Press Releases

Opening of world-class research and education institute at St Michael’s Hospital promotes the discovery, sharing and application of knowledge

19 October 2011

“The humble heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
Service is the hallmark of a life well lived”

– Li Ka-shing

(TORONTO, Ont, Oct 18, 2011) A transformative gift from Hong Kong entrepreneur and philanthropist Mr Li Ka-shing has created a world-class institute at St Michael’s Hospital that will benefit people around the world by combining groundbreaking medical research, education and patient care.

The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, established with a generous donation of CAD25 million by the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation, was opened today by Mr Li.

The institute is the first in Toronto and among the first in the world specifically built to bring together researchers, educators and clinicians to create an incubator for new ideas. The goal is to enhance knowledge translation and focus specifically on accelerating new treatments and best practices from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside.

“In a time of cynicism and skepticism, this project is true testament to the fine medical skills and dedicated care everyone in St Michael’s works so hard to deliver to its patients,” Mr Li said at the opening ceremony.

“Such skills and dedication are the foundations on which an institution of intellectual seriousness and extraordinary accomplishment in both research and education is built.

“Throughout the ages, people have tried to fathom the meaning of life. I have always believed life is about how we live it. Humility and service are great forces. They are the beginning of all knowledge and the hallmark of a life well lived,” he told about 150 guests, including Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The premier said Ontario was proud to be a partner with Mr Li and St Michael’s Hospital. “Together, we’re attracting leading international researchers who will help create good jobs here and improve lives around the world,” he said.

Mr Li toured the new institute, which is made up of the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, and met researchers, educators, hospital officials and donors.

St Michael’s President and CEO Dr Robert J Howard thanked Li for his donation, his visit and his vision.

“St Michael’s has always been involved in research and education. With Mr Li’s spectacular gift, we have been able to create new opportunities we just didn’t have before,” Dr Howard said. “This building has been designed to bring researchers and educators together to create new possibilities that will advance patient care.”

Dr Howard referred specifically to Mr Li’s gift for “knowledge translation” programs —finding ways to close the gap between the evidence and information obtained through research and what is done or is standard practice or policy in health care. About CAD100 billion is spent around on research around the world every year, but only a small per cent of that evidence is used in decision-making.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a message saying the work done at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute will be “an invaluable gift to those patients facing life-changing diagnoses.”

Mr Li, through his Li Ka Shing Foundation and his company Husky Energy, has donated more than CAD75 million to support educational, medical and community welfare institutions in Canada over the past 18 years. (See Appendix 1)

These donations have made possible a wide range of co-operative projects between China and peer institutions in Canada, fostering academic collaborations and cultural exchanges.

These projects include the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital, the Global Leadership and Innovation Program at the University of Calgary, the Sino-Canadian Exchange Program at the University of Alberta, the Academic Exchange Program in Medicine at the University of Manitoba and the Shantou /McGill Summer Law Program at McGill University.

The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute was designed by famed Canadian architect Jack Diamond. The Keenan Research Centre, named for long-time hospital donors Barbara and Patrick Keenan, and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, are physically linked by walkways at several levels and connected to the hospital by a pedestrian bridge over Shuter Street in downtown Toronto.

The Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre includes a new health sciences library and patient education programs incorporating leading-edge practices and information that will lead to improved patient outcomes. It is home to the FitzGerald Academy, a top choice for University of Toronto medical students, and the Centre for Faculty Development, which teaches the teachers how to teach. It also includes the Allan Waters’ Family Patient Simulation Centre, an innovative facility that prepares healthcare teams for the real-life dramas that happen in the hospital every day.

Each year, St Michael’s helps to educate the next generation of healthcare professionals by placing more than 3,000 students, ranging from medical, nursing and other healthcare students, to future planners, administrators and engineers. All of these learners will come together in a new student centre to register, seek advice, address administrative issues and interact with one another. St Michael’s is a leader in interprofessional education, which promotes collaboration of professions and team training.

In the Keenan Research Centre, about half the researchers work on basic and clinical science, such as how cells get injured and how they repair themselves, as well as the molecular and physiological causes of disease such as kidney disease, heart disease and lung failure.

The other half focus on clinical, epidemiological and policy issues. Those in the Centre for Research on Inner City Health conduct research to better understand the linkages between poverty, social exclusion, and poor health. The Centre for Global Health Research focuses on the epidemiology and prevention of premature death in developing countries, specifically on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and chronic diseases.

Appendix 1

Mr Li and his Group of Companies’ donation in Canada from 1993 to 2011,
totaling CAD75,525,442

Beneficiaries Donations for:
Education Total donations: CAD48,644,442
University of Alberta LKS Institute of Virology
Sino-Canadian Exchange Program
University of Calgary Global Leadership and Innovation Program
Various research chair positions
Husky Oil Great Hall
University of Manitoba Academic Exchange Program in Medicine
Various research chair positions
Memorial University of Newfoundland Husky Energy Chair in Oil and Gas Research
University of Ottawa New Bioscience Complex – Boreal Forest – Husky Energy Courtyard
Husky Energy Fellowship in Sedimentology and Petroleum Geology
University of Northern BC Medical equipment for research on diabetes in children
Acadia University K C Irving Environmental Trust – research initiatives
University of Toronto Husky Energy Graduate Student Award in Hungarian Studies
McGill University Shantou / McGill Summer Law Program
The Institute for Cross-cultural Exchange Illustrated books for Canadian children
Medical Total donations: CAD 26,846,000
St Michael’s Hospital LKS Knowledge Institute Hospital Data Mining Project
University of Toronto University Health Network
CHILD Foundation New Research Centre
BC Epilepsy Society Epilepsy Medical Research
Community Welfare Total donations: CAD 35,000
Tyndale Foundation Establishment of a career centre
The Laing House Association Support youth living mental illness
The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada Fulfill wishes for children with life threatening illness

Contribution by:
LKSF – CAD58,960,442
Husky Energy – CAD16,565,000