Mobility, healthy aging the aim of Gray Research Chair

Thanks to a generous $2.5-million donation from William and Lynne Gray to St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, Western University and St. Joseph’s have partnered to establish the William and Lynne Gray Research Chair in Mobility & Activity within Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

The chair is the first of its kind in Canada. It will play a central role in the Faculty’s signature research theme of mobility and aging, which aims to understand, improve, restore and manage mobility outcomes that affect people throughout all stages of life.

“We’re pleased to be partnering with St. Joseph’s, and with Bill and Lynne, to establish this Chair. It is one more example of the positive outcomes partnerships between health care and the university sector can have on advancing care in our local communities, and across our country,” said President Alan Shepard.

Western has provided an additional $2.5 million from the University’s Matching Chairs Program to create a $5-million endowment for the chair, which will fund the position in perpetuity, and ensure its important work continues.

The gift to create the Chair is part of a larger $7.5 million commitment the Grays previously made to St. Joseph’s, which established The Gray Centre for Mobility & Activity. This unique research program is fully integrated within clinical care at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute to help older adults and frail seniors, patients with musculoskeletal and neurological disease and those with mental illness. Research and innovation will be at the core of the new Gray Centre’s mandate at Parkwood Institute where the Chair will be situated.

In addition to its work with the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Chair will also play a central role in the scientific leadership and development of this new centre.

“Bill and Lynne Gray have shown extraordinary leadership through their generosity,” says St. Joseph’s President and CEO Dr. Gillian Kernaghan. “Their donation will provide the resources needed to enhance the quality of life for a growing number of people living with mobility challenges in our community and beyond.”

Limited mobility can lead to social isolation, loneliness and depression. It has a severe impact on the quality of life for many members of our communities.

As Canada’s demographics change, mobility challenges will become even more prevalent, said Dr. Tim Doherty, co-lead of The Gray Centre and Chair/Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute and Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

“This new research Chair will uniquely position London to address mobility issues facing our community, including seniors living in southwestern Ontario whose numbers are expected to nearly double in the next 20 years.” Dr. Tim Doherty

Bill Gray is the second-generation owner of Gray Ridge Egg Farms, one of the largest farm-to-table egg companies in Ontario.

“We’re delighted that our philanthropic investment is being utilized for both frontline patient care today, and research efforts that will continue to transform care in the future,” he said. “Compromised physical mobility and activity adversely affects the well-being of many, many people, and we’re very pleased to help support the advancement of care that can help so many people.”

While this critical health issue will increasingly affect older adults, the mobility of younger members of our communities are also affected by trauma and other disorders. This new position will help ensure better outcomes for anyone with limited mobility.

“We are thrilled to be growing our partnership with St. Joseph’s and Parkwood and are thankful for this investment in the Faculty of Health Sciences that will help us advance our joint mission of creating better tomorrows,” said Jayne Garland, Faculty of Health Sciences Dean. “This is an exciting day for the future of patient care in our community.”