Saputos donate $1.5 million for innovative education
June 8, 2022
MONTREAL – A commitment of $1.5 million from the Amelia and Lino Saputo Foundation will support innovative teaching at the new Office of Ed-TECH (Education Technology and E-Learning Collaboration for Health) at the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) under the umbrella of the Amelia Saputo Community Outreach for Dementia Care.
The McGill Dementia Education Program (DEP) is an exemplar of McGill’s success in community education and will form a cornerstone of the new Amelia Saputo Community Outreach for Dementia Care initiative. For care partners of individuals suffering from dementia, the DEP has been a rare source of much-needed training and support through patient simulations, community workshops and a series of public lectures and webinars.
“There is a growing acceptance of, and need for, online learning. With advances in augmented and virtual reality, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), this is the perfect moment to rethink the way we teach – and the way we learn. The FMHS has the expertise and experience to co-create the future of innovative educational experiences that meet rigorous academic standards and the needs of today’s learners, be they health care professionals or members of our broader communities,” says David Eidelman, MDCM, vice-principal (Health Affairs) and dean of the FMHS.
In early 2019, when the DEP was still in its infancy, the Amelia and Lino Saputo Foundation became one of its earliest champions, with an initial commitment of $125,000, which enabled the expansion of its flagship workshops.
“This was transformational in demonstrating successful approaches in the cutting-edge delivery of health education, and provided the necessary funding to build the program from the ground up,” explains Claire Webster, program founder, ambassador & lecturer of the DEP. “I’m so incredibly grateful to the team at the Amelia and Lino Saputo Foundation for their generosity and enthusiasm, and for their commitment to supporting family care partners who are looking after a person living with dementia. This new gift will improve our outreach to family and informal care partners not only on a local level, but on an international one. It takes the support of incredible people like them to make dreams happen.”
Amelia Saputo (pictured on left), president of the Board at the Amelia and Lino Saputo Foundation, says: “I had the pleasure of meeting Claire Webster a few years ago when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Immediately, I was very impressed with her knowledge, passion and vision. She guided my sister and me in such a way that provided us comfort. I could see that her mission was to not only coach families and caregivers, but also to educate students, healthcare professionals and the whole community about dementia-related illnesses.
“In collaboration with the team of experts at McGill, the creation of the DEP was Claire’s vision coming to reality. We strongly believe in the power of this ground-breaking program and want to support its promising mission through our Foundation. Dementia is a disease with cases on the rise, especially in women, and we must be prepared to proactively address how we take care of those affected by this difficult disease. We couldn’t be prouder to see everything the DEP has accomplished so far, and we are very excited to see what’s next.”
Housed within the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, the Office of Ed-TECH will leverage Al, virtual reality and other cutting-edge tools to pioneer immersive educational experiences based on outstanding content and leading-edge technology.
“This timely and thoughtful gift will allow us to propel the Office of Ed-TECH forward with a powerful foundation of expertise, technology and capacity to develop innovative health education,” says Tamara Carver (pictured on right), PhD, assistant professor at the Institute of Health Sciences Education and director of the Office of Ed-TECH. “It will bring together the necessary resources to develop online courses, such as the online curriculum for the DEP, that will serve McGill’s students, faculty and health professionals, as well as community learners. From social workers to parents, educators to care partners, all can benefit from – and contribute to – the skills and knowledge so necessary for improving the health and wellbeing of society.”
About McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning three campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 39,000 students, including more than 10,400 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,000 international students making up 30% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 20% of our students who say French is their mother tongue. For more information, please visit www.mcgill.ca.
About the Amelia and Lino Saputo Foundation
Passionate about helping people of all ages achieve their full potential, the Amelia and Lino Saputo Foundation is committed to “paying it forward” by financially supporting outstanding, reputable, charitable organizations that educate, motivate, and enrich future generations to build stronger communities.