[Barrick’s] Munk’s $18-million donation aimed at attracting top brains – by Patrick White (Globe and Mail – November 24, 2011)

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It took four words and four days to land one of the biggest donations in the history of Canada’s largest hospital network.

It was May 13, 2010, and Peter Munk, the 84-year-old chair of Barrick Gold, had just completed a tour of his namesake cardiac centre at Toronto General Hospital. As medical director Barry Rubin explained the research frontiers he hoped to conquer in the coming decade, Mr. Munk had just one question.

“How can I help?” Within four days, Dr. Rubin had an answer.

On Thursday, the two men will make the answer public: an $18-million donation to fund four new heart study centres aimed at attracting the calibre of medical brains Canada has often lost to the United States and Europe.

“Just to put this in perspective, we usually get one donor to fund one chair and everybody’s happy,” Dr. Rubin said. “This funds a total of four centres of excellence and five chairs. This is unprecedented.”

The donation builds on the $6-million that Mr. Munk and his wife, Melanie, put down to help launch the centre in 1997 and the $35-million they contributed toward new diagnostic equipment in 2006.

Where Mr. Munk’s previous donations to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre have focused on erecting buildings and buying tools, this one is all about luring people.

Over the next 10 years, the centre will build four centres of excellence devoted to cardiac valve disease, multinational clinical trials, personalized molecular medicine and aortic diseases.

As an example of what the centre hopes to accomplish, Dr. Rubin points to Tirone David, a Toronto-based cardiac surgeon of such renown that he’s had procedures named after him. Thanks to Mr. Munk’s support for cutting-edge research, Dr. David will head up the cardiac valve disease unit rather than be lured away to the higher pay of an American health centre.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Globe and Mail website: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/munks-18-million-donation-aimed-at-attracting-top-brains/article2247099/