St. Michael’s Hospital is $1 million closer to a big financial goal.

In showing the world how to tackle health care for the most marginalized in society, the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation has set an ambitious fundraising goal of $25 million.

At a breakfast Friday, 100 of Toronto’s high-profile influencers — many of them women — handily raised $1.16 million to benefit the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions.

At the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, doctors and scientists work to disrupt the cycle of poverty and create healthy futures — by interrupting chronic homelessness, removing barriers to certain medicines and stemming the opioid crisis, and by mitigating the health effects of poverty for children and improving indigenous health.

The stated mission of the Centre of Urban Health Solutions is to create the world’s healthiest city; as it’s the only place on the planet taking a research-based approach to diminishing the effects of poverty on health, the eyes of the world are indeed on St. Mike’s and its achievements.

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Gillian Riley, president and CEO of Tangerine Bank, hosted the breakfast for philanthropists and power brokers at Scotiabank. And federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau addressed the group, recalling his days as a volunteer at St. Mike’s and calling the hospital a beacon of hope in our city.

Former Ontario Premier David Peterson was also among the attentive guests.

A panel of doctors and scientists involved with MAP Centre For Urban Health Solutions offered a progress report on ameliorating the crushing effects of poverty on health.

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The panel was moderated by Dr. Patricia O’Campo, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Pubic Health at University of Toronto and an internationally renowned expert on the health challenges of low-income populations.

Dr. Patricia O’Campo (St. Michael’s Hospital web site)

Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine at St. Mike’s, spoke about youth violence and its common components — poverty, homelessness, addiction, food insecurity — and about the inequities in access to care in our society.

Dr. Nav Persaud (a scientist at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute) addressed the barriers to needed medications created by poverty;  Dr. Naomi Thulien, a nurse practitioner, researcher and expert on homeless youth, discussed the study she leads at MAP, which will measure the effects of helping otherwise homeless young people with rent subsidies and mentors over two years.

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One of Dr. Thulien’s success stories, a young woman named Vivian, spoke eloquently about her own transition from the streets to permanent housing and a spot in college, where she studies veterinary nursing.

Vivian reminded the crowd that homelessness can happen to anyone, and she spoke about the importance of having an adult role model in putting her life back together — how a mentor was a friend and supporter but also someone who could teach life skills, such as creating a budget.

Addressing the well-heeled crowd, Vivian said of disadvantaged youth, “We’re still human.

“We want to be exactly like you and do well in life.”

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BRAUN: Power breakfast benefits MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions



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