McGill receives $3-million gift to establish research chair in psychosocial oncology

Published: 2 February 2009

McGill and Hope & Cope team up to advance research in cancer survivorship and recovery

Building on an exemplary record of breakthroughs in cancer research, McGill University , together with Hope & Cope of the Jewish General Hospital , is establishing a chair in psychosocial oncology, thanks to a shared $3-million donation from long-time supporters Christine and Herschel Victor and Hope & Cope. The chair will focus research efforts on cancer survivorship and recovery in a community-based approach. This gift is a major contribution to Campaign McGill, the University's historic fundraising drive which has so far raised $457-million from over 64,000 donors worldwidetoward its$750-million goal.

“While cancer is the leading cause of premature death in this country, historical data show that more and more people are surviving each year,” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, McGill’s Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of Medicine. “A chair in psychosocial oncology supports an expanded and interdisciplinary approach to cancer care that focuses on improving quality of life. It builds on the outstanding partnerships and visionary work under way between Hope & Cope, the Jewish General Hospital and McGill.”

“Since 1981, Hope & Cope has been a pioneer in providing psychosocial care for cancer patients and their families, and we are passionate about furthering research in this area,” said Sheila Kussner, Founder and Chairman of Hope & Cope.

“This is a first for a community organization, and it speaks to the strong relationships we have built with other cancer care networks and organizations,” Hope & Cope Executive Director Suzanne O’Brien added.

In collaboration with Hope & Cope, the new chair will help accelerate the transfer of research and new knowledge to patients, while encouraging the sharing of best practices across support organizations in the community. Its creation complements both McGill’s all-new Psychosocial Oncology academic programs as well as the pioneering support provided by Hope & Cope to meet the needs of patients, families and friends throughout all stages of cancer, from diagnosis to treatment, recovery, survivorship, and, when necessary, palliative care and bereavement.

While leading with vital initiatives in research, education and care, the new chair will also attract talented young scientists and students from around the world, to foster the next generation of academic leaders and practitioners in this critical field.

“The Victors’ latest gift to fund a research chair in psychosocial oncology will allow us to build on the momentum created by so many dedicated scientists, clinicians and concerned individuals in the fight against cancer, and develop treatments that consider the entire continuum of care,” JGH Executive Director Dr. Hartley Stern said. “It brings us one step closer to realizing a vision that we expect will have far-reaching benefits in the communities we serve.”

About McGill

McGill University , founded in Montreal , Que., in 1821, is Canada ’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 34,000 students. McGill attracts students from more than 160 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,400 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body .

About Hope & Cope

Hope & Cope is a unique volunteer-based organization that provides psychosocial support to cancer patients and their families from two locations – its home base at the Jewish General Hospital and at the JGH Hope & Cope Wellness Centre, which focuses on healing the mind, body and spirit. Hope & Cope’s comprehensive and innovative programs offer support, information, practical resources and guidance to patients at all points along the cancer journey. For more information, visit

About the Jewish General Hospital

Now in its landmark 75 th year of providing Care for All , the Jewish General Hospital has been a mainstay of superior medical treatment for many generations of patients from all backgrounds in Montreal , throughout Quebec and beyond. As one of the province’s largest and busiest acute-care hospitals, the JGH is committed to improving the level of care for all Quebecers. The JGH has been able to deliver these pioneering and innovative services by strengthening its role as a McGill University teaching hospital, expanding and upgrading its facilities, and pursuing cutting-edge studies at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research. For more, please visit .

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