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University of Saskatchewan and children's hospital foundation create $2M research fund

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The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation (JPCHF) and the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) are looking to change pediatric care in the province for years to come.

The two organizations combined Wednesday to unveil a new pediatric research fund at the department of pediatrics at the university's College of Medicine.

"This announcement is unlike anything the Jim Patterson Children's Hospital Foundation has unveiled in the past," JPCHF CEO Brynn Boback-Lane said.

"It will demonstrate the power of education, the power of advancement, and the power of discovery."

The foundation is committing $2 million over five years to create the fund in its largest donation to date.

The Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation pediatric research fund will be under the guidance of Dr. Terry Klassen, the newly appointed provincial pediatric department head.

Klassen has plenty of goals in mind for his new posting, but this fund will work to advance knowledge, guide new ground-breaking research in pediatrics and further his work to create a robust province wide system of care.

It could also help to attract some of the top minds in pediatrics to work and eventually uncover critical research.

"It is an important recruitment and retention tool as well, because people that are in the healthcare fields are highly trained, highly specialized, but they do want to look at and see what is the research capacity in that particular jurisdiction," Health Minister Everett Hindley said.

While research may not be top of mind for people accessing healthcare, Klassen said it can be partly thanked for the advancements in the industry dating back decades, and having that work done in Saskatchewan is important.

"The hope you might not have today will be there tomorrow, and I think that's where these new treatments and approaches will really help to transform care," he said.

Medical students at the university will also benefit from the research fund. Doctors at Wednesday's ceremony spoke about the fund's ability to keep more children in Saskatchewan for the care they need rather than having to received specialized care out of province.

While $2 million may not be a huge sum of cash in the medical field, Klassen is excited for the impact this new fund could have on provincial pediatrics for decades.

"The brightest and the best sub-specialists want to work in a place where they can continue to do that cutting edge research to be among the best. And so I really think we'll see that change and see a lot of development in the coming months and years." 

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