U of A strengthens interdisciplinary health education with $1 million donation from TD Bank Financial Group

    EDMONTON, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - The University of Alberta today announced a
gift of $1 million from TD Bank Financial Group to provide financial support
for health-science students at the university through the creation of eight
scholarships and a research fund that will focus on interdisciplinary
    "The TD Grants in Medical Excellence program has made a $1 million
investment in Alberta's healthcare community, which will help ensure
healthcare students and practitioners receive the best education and training
possible," said Frank McKenna, deputy chair, TD Bank Financial Group. "Working
with the University of Alberta, we will be making an important contribution to
the delivery of quality healthcare in the province."
    Half of the $1 million gift will be endowed to create the TD Bank
Financial Group Grants in Health Sciences Interdisciplinary Research Fund,
which will fund one annual grant of $10,000 for health-sciences students'
participation in interdisciplinary research.
    The other half of the gift will be endowed to create the TD Bank
Financial Group Health Sciences Student Awards Fund, which will issue eight
$2,000 scholarships annually to students who have demonstrated their
commitment to interdisciplinary health education. Scholarships will be awarded
to one student in each of the eight U of A health science faculties.
    "The greatest discoveries and advances in healthcare will take place
where the edges of traditional disciplines overlap. When professionals work
together to solve problems, they put their focus on the patient as the centre
of preventing disease, creating healthy community and healing those who are in
need," said Indira Samarasekera, president of the University of Alberta.
    "As society's need for healthcare professionals grows, so too does the
cost of post-secondary education," said Mike Mahon, chair of the University of
Alberta Health Sciences Council. "The support provided by TD will ensure equal
access to our health-science programs for all students, regardless of
socio-economic background. These scholarships will allow us to continue to
attract top talent to our university and to meet the need for capable
care-givers in the future."
    "TD Bank Financial Group is to be commended for this bold, responsible
commitment to the future of health sciences education and patient care," said
Samarasekera. "This is why we have also committed to building the Edmonton
Clinic in partnership with Alberta Health Services - Capital Health, a
facility where students will have the benefit of both physical and educational
infrastructure that will support a new kind of interdisciplinary health
sciences training and patient-centred care."

    About the University of Alberta

    In the 2007-08 school year, nearly 5,700 students were enrolled in
25 health science programs at the U of A. In 2007, over 1,800 health-science
students graduated and are now applying their interdisciplinary training to
improve patient care and community health around the world. Each year these
students and practitioners are expected to expand their understanding of
professional roles, adopt new practices and procedures and to use new
technologies. The evolution of team-delivered, patient-centered healthcare is
positive and the University of Alberta is on the forefront of these advances.
    The Health Sciences Council at the University of Alberta represents
Canada's leading interdisciplinary health education curriculum and supports
25 innovative health professional programs that train nurses, doctors,
dietitians, pharmacists, rehabilitation specialists, dentists, public health
specialists and other health science professionals.
    The University of Alberta is one of the top 100 teaching and research
universities in the world, serving some 37,000 students with more than 13,000
faculty and staff. Founded a century ago, the university has an annual budget
in excess of $1 billion and attracts more than $490 million in external
research funding. It offers almost 400 undergraduate, graduate and
professional programs in 18 faculties, eight of which focus on professional
health training and research:

    1.  Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences
    2.  Augustana
    3.  Medicine & Dentistry
    4.  Nursing
    5.  Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
    6.  Physical Education and Recreation
    7.  School of Public Health
    8.  Rehabilitation Medicine

    TD Community Giving: Making a Difference Together

    Children's health, literacy and education, and the environment are the
three primary areas of focus for TD's community giving. The major flagship
programs within these areas are: TD Children's Hospital Fund, TD Friends of
the Environment Foundation and the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, TD
Canadian Children's Book Week, TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community
Leadership, and the TD Summer Reading Club. In addition, through the support
of our customers and employees, TD is involved with a host of national,
regional and local programs in support of diversity, arts and culture and
other causes. In 2007, TD donated $33 million to more than 2,000 charities and
not-for-profit organizations across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Matthew Cram, TD Bank Financial Group, (416)
983-1514, matthew.cram@td.com; Cynthia Fawcett, Health Sciences Council,
University of Alberta, (780) 298-5958, cynthia.fawcett@ualberta.ca

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