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St. Michael’s Hospital scientists use art to portray how poverty affects people’s health

Toronto, February 8, 2019

By Ana Gajic

at the art exhibit for Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty
Click here
or on the photo above to see a larger version. (Photo by Nicole Breanne)

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital have launched an unconventional art exhibit that allows the public to interact with their research projects, all of which study how poverty affects health.

Issues such as homelessness, addiction and unaffordable medication are explored in interactive displays looking at how they have an impact on people and their health – and real-life patient stories make the experience very personal.

“There are factors in people’s lives - like whether or not they have a home to go to each night, or whether they can access culturally safe family supports, or whether they can afford their medications - that have a direct impact on their health,” said Dr. Stephen Hwang, director of MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions. “The well-being of our cities depends on our willingness to take action to create a healthier future for all. Our world-renowned scientists are committed to finding solutions that address the intersection of health and poverty.”

at the art exhibit for Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty
Click here
or on the photo above to see a larger version. (Photo by Nicole Breanne)

The exhibit, Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty, will be open to the public from today (Feb. 8) until Friday, Feb. 15 at Brookfield Place in Toronto. It marks the launch of a $25-million fundraising campaign led by the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation to support the Centre’s mission and an awareness campaign to share the Centre’s work with the public.

“This is no ordinary campaign,” said Lili Litwin, president of the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation. “It’s a campaign that sets out to solve the toughest urban health challenges of our time. A campaign that speaks to the core of St. Michael’s Hospital’s values. A campaign that will impact the lives of millions of people. We are so proud to be a part of it.”

The exhibit was made possible by John A. Lederer, Jackman Reinvents and ECN Capital. Scientists worked with designers from MASSIVart to create art that accurately reflects their work.

at the art exhibit for Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty
Click here
or on the photo above to see a larger version. (Photo by Nicole Breanne)

“Our work with the scientists at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions has truly been inspiring,” said Joe Jackman, CEO of Jackman Reinvents. “In the charitable realm, research is often misunderstood, but here is an example of its powerful and real-life impact on people’s lives. We at Jackman are grateful to be partners on the journey to healthier outcomes for all.”

EXHIBITS:

  • Dr. Stephen Hwang’s APRICOT / Transitioning Youth installation, which consists of a giant cardboard box shelter filled with hash marks (denoting days/years passed). Guests enter the shelter and listen to two real audio stories from former homeless Torontonians.

  • Dr. Nav Persaud’s Prescriptions for Health installation visualizes the choice many Canadians face: affording bare necessities or medications.

  • Dr. Patricia O’Campo and Dr. Janet Smylie’s Baby Bundles installation is comprised of life-size silhouettes of an Indigenous family and helps explore the issue of apprehension of babies from their mothers.

  • at the art exhibit for Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty
    Click here
    or on the photo above to see a larger version. (Photo by Nicole Breanne)
  • Dr. Dan Werb’s Addictions Care Continuum installation uses light and audio to reveal factors that lead people to experiment with and become addicted to street drugs.

  • Dr. Jonathon Maguire’s CoMFORT installation, made entirely of milk crates, explores how the health of children could be affected by the type of milk they’re drinking.

To book an interview with a scientist and their patient, or for additional inquiries, please contact:
Ana Gajic, Senior Communications Advisor, St. Michael’s
gajica@smh.ca or 416-458-0629

About St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation

St. Michael’s Hospital is a global powerhouse in research and patient care. Its world-leading physicians, surgeons, scientists and staff take on the toughest health challenges. They dig deep to find solutions to intractable medical problems. They advocate on behalf of those whose health is complicated by life circumstances. They stop at nothing. Through its philanthropic activities, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation assists St. Michael’s in attracting the resources required to fulfill and enhance its mission. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Foundation raises funds for patient care, equipment, building projects, research and teaching programs. Funds are raised through annual and mid-level giving, special events, major gifts and planned giving.

About St. Michael's Hospital

at the art exhibit for Redirecting the Future: The Intersection of Health and Poverty
Click here
or on the photo above to see a larger version. (Photo by Nicole Breanne)

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in more than 29 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Unity Health Toronto

Unity Health Toronto, comprised of Providence Healthcare, St. Joseph’s Health Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital, works to advance the health of everyone in our urban communities and beyond. Our health network serves patients, residents and clients across the full spectrum of care, spanning primary care, secondary community care, tertiary and quaternary care services to post-acute through rehabilitation, palliative care and long-term care, while investing in world-class research and education. For more information, visit www.unityhealth.to.


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