The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University has raised more than $49 million, with an additional $7 million in planned gift expectancies, in the largest ever campaign of its 79 year history. The ‘Thinking Ahead’ Campaign, a $40 million initiative, has enabled The Neuro to implement ambitious and innovative research, training, and patient care programs aimed at tackling the most pressing neurological problems - strengthening The Neuro’s global leadership in understanding and repairing the brain.
These programs include: NeuroEngineering, Transforming care at the bedside (TCAB), The Reed Motor Neuron Disease Research Unit, The McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC), and Fellowships that are training the next generation of scientists and caregivers (programs described below).
Research, patient care and philanthropy at The Neuro
Major gifts came from Campaign Co-Chairs, Jacques Bougie and Dominic D’Alessandro, the Webster Foundation, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the Molson Foundation, the Reed family/Tenaquip Foundation, the Cyril & Dorothy and Joel & Jill Reitman Family Foundation, Power Corporation of Canada, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Hydro-Quebec.
“I’m extremely proud of what we have all accomplished together,” said Mr. Bougie. “The results of the Campaign are amazing, far surpassing the original goal. Over the course of the campaign, almost 18,000 donors made 40,206 gifts. Of these donors, just less than 16,000 were individuals, which speaks to The Neuro’s leadership and excellence in research and patient care.”
“The Neuro is the place where we can make real advances in neuroscience and our understanding of neurological disease,” said Dr. Guy Rouleau, Director of The Neuro. ”All the pieces for a revolution in the frontier of medical science – neuroscience and neurological disease - are here at The Neuro. We want to find better ways to care for and treat patients – that is our raison d’être. Philanthropy is at the heart of that mission, it allows The Neuro to continue to innovate, break new ground and stay ahead of the wave. “
NeuroEngineering, the first large program of its kind in the world, unites a team of neurobiologists, chemists, physicists and computer engineers in cutting-edge research on brain–machine interfaces, employing entirely new materials and technologies. Nanoscience offers unprecedented potential for tackling a persistent issue in medicine – that is inducing the nervous system to repair the effects of spinal cord injury, stroke, trauma or amputation. At The Neuro, scientists can now re-grow axons from injured nerve cells over short distances on matrices made up of precisely patterned proteins that will support and guide axonal growth and then "instruct" them to form functional synaptic contacts onto predetermined synthetic targets.
Transforming care at the bedside (TCAB) is a nurse-driven program to increase the amount of time spent in direct patient care activities by redesigning the way care is currently delivered. The program incorporates education, research, and is propelled by clinical nurse specialists affiliated with interdisciplinary programs. Research shows that this approach leads to better patient outcomes. In the US, nurses spend about 37% of their time with patients. In the surgical unit at The Neuro which piloted the program, they are already at 48%. The hope is that with the help of TCAB, this percentage will be elevated to 60%.
The Reed Motor Neuron Disease Research Unit, a brand new unit equipped with cutting-edge laboratories, resources and equipment, is propelling multi-disciplinary research into motor neuron disease by top-tier scientists. Motor neuron diseases include ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) a deadly neurodegenerative disease, affecting approximately 3,000 Canadians. The unit will help to significantly advance understanding of this devastating disease and facilitate the development of treatments and therapies.
The McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC) is the world’s most advanced brain imaging centre. The BigBrain atlas, the world’s first ultra-high resolution brain atlas was developed by scientists at the BIC. They are also the only Canadian team on the billion-dollar international Human Brain Project. The campaign enabled The Neuro to acquire a MEG (magnetoencephalography) scanner of which there are only 6 in all of Canada, ensuring the Centre is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for cutting-edge research.
Fellowships, training the next generation of scientists and caregivers. The Neuro’s life-giving ambitions are supported by the most talented up-and coming generation of brain science visionaries. Clinical and Research fellows come to The Neuro for the unique opportunity it gives them to build on their MD or PhD by pursuing high-level clinical or research training in their specialties. Support for their hard work is key to developing new expertise, and shaping the face of future patient care and scientific advances.