McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster University's Faculty of Health Sciences receives $6 million in private donations to fund endowed chairs

Published: June 5, 1998

With the generous support of $6 million in private funding, the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University will establish four endowed chairs in the areas of heart disease, psychiatry, respirology and gastroenterology.

The establishment of endowed chairs is a first for the Faculty and will provide exciting new growth opportunities in education and research, and will contribute greatly to enhance McMaster's excellence in health care.

"By increasing the profile of the Faculty of Health Sciences and providing dedicated resources for clinicians, researchers and educators, McMaster University will remain at the cutting edge of a bench-to-bedside spectrum of activity," says Dr. Russell Joffe, dean and vice-president, Health Sciences.

The University has committed to provide an additional $2 million for a total investment of $8 million or $2 million per chair. This will be invested and the income used to support the salary and research activities of each chairholder.

"This is a red letter day for McMaster and for our Faculty of Health Sciences," said University President Peter George. "We are committed to funding many more chairs as part of a major fundraising drive over the next three years. Today represents an early harvest of those efforts, but it is just the beginning of what is possible."

In December 1997, the Heart and Stroke Foundation committed $1 million, which was matched by the University, to fund a Chair dedicated to the research and treatment of heart disease.

Dr. Salim Yusuf, recipient of the chair, is a professor of medicine and director of cardiology at McMaster University, and the recipient of the Faculty's first endowed chair. Dr. Yusuf is one of the world's leading researchers on heart disease and its treatment. He has received several international awards for his research contributions, recognizing his interests in prevention of vascular diseases, thrombolysis, congestive heart failure and meta-analytic approaches to the evaluation of clinical trials. He is the recipient of a career scientist award from the Medical Research Council of Canada.

The Morgan Firestone Chair in Psychiatry, the first of its kind in Canada, has been established through the contribution of $1 million each from Morgan Firestone, president and CEO of the Firan Corporation, and from the St. Joseph's Health Care Foundation. An endowment of this magnitude will provide an opportunity for McMaster to continue its leadership role in psychiatry into the new millennium, and will go a long way in reducing the stigma and misunderstanding associated with mental illness through profile and education.

Dr. Richard Swinson, professor and chair in the department of psychiatry, is the recipient of the first Chair in Psychiatry. His research interests lie in the theory assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders, specifically, obsessive compulsive disorders. Dr. Swinson has held numerous research grants since 1966, the latest being from Health Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Behavior Therapy Research Foundation.

A total of 1.5 million dollars in private funds, with an additional $500,000 from the University, will create the Moran Campbell Chair in Respiratory Medicine. Dr. Campbell, now a professor emeritus, was the founding chairman of the department of medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. He established a major research focus on the improved understanding of the mechanisms of lung diseases and on improving its treatment. This resulted in the respiratory group at McMaster University being recognized across Canada and worldwide for its research innovations and for its expertise in respiratory disease management. The endowment of a chair in respiratory medicine will help ensure that resources are available to permit clinician scientists within the group to have adequate time to conduct research, and will promote the recruitment of young researchers into this important area of endeavor. The prestige of an endowed chair will also help ensure the attractiveness of a research centre to future clinician scientists. Finally, it is most fitting that the endowed chair will be named after Moran who has been at the forefront of the application of new research understanding into improved patient outcomes in respiratory medicine.

Dr. Paul O'Byrne, professor of medicine and head of the respiratory division at McMaster University, is the recipient of the Chair in Respirology Medicine. He is internationally recognized for his research on asthma, with particular interest in the mechanisms involved in allergic asthma and the efficacy and mechanisms of action of anti-asthma drugs. He continues the international standards of academic excellence in respiratory medicine first established by Dr. Campbell at McMaster. His has been a Medical Research Council of Canada Senior Scientist since 1995. Dr. O'Byrne current research interests include the pathogenesis and treatment of asthma, with particular interest in the mechanisms involved in allergic asthma including cell recruitment and activation, the inflammatory and bronchoconstructor mediators released from the inflammatory cells, including eicosanoids and cytokines, the structural consequences of the persisting inflammation in asthma and the efficacy and mechanisms of action of anti-asthma drugs.

Another $1.5 million dollars in private funds with an additional $500,000 from the University, will create a Chair in Gastroenterology. In the 1980s, a strong research team was established within the Faculty of Health Sciences to investigate the basis of common gastrointestinal diseases. Studies in gastroenterology at McMaster have taken fundamental findings in the laboratory and have translated them into new ways of delivering clinical care to individuals with debilitating gastrointestinal disorders. This group has grown in strength and stature over the years. It is the leading research group in gastroenterology in Canada and one of the top six in the world. Through the establishment of this Chair, education and service in gastroenterology will be maintained at the very highest level, benefiting the Faculty, affiliated teaching hospitals and this community.

Dr. Steven Collins, the recipient of the Chair in Gastroenterology, is professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at McMaster University. His research addresses inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and how this influences the nervous system. In May of this year, Dr. Collins received the Janssen Award in Gastroenterology from the American Gastroenterological Society.

"The establishment of these endowed chairs has important implications for activities within the school of medicine and for the Faculty as a whole. The prestige associated with such endowed chairs will also help attract some of the best and brightest future clinical scientists to Hamilton," says Dr. Joffe.

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