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$6-million donation creates largest ever endowed scholarship at UBC

The University of British Columbia has created its largest ever endowed scholarship, thanks to a $6-million donation from the Constance Livingstone Friedman and Sydney Friedman Foundation.

The foundation’s most recent donation more than triples the size of the endowment for the Friedman Award for Scholars in Health, which provides opportunities for graduate and medical students studying health sciences to learn from global experts in their respective fields.

This donation is in addition to $3 million donated earlier this year by the foundation to establish this scholarship fund. In total, the Friedman family has donated more than $11 million to UBC.

“These scholarships will provide recipients incredible opportunities to expand their research internationally and bring that knowledge back to UBC,” said Prof. Santa J. Ono, UBC’s president and vice chancellor. “Constance and Sydney Friedman were pioneers that helped propel UBC into the research university it is today. I want to thank the Friedman Foundation for ensuring that legacy will be preserved and enhanced in perpetuity.”

Kaylee Byers, 31, is one of five Friedman Scholars in Health named in 2017 who will receive between $25,000 and $50,000 to advance their work. Byers, who is pursuing a PhD through the interdisciplinary studies program, will use her $25,000 award to travel to Sri Lanka for six months and assist researchers in that country in establishing a wildlife health surveillance program to better anticipate potential transmission of diseases from animals to humans.

Byers says that experience will translate well to elements of her research here in B.C., where she looks at disease transmission among rats and the potential risks to humans in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “Any research that can help prevent disease outbreaks elsewhere can help prevent them here in Canada,” she said. “The Friedman Scholarship will help me ask better questions and have access to collaborations to better answer those questions now and into the future.”

Images of Constance and Sydney Friedman and their former home, the sale of which enabled this historic donation, are available here.

BACKGROUNDER: Constance and Sydney Friedman

Constance and Sydney Friedman were the first appointments to UBC’s Faculty of Medicine in 1950 where they taught together for many decades and established the department of anatomy (which Sydney lead from 1950 until his retirement in 1981). Together they laid the foundation of what would become one of the most influential medical schools in Canada. Constance taught and researched on campus until she retired in 1985. She died in 2011. Sydney passed away in 2015.The pioneering couple published more than 200 research papers, won numerous awards for their service, teaching and research and helped to educate thousands of doctors and dentists.

BACKGROUNDER: The Constance Livingstone-Friedman and Sydney Friedman Foundation

The Constance Livingstone-Friedman and Sydney Friedman Foundation was formed in 2012 to manage Sydney Freidman’s philanthropic intentions. Dr. Friedman chaired the foundation for its first year and sat as a director for two more years until he passed away. The Friedman Foundation is now composed of the Friedman’s friends and colleagues who have worked diligently over the last five years to carry out the philanthropic intentions of the Friedmans. To date, the Foundation has donated in excess of $10 million and has endowed two awards—the Friedman Award for Scholars in Health and the Friedman Travel Award. The donations are largely funded by the sale of the couple’s former home.

2017 Friedman Scholars

Kaylee Byers, PhD Department of Interdisciplinary Studies ($25,000) – Wildlife Health Surveillance Systems to predict emerging infectious diseases in humans. Destination Country – Sri Lanka

Shahzraf Joharifard, Medical Resident, General Surgery ($25,000) – Set up surgical program in Monrovia as part of Masters-Public Health program with Harvard. Destination Country – Liberia

Melissa MacKenzie, Medical Resident, Neurology ($26,500) – Clinical research on movement disorders with a focus on Parkinson’s Disease. Destination Country – United Kingdom

Jordan Squair, MD PhD ($37,000) – To test a neuroprosthetic device to control changing blood pressure after a spinal injury. Destination Country – Switzerland

Andrew Deonarine, Medical resident trainee, Department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine ($25,000) – Study pre-existing clinical and biomedical informatics programs in order to foster their development in British Columbia. Informatics is essential for data sharing and health reform. Destination Country – Harvard Medical School, USA