Oct. 13, 2022

$5 million gift to OWN.CANCER builds on Calgary strength in cancer-focused emotional and psychological research and care

Daniel Family Foundation Chair and dedicated space at Calgary Cancer Centre will propel psychosocial oncology to the next level

Calgary, AB – Cancer patients and their families will benefit from a new multimillion dollar gift through the OWN.CANCER campaign (a partnership between the University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Cancer Foundation) to advance Calgary’s world-leading psychosocial oncology research and care. The $5 million contribution by Calgary philanthropist Patrick Daniel and his family will support a world-class clinician-researcher to a new research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology at the University of Calgary’s Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute – a joint entity of Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary.

Psychosocial oncology (PSO) is a cancer specialty that addresses the social, psychological and emotional issues that arise with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as survivorship. With one in two Albertans currently expected to face a cancer diagnosis, this work is essential.

Calgary’s already world-renowned program will benefit greatly from the gift, as well as a new collaborative space in the Calgary Cancer Centre (CCC). The Daniel Family Foundation Psychosocial Oncology Hub will bring clinicians, researchers, care teams and families together – under one roof – to address the cancer challenge in a way that hasn’t previously been possible.

“UCalgary’s work in psychosocial oncology has been world-recognized and makes a real difference. It is very satisfying to be supporting such globally impactful work.”

Patrick Daniel, Calgary philanthropist, Daniel Family Foundation

The retired energy executive is a long-standing champion of psychosocial oncology, Daniel’s connection to it is personal: his mother, Catherine Daniel, truly owned her 1978 lymphoma diagnosis and years of treatment by researching and developing her own emotional and mental well-being plan.

“It was a very unusual thought at the time; not very many people connected your mental and emotional health with your physical health. The fact that she believed so much in it made me want to do something to help,” Daniel says. Catherine went on to enjoy spending time with her children and grandchildren for another 14 years before she died in 1992, he adds.

Dr. Barry Bultz, PhD, is a global founder of psychosocial oncology whose work put Calgary on the map in this field. Dr. Bultz, an Alberta Health Services psychologist and UCalgary researcher, led the development of some of the very first protocols for screening for cancer-related distress — known as the ‘sixth’ vital sign in cancer patients — which are now embraced as the standard of care in cancer hospitals across multiple continents. Earlier this year, he was recognized with the Order of Canada for his work.

“The way we treat cancer goes beyond the tumour to address the whole patient and their unique journey. In Calgary, we have focused our research on really understanding the psychological needs and social well-being of patients with cancer, both during and after treatment. We are placing a major research emphasis on survivorship and identifying new strategies to help patients transition to life beyond cancer.”

Dr. Barry Bultz, PhD, the Daniel Family Leadership Chair in Psychosocial Oncology

The new Daniel Family Foundation Chair in Psychosocial Oncology will lead psychosocial oncology research for the next 10 years at the new CCC, harnessing strengths around access to psychosocial patient outcome data through Alberta’s unique provincewide electronic health record system and UCalgary’s research partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS). UCalgary offers powerful capabilities to analyze the data. New data-driven research will enhance real-time communication among researchers, care providers and patients and families, and foster a learning health-care system where care is continuously improving for other Albertans who enter the CCC’s doors.

“The Daniel Family Foundation Psychosocial Oncology Hub at the new Cancer Centre will support research, clinical care and community engagement centralized under one roof. The opportunities afforded by this chair will significantly expand the scope of the new cancer centre’s reach to address the diverse needs of pediatric, young adult and adult cancer populations, and encourage new and collaborative partnerships with underserved communities. In addition, this gift will allow the recruitment of the best and brightest trainees as part of the next generation of psychosocial oncology researchers and clinicians.”

Dr. Don Morris, MD, PhD, head Department of Oncology, UCalgary, Facility Medical Director, Tom Baker Cancer Centre and Calgary Cancer Centre, Alberta Health Services

UCalgary President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Ed McCauley, PhD, agrees and says that the Daniel Family Foundation is delivering a tangible impact on the lives of countless cancer patients.

“World class research and education are absolutely driving better care. This targeted and proactive approach can help mitigate further cancer-related challenges – reducing overall health-care costs and allowing patients and families to return to work faster and live their lives more fully. We are so grateful to the Daniel Family Foundation for their philanthropic vision and commitment to changing the trajectory of cancer.”

Dr. Ed McCauley, PhD, president and vice-chancellor, UCalgary

Barry Bultz is Professor and Head, Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary and Director, Department of Psychosocial and Rehabilitation Oncology at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

Don Morris is head of the Department of Oncology and a professor in the departments of Oncology and Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) and a member of the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute at the CSM. He is the Facility Medical Director at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and, Calgary Cancer Centre, Cancer Care Alberta, Alberta Health Services.

For more information on the fundraising campaign, visit owncancer.ca.

Media inquiries

Sean Myers
Senior Communications Specialist
Office of Advancement
University of Calgary

The Calgary Cancer Centre Campaign is on a mission to OWN.CANCER by raising $250 million in support of improved research, treatment and care at Calgary’s new world-class cancer centre. This game-changing initiative is backed by three trusted community institutions: Alberta Health Services, Canada’s first and largest fully integrated provincial health system; the University of Calgary, a globally recognized leader in medical research and home to tomorrow’s health-care professionals; and the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the official fundraising partner for all 17 cancer care centres across the province. Currently under construction, the Calgary Cancer Centre will open its doors in 2023 as the largest, most comprehensive cancer centre in Canada.

To donate and learn more, visit owncancer.ca.