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BMO Financial Group Lends Helping Hand to Inner City Through $2 million Gift for First-of-its-kind Research Unit


Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital received a $2 million boost today from BMO Financial Group for a new research unit centered on helping Toronto’s vulnerable and inner city populations.

The donation will create the BMO Vulnerable Populations Unit, within the Centre for Research on Inner City Health in the new Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital.

“This leading centre will conduct innovative research to help those who need it most in our community,” Hospital president and CEO Jeff Lozon said. “This means hope for people like those living on our streets, mothers-at-risk, and new immigrants who are desperately trying to build a new life.”

As the gap between the rich and poor widens, more Ontario families are living below the poverty line, according to Pat O’Campo, director of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health.

“Substandard housing, limited access to healthy food, and social isolation caused by poverty are all extremely damaging to health,” said O’Campo. “Lower income people get sicker, have more complex health problems and benefit less from health care compared to those who are better off. This kind of research will benefit people in our own backyard, but has the potential to benefit urban centres like Toronto across Canada and around the world.”

As part of the Centre’s efforts to improve inner city health and reduce health disparities, researchers are leading projects from the revitalization of Regent Park and a computer-assisted tool to help doctors detect domestic violence, to making HIV screening a part of routine medical care and uncovering the relationship between body mass index and affluent or disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

“BMO’s gift will allow Dr. O’Campo and her team to move ahead with more work to help the most vulnerable among us,” said Bill Downe, President and CEO, BMO Financial Group, and Chairman of the Board, St. Michael’s Hospital. “Thank you and congratulations to the Hospital’s management team, the staff, physicians, researchers, students and volunteers whose dedication have earned St. Michael’s its international reputation.”


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