Toronto Western Hospital Neurosurgeon to Head International Program Established in Memory of Late Barrick CEO, Greg Wilkins

TORONTO, June 23, 2011 /CNW/ - Barrick and Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation are pleased to announce Dr. Mark Bernstein, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, as the holder of The Greg Wilkins - Barrick Chair in International Surgery. Today's announcement also marks the opening of The Barrick Gold Corporation Centre for International Outreach and the naming of the Gregory C. Wilkins Centre for Excellence in Neuro-Oncology at Toronto Western Hospital.

Barrick and the family of Greg Wilkins, who was the former CEO of Barrick, have donated $5.5 million to the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation to improve surgical care for neurological conditions in developing countries, in honour of Greg's memory.

In December 2009, at 53 years of age, Greg Wilkins died of brain cancer. His courageous battle brought him to Toronto Western Hospital, where he underwent brain surgery performed by Dr. Bernstein.

"Greg helped build and shape the company that Barrick is today. Not only did he bring incredible business vision to Barrick, he also brought a compassion for others that continues to shape the company," said Peter Munk, Barrick's Founder and Chairman. "Greg's wish was to ensure that those less fortunate had access to the same high standard of medical care he received during his illness. Today we are able to fulfill his wish and pay tribute to a leader who will continue to touch the lives of thousands of people around the world."

According to international health outreach groups, brain disorders are one of the leading causes of years lived with disabilities in developing nations.

This multimillion dollar gift will allow Dr. Bernstein to conduct research, collaborate with and train doctors and nurses locally, as well as fund a Fellowship position to train a neurosurgeon from a developing country at Toronto Western Hospital.

"We are very excited to be able to make such a positive impact in communities that are struggling to care for patients with neurosurgical conditions," said Dr. Bernstein. "I have seen first hand the great need for neurosurgery in developing countries, but with more properly trained surgeons and nurses who can provide the highly specialized care necessary, patients in these communities can hope to have better health outcomes."

Dr. Bernstein is a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto and has extensive experience training and teaching in developing communities. In 1996, he performed the first awake-outpatient craniotomy in the world. Craniotomy is a type of brain surgery most commonly performed to remove a tumour. By keeping the patient awake and able to communicate during the surgery, surgeons can ensure that they are not harming areas of the brain that are critical for normal function.

"We are happy and honoured to know that Dr. Bernstein will play a part in carrying on Greg's legacy by improving the health and lives of people in need," said Vera Wilkins, Greg Wilkins' wife, who personally contributed to the Foundation, along with children Mark and Lauren. "And we know that Greg would have been proud of the company he loved for supporting such an important cause."

About Barrick:
Barrick Gold Corporation is a Toronto-based gold mining company and industry leader, with a portfolio of 26 operating mines and seven projects on five continents. Barrick trades on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges and employs more than 20,000 people worldwide. The company has been ranked as a world leader in social and environmental responsibility for the third consecutive year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Barrick is also listed on the NASDAQ Global Sustainability Index of the top 100 companies.

About Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation:
Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation raises funds for research, education and the enhancement of patient care at Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital as well as for their respective research arms, Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute.


Toronto Western Hospital, a world leader in diseases of the brain and spinal cord, is home to:

The Greg Wilkins - Barrick Chair in International Surgery

  • The centerpiece of a series of programs to improve care for neurological conditions, the Chair will fund research, teaching and collaboration with doctors and nurses overseas in developing countries.

The Greg Wilkins - Barrick Fellowship  

  • The Fellowship program will fund a neurosurgeon from a developing country to train at Toronto Western Hospital so that he or she can go back with more specialized skills and improve surgical practices in their home country.

The Barrick Gold Corporation Centre for International Outreach

  • The Centre will train nurses and other health-care providers so that patients in these countries can receive a higher standard of medical care.

The Gregory C. Wilkins Centre for Excellence in Neuro-Oncology

  • A world-leading centre in the treatment of brain tumours, arteriovenous malformations and other brain abnormalities, now named in Greg's honour.

SOURCE Toronto General

For further information:

Nancy White 
Director, Communications, Responsible Mining
Barrick Gold Corporation
Telephone: (416) 309-2143

Nadia Daniell-Colarossi
Public Affairs and Communications
Krembil Neuroscience Centre, Toronto Western Hospital
Telephone: (416) 603-5294

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Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

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