People living in the interior region will soon benefit from a new Centre for Health System Learning & Innovation (the Centre) that is being established in partnership with Interior Health and the Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) Foundation. This centre is becoming a reality today with a commitment from The Jim Pattison Foundation of $5 million to the KGH Foundation.
“Today is a truly historic day for the future of health care in the communities we passionately serve across BC’s interior,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “This gift represents a transformational step forward in reimagining front-line patient care in Indigenous, rural and remote communities through innovation based on research done right here at home.”
The Centre will be the first of its kind with a focus on rural, remote, Indigenous, and community health-care. It will primarily be a virtual network that connects innovators, clinical teams, researchers, patients and families, students, partners and investors to come together to discover and implement innovative health-care solutions for the diverse population of the Interior. Once established, the work of the Centre will aim to address health-care challenges facing communities through innovative, research-based solutions.
“This generous donation marks the culmination of years of work, planning and consultation alongside our partners. It is the beginning of an exciting new chapter and a bold step forward into the future,” said Susan Brown, IH President & CEO. “In order to continue to innovate, re-think, and re-design care delivery to provide patients with the highest quality and most effective care possible, we need research that is planned, curated and delivered right here, in our own backyard. That is the vision of the Centre for Health System Learning & Innovation.”
This landmark gift is the Pattison Foundation’s largest donation to a hospital in B.C.’s Interior and the first that targets innovation. Over the past three decades, Jim Pattison, the iconic B.C. business leader and prolific health-care philanthropist, has had a transformative impact through his gifts to major hospital infrastructure projects in the Lower Mainland.
“While we have seen the shift in urban centres, such as Vancouver and Toronto, we are thrilled to have received such a significant gift specifically aimed at innovation in regional health-care," explained Allison Young, CEO of the KGH Foundation. “In recognizing the importance of this type of investment, the Pattison Foundation demonstrates invaluable leadership.”
The gift adds to the KGH Foundation’s recently launched ‘Closer to home than you think’ campaign, a $40 million fundraising effort that promises to fund changes to local health-care in eight priority areas: cancer, cardiac, system innovation, women's health, bone and joint health, mental health, brain health and clinical excellence. Most notably, almost $15 million (40 per cent) of the campaign goal is dedicated specifically to innovation.
“This is a very interesting and forward-thinking project,” said Clark Hollands, Chair of the Pattison Foundation. “We appreciate the opportunity and are excited to be a part of it.”
The Centre will build on the tremendous momentum generated in recent years through the Interior Health Research Network, which started in 2014 with seven people and has now grown to 2,245 members including physicians, staff, clinicians, decision-makers, Aboriginal partners, community members and academics who connect in a variety of ways to discuss research and its application to health-care.
“The Centre will focus on health systems transformation, aiming at unique targets,” said Dr. Deanne Taylor, corporate director of research at Interior Health. “This includes advancing equity, accessibility, and the sustainability of health-care, and enabling physicians, clinicians and community care providers with resources to not only provide world-class care but to explore what an optimal system could look like.”
“We face a suite of unique challenges in the interior - servicing dozens of rural and remote communities, navigating rugged geography and seasonal weather, and increasingly, responding to the impacts of extreme climate events such as forest fires and floods,” said Dr. Harris, Executive Medical Director, Quality and Research for Interior Health and an Emergency Physician at KGH. “This gift is remarkably visionary as it recognizes the need to address the challenges we face in healthcare differently.”
Jim Pattison himself was unable to attend today’s event in person but shared the following comment of support, which was played at the announcement through a pre-recorded video:
“I want to say how much we appreciate the opportunity to support the community of Kelowna and its surrounding areas. Congratulations, Kelowna General Hospital.”
For more information on the campaign and fundraising goals, visit kghfoundation.com.