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Grant will help scientist in her research on spinal cord injuries

VANCOUVER, BC, July 24, 2013 /CNW/ - Thanks to a very generous donation from TD Bank Group, seed funding is being provided for a number of young physician researchers over the next decade. Dr. Patricia Mills is the first recipient of the Adopt a Young Scientist Award made possible by TD's $750,000 donation to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

The award, provided through the TD Grants in Medical Excellence program, will have significant impact both today and well into the future. It will also give young physician researchers an incredible opportunity to solve the questions they see at the bedside.

Dr. Patricia Mills is a physician scientist at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre and ICORD Spinal Cord Research Program at VGH. Her research - a first of its kind - will evaluate whether electrical stimulation of the brain can improve blood pressure control in individuals with spinal cord injury, which among other things would improve their ability to engage in physical rehabilitation. The electrical stimulation appears to counter the negative sensations, including blackouts that many people with spinal cord injuries experience when they sit up after being in a horizontal position. These sensations make it very difficult for patients to start the exercise regimes that are necessary to regain sensation and mobility.

"This award will help me launch my career as a physician scientist", says Dr. Mills. "I want to bring the benefits of my research directly back to the patients here, and around the world. I am so grateful to the TD Grants in Medical Excellence program for this wonderful opportunity."

This morning at GF Strong Rehab Centre, Dr. Mills provided a group of senior TD executives with an intimate tour of the Centre to learn more about her study and to meet with spinal cord injury participants who will benefit from the work.

"Philanthropy plays a critical role in ensuring excellence in health care today", says Barbara Grantham, CEO, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. "And this award - helping to jumpstart new careers in research such as Dr. Mills' - clearly demonstrates how philanthropy is an integral part of the solution."

"We are pleased to give back to the community in such a significant way through the TD Grants in Medical Excellence program," said Jane Russell, Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group, Pacific Region. "TD is committed to investing in the future of health care by helping to ensure that physicians and other practicing caregivers have access to funds for research, to upgrade their skills or to further their education."

About TD Community Giving

TD Bank Group invests in communities in order to effect positive change in the places where it operates and where its clients and employees live and work. In 2012, TD donated over $65 million to support community organizations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, TD focuses on education and financial literacy, creating opportunities for young people and the environment. For further information, please visit

About VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation partners with donors to provide the funds essential to ensuring that our hospitals and health care teams can deliver BC's best, most specialized care for adults. The Foundation raises funds for Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital, and GF Strong Rehab Centre (the province's major adult health referral centres), Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and Community Health Services.

Last year the Foundation raised over $61 million to ensure excellence in health care for people across BC. For more, visit

SOURCE: TD Community Giving

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