"The people who work in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre need to know that their work matters. We hope our gift tells them how much we respect and appreciate what they do."