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Women and children to benefit from historic $54M gift to University of Alberta

Click to play video: 'University of Alberta receives massive donations to research health of women and children' University of Alberta receives massive donations to research health of women and children
WATCH ABOVE: Two of Edmonton's largest charitable foundations are writing some very large cheques to promote health research. The Stollery Children's Foundation is giving $40 million to the University of Alberta's Women and Children's Health Research Institute while the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation is also donating $14.5 million. The twin donations make for the largest gift in University of Alberta history. Su-Ling Goh spoke with representatives of the organizations making the contributions – Jun 22, 2016

The University of Alberta received a joint $54-million gift Wednesday, which will go towards the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute.

The WCHRI supports research dedicated to improving the health of women and children, including perinatal care. It’s the only facility of its kind in Canada.

The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation gave $40 million to the WCHRI. The remaining $14.5 million came from the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.

This is the largest one-time donation ever given to the University of Alberta.

Watch below: The University of Alberta is celebrating its largest donation ever and it’s all for research into women and children’s health. Su-Ling Goh has the details.

Click to play video: 'University of Alberta thrilled with record-breaking donation to research' University of Alberta thrilled with record-breaking donation to research
University of Alberta thrilled with record-breaking donation to research – Jun 22, 2016

“This historic investment not only supports the work of University of Alberta research and improves the health of women and children – mothers and sisters, sons and daughters – it holds the power to change entire family stories,” University of Alberta President David Turpin said.

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“The U of A is extremely grateful to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation and their visionary donors for helping us lead this transformation with our partners, Alberta Health Services.”

READ MORE: University of Alberta receives $2M in federal funding to further research

Tanya Ennis knows first-hand the benefits of the WCHRI. When she was pregnant with her triplets, Ennis enrolled in a clinical trial funded by the research institute, as part of a study at the Lois Hole Hospital for Woman, after a congenital heart condition was discovered in one of her boys.

The Ennis triplets take part in a media address announcing the $54-million gift in Edmonton Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Global News

With a heart the size of a pea, Ennis’s son Liam underwent open-heart surgery as an infant. Now, at six years old, David, Ryan and Liam Ennis are happy, healthy young boys.

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Watch below: Tanya and Rob Ennis share their story, which started when they thought they were expecting twins but soon learned they were actually having three babies

The $54-million will be spent as follows:

  • Approximately one-third will be allocated to peer-reviewed, research-driven grants
  • Another third will be dedicated to research catalysts, including recruiting international-calibre researchers. This part of the budget also leverages other grants with matching funds
  • The last third will help the institute serve as an incubator for health research. It subsidizes an expert research support team that includes nurses, coordinators, biostatisticians, data management staff, knowledge translation, patient engagement and qualitative research

READ MORE: Vitamin D supplements may be useless: Alberta research

WCHRI was founded in 2006 as a partnership between the University of Alberta and Alberta Health Services, with core funding from the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.

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