Outstanding Azrieli Heart Centre Opens
The Azrieli Foundation makes largest donation in JGH history
The Jewish General Hospital Foundation announced that the Azrieli Foundation, a long-time financial supporter, has donated $26 million dollars to the hospital, which will support a world-class cardiology facility for clinical care, research and teaching.
In addition, the funds will initiate a new standard of care in the Intensive Care Unit.
The gift will enable the JGH to continue providing leading-edge health care to its patients, funding for innovative and educational opportunities for cardiac nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals.
Dr. Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation, said: "This donation represents the culmination of our support for this exceptional hospital. We are so pleased that we are able to catalyze three key areas at the JGH: cardiac research, education and the very best in health care."
For over 25 years, the Azrieli Foundation has quietly funded institutions as well as operated programs on the ground in Canada and in Israel. The Foundation supports scientific and medical research, higher education, Holocaust education, youth empowerment and school perseverance, music and the arts, architecture, and quality of life initiatives for people with developmental disabilities.
Cutting the red ribbon to inaugurate the Azrieli Heart Centre are (from left) Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg, President and CEO of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal; Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre; Dr. Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services; Edward Wiltzer, Chair of the JGH Foundation; Stephanie Azrieli of the Azrieli Foundation; Dr. Naomi Azrieli, CEO of the Azrieli Foundation; and Dr. Lawrence Rudski, JGH Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Azrieli Heart Centre.
Azrieli Heart Centre
INNOVATIVE HEALTH CARE
By Dr. Lawrence Rudski, Director Division of Cardiology and inaugural director of the Azrieli Heart Centre
The funds donated will be concentrated in a number of areas pertaining to our clinical, research and teaching missions:
- Aging, Frailty and Cardiovascular Diseases – Under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Afilalo, the JGH is an international leader in developing measures of "frailty" to describe patient characteristics beyond their age and predict how these measures will predict how they will fare with different treatments. Dr Afilalo's findings have reshaped the field and he continues to drive the field forward with the first study to "defrail" patients through exercise and nutrition. In addition, Dr. Michael Goldfarb, a Cardiac Intensivist, continues this theme by introducing the early mobility concept to cardiac patients. The Azrieli Foundation has provided an endowment to fund the first "Geriatric Cardiology Advanced Fellowship" in North America with a current MD Ph.D. Fellow performing translational research in the field.
- The JGH offers the broadest range of robotic cardiac surgical procedures in the province, including valvular, bypass and single stage hybrid revascularization. This program, under Dr. Emmanuel Moss and in partnership with Dr. Jean-François Morin and Dr. Felix Ma, is a team effort that includes operating-room nurses and perfusionists, anesthesiologists and staff of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab. With robotically-assisted surgery, there have been dramatic reductions in length of stay with median post-operative hospitalization of 3-4 days, reduced complications and much more rapid return to work, making it cost-effective. The Azrieli Heart Centre funding will ensure that we can continue to deliver excellence to our cardiac surgery patients as well as continued research in quality outcomes and cost effectiveness.
- The JGH is a national and international leader in cardiac imaging with an echocardiography laboratory with its members leading international efforts in advancing the field. In addition to echo, cardiac MRI is a growing field that provides complementary yet incremental clinical information to assist in diagnosis, prognosis, and to guide therapy. The JGH's cardiac imaging mission is led by Dr. Igal Sebag (Echocardiography) and Drs. Jonathan Afilalo and Bojan Kovacina (MRI) and works hard to accomplish our clinical mission (providing excellence and timely echos), training mission (over 50 level 3 trained cardiologists) and research. The Azrieli Heart Centre provides for an endowment a fellow in cardiac imaging – either echocardiography or the JGH's multi-modality imaging fellowship, which is unique in Canada. In addition, funds have been allocated to upgrade our existing MRI systems to provide state of art analysis and reporting packages, and to eventually provide for a research MRI for the benefit of the entire institution.
- Under Dr. David Langleben, former JGH Chief of Cardiology and a leading international expert in pulmonary hypertension, the JGH runs the largest PH program in Quebec and amongst the largest in Canada. Dr. Langleben's research extends from basic cellular physiology to cutting-edge clinical trials, and he and his multidisciplinary team serve over 1,000 patients. The Azrieli Heart Centre provides vital research funds to continue his work.
- Education is the pillar for all aspects of healthcare delivery and is critical to ensuring excellence. The Azrieli Heart Centre funds this through several initiatives. An endowment has been created to enable cardiac nurses to attend national and international meetings, and to return and present their findings to the broader group. In addition, a simulation centre is envisioned that would train many types of heart-related healthcare professionals to work together more closely as teams. Staff would be placed in demanding situations, such as mock emergencies and other simulations involving cardiac patients who are critically ill.
- The Division of Cardiology, in its role within the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal, would like to develop or strengthen links to community services. These ties are of importance, since in-hospital care is just one element in a cardiovascular patient's trajectory of care. Funds have been allocated to ensure smooth transition from tertiary center, back to the community resources. Among the initiatives that are planned is a heart failure program (including palliative care) outside the JGH, a broadly accessible cardiac rehabilitation program, and improved tools to facilitate communication and education with community healthcare professionals. We hope that this goal can be accomplished in partnership with the MSSS' plan to introduce specialized Nurse Practitioners into our health care network.
- In 2017 and beyond, data drives health care delivery and continuous quality improvement. The Azrieli Heart Centre had allocated funds to become a leader in the deployment of IT and IM resources in order to meet these goals. From simple home-grown apps to facilitate flow and ensure safe hand-offs, to outcomes data collection to drive excellence and efficiency as has proven so successful in our renowned Emergency Department, to developing tools to ensure that patients get the most appropriate tests for their specific medical conditions, and to ensuring that the hospital had the IT back-end to meet contemporary image-driven health care delivery, the JGH is committed to meeting these challenges.