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Dick Vollet, President and CEO, St. Paul’s Foundation; Dr. Jane Lea, Director, BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre, St. Paul’s Hospital; Wilf Wassersleben, Past President, Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation; Jack Zaleski, President, Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation; Dr. Brian Westerberg, Head of the Division of Otolaryngology, St. Paul’s Hospital; Broek Bosma, Chief Development Officer, St. Paul’s Foundation

Rotary Club of Vancouver and St. Paul’s Foundation to fund $12-million Hearing & Balance Centre

June 18th, 2019
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St. Paul’s Foundation announced today that the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation has committed to raise $6 million in support of the hearing and balance centre at the new St. Paul’s at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre. This funding will have a transformative impact on care for British Columbians with hearing loss and balance disorders. By fostering innovation and collaboration, and accelerating the development of permanent solutions for hearing loss, the new centre will offer the very best in care and hearing advancements in Canada.

A $12 million project, the new centre will be funded by the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation and St. Paul’s Foundation, with each foundation committing to raise $6 million.

In recognition of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation’s commitment, St. Paul’s is honoured to name the new centre the BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre. With an exceptional dedication to “bring back the sounds of life” by supporting hearing care and advancements in BC, this commitment to raise $6 million builds on 38 years of the Rotary Club’s philanthropy to St. Paul’s Hospital.

”The Rotary Club of Vancouver is excited to be a part of this new project,” said Jack Zaleski, President, Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation. “This brings to fruition a dream the Hearing Foundation has had for 35 years – to provide the best care possible in BC and possibly in Canada for the deaf and hard of hearing.”

The new BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre will include exam rooms, surgical suites, research clinics and laboratories, clinical support, and vital equipment used to locate, diagnose, and treat ear conditions. A fund will be established to support key medical staff in the areas of audiovestibular disorders, research and clinical fellowships, tinnitus management, audiology, and vestibular rehabilitation. Additionally, the fund will support geriatric and elder care staff to address the specific needs of seniors, who – because of age, mobility, and geography – are less likely to access specialized hearing programs and care.

“Benefitting thousands of patients province-wide, this funding will help us transform the patient experience for people living with hearing and balance issues,” said Dr. Brian Westerberg, Head of the Division of Otolaryngology, St. Paul’s Hospital. “It will encourage collaboration among clinicians and researchers in otology, neurotology, audiology, physiotherapy, kinesiology, psychiatry, neurology, ophthalmology, and gerontology, and drive advancements based on a greater understanding of disorders to help develop new treatments and permanent solutions.”

Bringing multiple disciplines together under one roof to enhance research and patient care, the new centre will be a purpose-built facility offering testing, diagnostics, research, and patient care.

“Patients will have fewer hospital visits, shorter wait times, easier navigation, and a reduced need to move to different areas of the hospital,” said Fiona Dalton, President and CEO of Providence Health Care. “This vital funding will allow our dedicated team at the BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre to continue to provide excellent care as the needs of our patients evolve and grow.”

The BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital is the referral centre for patients in British Columbia with complex ear and hearing related issues. St. Paul’s Hospital performed the first cochlear implant in Canada in 1982, a life-changing procedure that improves or restores hearing for those whose hearing loss cannot be helped by regular hearing aids. The procedure has since been provided to more than 770 patients at St. Paul’s.

“The BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital has reached many important milestones over the years – including performing the first cochlear implant in Canada,” said Dick Vollet, President and CEO, St. Paul’s Foundation. “We are extremely grateful for the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation’s generosity and ongoing support as we move towards our next big milestone, opening the doors to the new St. Paul’s at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre and delivering innovative, integrated care to British Columbians.”

Continuing on their legacy of supporting hearing advancements in British Columbia, the Rotary Club of Vancouver Hearing Foundation has a long history of giving to St. Paul’s Foundation and have had a significant impact on improving the quality of life for thousands of British Columbians through the BC Rotary Hearing and Balance Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital.

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