$1.4M to support vulnerable populations

Trottier Family Foundation supports new online research initiatives in the fight against COVID-19

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation is proud to announce a donation of $1.4M by the Trottier Family Foundation in support of CanCOVID, a country-wide, rapid-response network to facilitate coronavirus research, collaboration, and communication. This generous donation leverages the investment of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada as well as Health Canada, and will help coordinate scientific evidence needed in the fight against COVID.

The science around COVID-19 is complex, and rapidly evolving. There is a vital need to coordinate the efforts of experts and researchers across the country, as well as develop new ways to put reliable information into the hands of decision makers, community leaders, and the general public. CanCOVID, mandated by the Office of the Chief Science Advisor of Canada, was launched to meet these needs.

 “We believe that coordinated mobilization of accessible, high quality scientific information is crucial to a successful response to this pandemic,” says CanCOVID co-founder, Dr. Cara Tannenbaum.

In addition to providing an online platform to coordinate scientific investigation, the CanCOVID community’s goals include communicating a strong base of evidence to help Canada navigate its way out of the COVID crisis. With support from the Trottier Family Foundation, CanCOVID researchers will accelerate their efforts to; (1) enhance protective measures for at-risk communities, (2) mitigate collateral effects on mental health and social well-being, (3) foster positive attitudes towards vaccination, and (4) reduce inter-community conflicts associated with the pandemic.

A portion of the Trottier Family Foundation’s gift will fund CoVivre, an outreach initiative under CanCOVID aimed at helping vulnerable communities access health and support resources during the global pandemic. Led by psychiatrist Dr. Cécile Rousseau, family physician and researcher Dr. Alexandra de Pokomandy and CanCOVID co-founder Dr. Sarah Gallagher, the initiative will encourage community organizations to lead the partnership to determine priorities, then CoVivre will work with them to deliver appropriate support.

“Our mission is to advance science, education, and health, so we enthusiastically support the new CanCOVID initiative, particularly its efforts to support marginalized communities—those hardest hit by the coronavirus,” says Eric St-Pierre, Executive Director of the Trottier Family Foundation. “It is our hope that our donation will inspire others to partner with CanCOVID, MI4 and the MUHC to drive research forward.”

The history of pandemics and the current situation south of the border further illustrate the need to mobilize experts and make relevant, fact-based information available to those who need it most.

“Everyone needs to be on the same page. If people don’t receive consistent, science-based information on how to manage the risk of infection, they are more likely to ignore public health directives and follow the misguided advice from social media and other sources,” notes Dr. Don Sheppard, Director of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4). MI4 is leading more than 50 projects addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating risks for Canadians and the world.

Norman Steinberg, Chair of the MUHC Foundation Board of Directors, says, “the CanCOVID initiative represents a new problem-solving model with the potential to impact COVID-19 outcomes nationwide, we are extremely grateful for the visionary investment of the Trottier Family Foundation in furthering the work of this important network.”

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