For nearly sixty years, the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) Foundation has played a vital role in raising much-needed funds to help patients living with complex and chronic respiratory conditions to breathe easier and live longer. On April 1, 2021, the MCI Foundation will officially merge with the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Foundation to help more respiratory patients at the MUHC, in Montreal, and across Quebec.

Together, under the MUHC Foundation banner, the foundations will have an even bigger impact on patients. The building of a new MCI Fund of the MUHC Foundation will ensure the MCI continues to flourish and play a global leadership role in respiratory care, teaching and research. This merger will allow the MCI to elevate its clinical care and scientific research to make Montreal a global hub for respiratory care.

“This merger will result in more funds raised to meet the urgent needs of the MCI,” says Bryan Fitzpatrick, Chair, MCI Board of Directors. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of being equipped to treat respiratory disease is more apparent than ever.”

Over three million Canadians live with a respiratory disease. For many of them, every breath is a struggle, every task a challenge. Since 1909, the MCI has been providing highly specialized care for Quebec adults living with asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. Through donations to the MCI Fund of the MUHC Foundation, the MCI will continue to provide the very best in care to these patients.

One of the first initiatives following this merger is a transformative $10 million fundraising campaign to benefit the MCI, part of the MUHC Foundation’s Dream Big Campaign to change the course of lives and medicine. The Dream Big. Breathe Easier Campaign will invest in breathtaking research and breath-giving care, because we cannot stand by while millions gasp for air.

Under its breathtaking research theme, the MUHC Foundation will invest in Research Innovation Grants to provide critical funds to scientists with big dreams for the future of respiratory medicine. Few granting agencies fund innovation, and this seed funding gives the MCI’s experts the opportunity to prove new concepts, and then leverage initial study findings into substantial grants. The campaign will also create a Respiratory Clinical Trials Program at the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC) to provide the infrastructure, equipment and expertise to carry out clinical trials of the latest treatments for respiratory disease.

“For decades, the MCI has been world-renowned for its cutting edge research and clinical care of respiratory disorders. With donor support, we will have the resources to bring this proud tradition to the next level,” says Dr. Basil Petrof, Program Leader of the Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program at the RI-MUHC. “We will be able to fully maximize our expertise, dedication and creativity in order to meet both old and newly emerging threats to respiratory health in the 21st century.”

“Our nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists

and scientists are international leaders…”

Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, Director of the MUHC’s Respiratory Division

Under its breath-giving care theme, the MUHC Foundation will support personalized medicine through improved diagnostics, updated equipment, talented physicians and personnel, and improved programs for patients. It will also help usher in home monitoring, which allows physicians to monitor patient symptoms while they are at home, helping them predict and prevent lung attacks – sudden flare-ups of lung disease that cause difficulty breathing and are as life-threatening as a heart attack – before they happen.

“The MCI is a pioneer and driver of interdisciplinary, personalized, state-of-the art respiratory care and research,” says Dr. Kevin Schwartzman, Director of the MUHC’s Respiratory Division. “Our nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and scientists are international leaders committed to treating every patient as we ourselves would want to be treated:  by people who know and care for them as individuals, with the most advanced tools and treatments available.”

Through Dream Big. Breathe Easier, the MCI’s respiratory specialists will take complex lung problems from bedside to research bench and back again to better understand why lung attacks happen and develop prevention and treatment strategies personalized to each patient.

“We are proud to uphold and build upon the history of the Montreal Chest Institute,” says Julie Quenneville, President of the MUHC Foundation. “Our merger and the Dream Big. Breathe Easier Campaign will ensure Montrealers continue to receive the very best care available, and that innovations developed here will benefit people worldwide.”

For more information on the MCI Fund of the MUHC Foundation, the Dream Big Campaign and more, visit https://muhcfoundation.com/dream-big/respiratory/