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EDMONTON, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - The University of Alberta today announced a gift of $1 million from TD Bank Financial Group to provide financial support for health-science students at the university through the creation of eight scholarships and a research fund that will focus on interdisciplinary healthcare. "The TD Grants in Medical Excellence program has made a $1 million investment in Alberta's healthcare community, which will help ensure healthcare students and practitioners receive the best education and training possible," said Frank McKenna, deputy chair, TD Bank Financial Group. "Working with the University of Alberta, we will be making an important contribution to the delivery of quality healthcare in the province." Half of the $1 million gift will be endowed to create the TD Bank Financial Group Grants in Health Sciences Interdisciplinary Research Fund, which will fund one annual grant of $10,000 for health-sciences students' participation in interdisciplinary research. The other half of the gift will be endowed to create the TD Bank Financial Group Health Sciences Student Awards Fund, which will issue eight $2,000 scholarships annually to students who have demonstrated their commitment to interdisciplinary health education. Scholarships will be awarded to one student in each of the eight U of A health science faculties. "The greatest discoveries and advances in healthcare will take place where the edges of traditional disciplines overlap. When professionals work together to solve problems, they put their focus on the patient as the centre of preventing disease, creating healthy community and healing those who are in need," said Indira Samarasekera, president of the University of Alberta. "As society's need for healthcare professionals grows, so too does the cost of post-secondary education," said Mike Mahon, chair of the University of Alberta Health Sciences Council. "The support provided by TD will ensure equal access to our health-science programs for all students, regardless of socio-economic background. These scholarships will allow us to continue to attract top talent to our university and to meet the need for capable care-givers in the future." "TD Bank Financial Group is to be commended for this bold, responsible commitment to the future of health sciences education and patient care," said Samarasekera. "This is why we have also committed to building the Edmonton Clinic in partnership with Alberta Health Services - Capital Health, a facility where students will have the benefit of both physical and educational infrastructure that will support a new kind of interdisciplinary health sciences training and patient-centred care." About the University of Alberta In the 2007-08 school year, nearly 5,700 students were enrolled in 25 health science programs at the U of A. In 2007, over 1,800 health-science students graduated and are now applying their interdisciplinary training to improve patient care and community health around the world. Each year these students and practitioners are expected to expand their understanding of professional roles, adopt new practices and procedures and to use new technologies. The evolution of team-delivered, patient-centered healthcare is positive and the University of Alberta is on the forefront of these advances. The Health Sciences Council at the University of Alberta represents Canada's leading interdisciplinary health education curriculum and supports 25 innovative health professional programs that train nurses, doctors, dietitians, pharmacists, rehabilitation specialists, dentists, public health specialists and other health science professionals. The University of Alberta is one of the top 100 teaching and research universities in the world, serving some 37,000 students with more than 13,000 faculty and staff. Founded a century ago, the university has an annual budget in excess of $1 billion and attracts more than $490 million in external research funding. It offers almost 400 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in 18 faculties, eight of which focus on professional health training and research: 1. Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences 2. Augustana 3. Medicine & Dentistry 4. Nursing 5. Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences 6. Physical Education and Recreation 7. School of Public Health 8. Rehabilitation Medicine TD Community Giving: Making a Difference Together Children's health, literacy and education, and the environment are the three primary areas of focus for TD's community giving. The major flagship programs within these areas are: TD Children's Hospital Fund, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, TD Canadian Children's Book Week, TD Canada Trust Scholarships for Community Leadership, and the TD Summer Reading Club. In addition, through the support of our customers and employees, TD is involved with a host of national, regional and local programs in support of diversity, arts and culture and other causes. In 2007, TD donated $33 million to more than 2,000 charities and not-for-profit organizations across Canada. For further information: Matthew Cram, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 983-1514,; Cynthia Fawcett, Health Sciences Council, University of Alberta, (780) 298-5958,

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