BMO Financial Group is donating $2 million to St. Paul’s Foundation to further strengthen St. Paul’s Hospital’s commitment to Indigenous health and wellness.
The gift will advance the work of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Chair in Heart Health and Wellness at St. Paul’s Hospital, founded in 2015 by FNHA, St. Paul’s Hospital, Simon Fraser University and Providence Health Care Research Institute.
The Chair, with a mandate to lead research and education to improve the cardiac health of Indigenous communities in British Columbia, will be renamed FNHA Chair in Heart Health and Wellness at St. Paul’s Hospital, supported by BMO.
“BMO’s deep commitment to fostering an inclusive society underscores our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. This commitment extends to our support for the health and success of Indigenous individuals and communities nationally, as well as this transformational work undertaken by St. Paul’s Foundation’s,” said Paul Seipp, Regional President, Business Banking, BC & Yukon, BMO Bank of Montreal. “For more than 30 years BMO has had a strong relationship with St. Paul’s Foundation, and we are proud to support the FNHA Chair in Heart Health and Wellness at St. Paul’s Hospital.”
BMO has previously given generously to St. Paul’s Hospital’s Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. This latest funding will help St. Paul’s broaden its longstanding record of caring for Indigenous people as it continues its mission of providing compassionate care to all, including society’s most vulnerable.
“We are grateful for this gift that will support the Chair’s important work in promoting culturally safe, trauma-informed cardiovascular care for Indigenous people,” said Fiona Dalton, President and CEO of Providence Health Care.
Through a community-engaged process, the Chair ensures that priorities are developed with, by, and for the First Nations of British Columbia, upholding the principles of reconciliation.
“We appreciate the generous support from BMO which will fund research that aligns with First Nations health and wellness priorities and supports Indigenous health researchers,” said Richard Jock, Acting CEO, FNHA.
In 2016, Dr. Jeff Reading, a Mohawk from Ontario’s Tyendinaga First Nation with decades of experience researching Indigenous health issues, was named the inaugural Chair. He has studied access to timely care and treatment for Indigenous people, including cultivating heart-health services and programs while tackling how to provide health care access to some of BC’s most vulnerable remote communities.
“This funding will help address gaps in cardiac health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, said Dick Vollet, President and CEO of St. Paul’s Foundation. “Research shows that Indigenous people are up to twice as likely to develop heart disease as the general population.” (Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation)
St. Paul’s Hospital is a leading provider of culturally sensitive, trauma-informed care to Indigenous patients and residents. In recent years, it has viewed its work through the lens of reconciliation. In that spirit, it has:
- Formed an Indigenous-led health-care team to provide culturally appropriate care to Indigenous patients and to advocate for them (2011).
- Opened an All Nations Sacred Space in the hospital to allow patients and loved ones to participate in traditional healing and ceremonies that include cultural and spiritual elements in medical care (2013).
- Signed a Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility with the FNHA (2017).
BMO’s donation will also play a role in bringing to life the vision of enhanced programs for Indigenous people at the new St. Paul’s Hospital, by supporting the capital investment where transformational work will take place.