Neurological disorders affect people in all countries, irrespective of age, sex, education or income. In developing countries, however, the situation is particularly serious. Without surgeons, doctors and nurses who specialize in neurological disorders such as brain tumours, aneurysms, stroke and traumatic brain injuries patients can die or be left with serious impairments. That’s where a unique partnership between Barrick Gold Corporation and the Toronto Western Hospital has the potential to make a significant difference for people in developing countries.
In 2009, when former Barrick CEO Greg Wilkins died of a brain tumour at the age of 56, the reality of brain disease hit home at Barrick. When the opportunity arose to develop an international surgical program with medical specialists at Toronto Western Hospital it was a way to demonstrate Barrick’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and provide a lasting legacy for Mr. Wilkens. With the support of a $5.5 million gift to the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation from Barrick and Mr. Wilkens’ family, The Toronto Western Hospital, a world leader in diseases of the brain, is establishing three new initiatives:
1. The Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery will be held by a world-renowned neurosurgeon who will oversee research and training programs for doctors and nurses in developing countries.
2. The Greg Wilkins-Barrick Fellowship will enable a neurosurgeon from a developing country to train at Toronto Western Hospital, with the aim of improving surgical practices in the physician’s home country.
3. Barrick Gold Corporation Centre for International Outreach will provide training and educational opportunities for nurses and health-care providers based in developing regions, in order to provide a higher standard of medical care for patients.
For Barrick, this is a community investment that will pay off in a number of ways including improved care for people affected by neurological disorders in developing countries, support for a leading Canadian health-care institution, and a tangible demonstration of corporate social responsibility for a Canadian company that operates largely in the developing world.