Desjardins donates $500K to the MUHC Foundation to support career training for students of the health sciences

The gift supports the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre to empower students in their continued pursuit of rewarding careers in life sciences and health research.

Montreal, November 6, 2023—Finding a career after graduation can be daunting for anyone. For those with Master’s degrees and PhDs, the path to finding rewarding work in their specialized fields can be an exciting challenge. A new $500,000 commitment from Desjardins to the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training (DCAT) at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) is supporting trainees in health research on their journey toward a fulfilling career.

“Students pursuing advanced degrees have always embraced the idea that faculty positions were one of the career options available to them, but there are many more options. The Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training seeks to familiarize them with the world of exciting possibilities that are available for highly qualified personnel. Graduates of DCAT have gone on to work for biotech start-ups, government agencies and research institutes, to name a few. We are proud to have supported the careers goals of trainees at the Research Institute of the MUHC for over a decade.”

Guy Cormier, President and CEO, Desjardins Group

DCAT was created in 2009 with the mission to introduce health and life sciences trainees to a wide array of career possibilities and to wholeheartedly champion their career aspirations. Although the traditional career path had been into academia, in reality, fewer than 35% of PhD graduates in life or health sciences are employed in faculty positions at universities. With so many talented and well-trained graduates, there was a critical need to help these bright individuals build marketable skills and connect them with opportunities.

“Our students are brilliant and passionate, and they have experienced the rigours of grad school. The training offered by DCAT supplements their advanced scientific training with broad skill sets that will help to prepare them for a variety of career paths. We are so proud of our graduates, who are making important contributions to health research and the life sciences across Quebec.”

—Dr. Emily Bell, Associate Director, Desjardins Centre of Advanced Training, RI-MUHC

The 1,600 trainees at the RI-MUHC have access to four comprehensive programs offered by DCAT, including:

- A fast-tracked graduate certificate or diploma in business administration through the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University.

- A mentorship program that pairs trainees with professionals working in health or life sciences.

- Peer groups that provide an outlet to talk about career aspirations and work through challenges.

- The opportunity to gain experience in areas such as drug development and clinical trials administration.

The success of the DCAT program has a ripple effect across Quebec: it connects highly trained health science experts with careers where they can have a vast impact on health care and life sciences. For example, DCAT graduates are contributing to the development of new medicines, improving the health care system, bringing lifesaving clinical trials to the province, and much more.

“More than ever, talented young people have access to higher education. The expertise of these graduates is so valuable - in drug development, data analysis, science communication and many other highly technical areas of health care and health research. The DCAT program gives our trainees the confidence and skill sets to identify and pursue these careers.”

—Dr. Rhian Touyz, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer, RI-MUHC

For 14 years, DCAT has bridged the gap for early-career scientists wondering what’s next. Desjardins made this valuable program possible, and their latest gift ensures its continuance.

“I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Cormier and everyone at Desjardins for their long-standing commitment to trainees at the RI-MUHC. This extraordinary program was made possible thanks to their support, and undoubtedly has improved our world by matching new science graduates with highly skilled roles where their expertise shines. Thank you, Desjardins, for your generosity.”

—Marie-Hélène Laramée, President and CEO, MUHC Foundation

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